I used to have a goal to kiss as many pretty girls as possible. I had a secondary goal to kiss as many average-looking girls as possible. And a behind-the-scenes goal to make all girls wish they were kissing me. That last one was my favorite because, in my mind, I always succeeded.
I didn’t completely know these were my goals at the time. But the quality of my relationships, class attendance, and even my eating habits loudly announce that getting female attention was my endgame. The evidence is all there.
I don’t advocate having any of these as a personal goal. Or, I guess as a professional goal. Or any other type that I can’t think of right now. They are just bad goals in general.
I think even 19-year-old me knew that as well. Had you asked me, I would not have described a future in which I have difficulty contacting old friends from Young Harris College because of a fear that they think I’m trying to make out with them or their sister. I would have told you that I want to get an education and be either a missionary or somehow become Louie Giglio (I had just discovered that pastors were allowed to wear cool clothes). Those last two are still my goals, but I digress…
I was going after the life I wanted all wrong. I was making a significant amount of mistakes. I had seen what happens when you make a life out of chasing the approval of women. I saw the results on television, in my parents’ marriages, and even read about it in Wild At Heart. Yet I was still more than willing to test those waters myself. And in addition to that, I was running really bad public relations for my faith.
I have spent a lot of time beating myself up over all the effort I put into something meaningless and hurtful to everyone involved. Apology letters have been sent, phone calls have been made, Facebook pokes have been outlawed.
The way I look at is Christ bought my life from death by paying the toll for my misdeeds himself. I have spent 27 years getting different things wrong. The obvious thought here is that I’m really behind on my spiritual homework. But that’s not how Jesus works. He bought me on the cross. He spent my second freshman year (I get two of each year collegiately) buying my moral failures. Now he uses that time educating me on how to do life right. He’s not backing out now that he has spent more than I can imagine to ransom my life.
After years of hating myself for following poor relational examples I learned growing up, I have now reached a point where I am grateful for the chance I had to learn.
I was learning how to do relationships right. I was learning how to do faith, discipline, and discipleship right. I am really thankful that I was given a chance to grow up, to run in the wrong direction while being offered the chance to realize I was in the wrong part of the woods. But the moment I realize the trees have an eerie feeling, that I may be in a hopeless situation, I hear my savior calling me to the path. Somehow he makes it so the path is never that far away. The more I stick to it, the more I know when I’m stepping off of it. I am following God closer and more purposefully every day.
It’s just that, well, sometimes I suck at it. And I owe you, my friends, a debt of gratitude for being in my life, praying with me, being a part of my education, and for allowing me to grow.