Saturday, June 21, 2008

Put Up Or Shut Up

I just realized that in thirty days I will be back at school. No, class isn't starting that early. I'm going to be a Resident Adviser (RA) on campus, in an apartment complex for upperclassmen that opens several weeks before the rest of campus opens. Thus, I have to be on campus about a full month before class begins, training for my new job, but basically not doing a lot.

I've written before about how I like new beginnings. Well, new school years are no different, especially ones (like this upcoming one) that will involve new jobs, new roommates, and a new place to live. I'm really looking forward to next year, because I think it will give me a good opportunity to grow into the person that I want to be, a person who is hopefully also who God wants me to be.

I don't want to say that I've wasted my first two years of college. I know good and well I haven't. My experiences have made me who I am today, and I like that person (and reading back over all my old posts, I've realized just how much these last two years have changed me and helped me grow). At the same time, I feel like I've been a bit too passive. I have a pretty clear image of the man I want to be, and yet I haven't done much work to make myself that guy. This is actually a pretty convicting feeling. I remember when I first made a decision - a serious decision - to quit looking at pornography. I realized that before then, I had just been waiting around, hoping for the temptations to be taken away from me. God doesn't work like that; He expects us to work, and work I had to do (and still have to do) to remain pure in that area.

Basically, I'm trying to change the direction of my life. I feel as I've been coasting up to this point. I know that sounds too melodramatic. I mean, a MySpace page has just about as much depth. But in truth, I've just been getting a bit of a conviction that it's time I "put up or shut up" about certain things. Some of them are sinful habits or thought patterns that don't do me a lick of good and that I've been hanging on to for no good reason other than the fact that I'm used to them (and I'm not necessarily talking about sexuality-related stuff, either).

Some of these things I need to "put up or shut up" on are trivial. Like, I want to write more. Well, that means I need to write. I want to play the guitar. Well, that means I need to practice. I want to be healthier. Well, that means I need to get off my butt and get to the gym (that might be the hardest one, by the way. Even when the ever-so-handsome Hitch invited me to go work out with him while we were together I always found a way out of it).

And some are less trivial. I want to be pure? Well, I need to work on purity instead of just sitting around, hoping that God strikes me with lightning and makes me a perfect Christian man for whom chastity isn't a problem (does such a man even exist?) I want to be firm in my faith, able to defend it against my own insecurities, and not subject to as many doubts and flights of fancy? Well, I need to actually read some good theology books instead of just reading some snippets on blogs online. Oh, and "putting up or shutting up" in terms of reading the Bible (I still haven't read all of it) would also be a welcome change.

So, basically I have a bunch of resolutions for the school year. These aren't anything new, and I very well could fail at one or all of them (but I'm not going to be defeatist this early on in the game). I do know, however, that though my first two years of college definitely weren't wasted, there were some things about them that I'm ready to move on from. Like, I've had a boyfriend, so the constant pining about never having romance in my life is out the window (especially since I learned that romance in itself isn't what I really wanted anyway). Also, by now I have a great set of friends and family who love me (and who I love), so the constant self-centered and annoying worries about loneliness also need to go out the door. And like I said, these things won't happen on their own, but I have a great conviction that if I "put up or shut up" about them, things will change for me.

All in God's will and timing, though. I must remember that, as well.


Brian said...

I've been challenged to "put up or shut up" about reading the Bible too and it just so happens that my church is reading the Bible in 90 days this summer. The speed is a bit breakneck, though if you've got free time it might not be that difficult. The reading list is in the order that the books were most likely written. While you won't be able to take advantage of the weekly discussion groups, there is an online forum, I think, where you might be able to join in.

Anyway, if you are interested (or want to save the reading list for later), here's a link:

Ophir said...

Thank you Jay for sharing your thoughts so honestly and so eloquently. This was a terrific post and a well-needed reminder for myself of resolutions made but unkept and goals set but unmet. I hope this upcoming year of college will be great for you and that at its end you can look back satisfied at the things you've achieved. Peace man and all the best.

Brandon said...

Good luck, Jay. You be that man you want to be, and may God bless you all the way. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, Jay, you have my full support. And if you ever need encouragement, or a friend to "put up or shut up" with you (I guess accountability) then I'll be there. :-)