All present and accounted for. If by “all” I mean myself and by “accounted for” I mean “almost accounted for” then sure all present and accounted for. Physical or mental, a war is a war and sometimes while we get away without casualties injuries still occur. I cannot think to say the now closed semester was anything like a war as my previous analogy alluded to, but on whatever depth, shallow or deep, it at times felt very much like a battle to me. Being in school it seems more and more academics are the least of my problems. As I reflect upon the first part of my sophomore semester it would seem I learned just as much out of the classroom as what I did in it. That is the reality of the Christian life, learning is only half the equation, the other being experience and how your theology reflects in your living. C.S. Lewis once said “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” I believe that is what makes studying theology so much different that any other subject. One it is eternal. Every subject will pass away while what we know about God is for keeps. Second as you study theology you are going to encounter a great deal of growing pains as you are challenged with truth and its manifestation in your life. If you truly live what you know of God and who you are in Christ you cannot not be changed. As I contemplate this previous semester, war torn and scarred, the victories he has given have been just as much in that won as it has been in that lost.
I continue to learn about faith, love, and what those mean in relation to relationships. Over the semester I found myself in one of the first actual solid believing relationships I had ever been in. First of all it is interesting how relationships show us the depth of our selfishness, especially one in which you are so close to another human being. There is a lot of give and take and if Christ is not the focus the fleshly natures of two people will do nothing but take until there is nothing left to give. To be in a relationship with another person means to be just as selfless with them as you have to be with Christ. I learned this the hard way. Ultimately being in a relationship that was less about Christ and more about the two people went the only course it could, about us. When a relationship between believers is about one another and not as much Him disaster will occur. There comes a point in life where you realize no matter how hard it is, you have to play the role of the bad guy and do what you know before God is right. My theory has always been that relationships should be about pushing one another towards Christ if it means pushing them away from yourself. The problem was I allowed my relationship theory to be just that, a theory. I had to make that theory a reality. For once in my life it was not about self fulfilling prophecy or even vain shallow annoyance, but for what I knew was best for her walk with the Lord as well as mine. It is better to be alone and walking with Christ than to be with someone and not. In the end relationships are not tricky, they have to either be about Christ or not, and if not, then there is no point in trying to maintain them. Sure I looked liked the bad guy for ending it, I can live with that though.
Loving others in faith was something I saw not just in my romantic relationship, but also my platonic ones. Faith and love are two things that I never realized go as hand in hand as what they do. Faith is fueled by love while love is a product of faith. It takes a lot of faith to love people. Love is hard for me, especially towards those I do not feel like loving. At school there are several people it seems so hard to love. For me I can handle a lot, but nothing gets me more steamed than people who think/act as if they are better than myself and others, people who are more concerned with worldly things than Godly and then those who make it their goal to constantly act childish/ignorant. At some point we are all going of some or all of these, that is not the point. The truth of the matter is not the actions of others, but the thoughts of myself. Because of pride I placed a stipulation on those people that says “if you act or do certain things you do not deserve my love.” But who am I? If I am Christian that means Christ lives in me. If Christ lives in me that would mean I am not allowed to act in a manner that is of me. If I am not allowed to act in a manner that is of me that would mean I would have to love in a manner of Him. If it were of Christ to withhold love from people who do things undeserving of His love that means His love would be withheld from me also. As I move forward I continue to see these things in life, and while I am nowhere near loving the way I should, if I continue to try and trust Him to change me, then He will. If we want to love others like Christ, act like we do, and He will take care of the rest.
This my twenty sixth Christmas on Earth and I am thankful for all He has done not just in my life but in the lives of others. I could be anywhere else doing anything else, but I am not, this is where I am. I do not know what this life is for nor do I know where it is going, all I am responsible to do is trust Him and make the most of what He gives me. A lot has happened that have lead me to this road, as such I must still continue to trust and move forward in whatever He presents me with. I have been given the gifts and abilities to know/live Christ in so many ways, and I pray to continue knowing and making Him know, without taking what He has given us for granted. Even having nothing, as a white American who knows Christ you could almost say I have it all. My mind still wonders and ponders about things gone as well as what is still here, but for now I leave you with this.
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”