Saturday, August 17, 2013


"My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.  For in many things we offend all.  If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.  Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, withersoever the governor listeth.  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tames, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."

James 3:1-8

I have struggled with my words ever since the sixth grade.  I'll try to explain why that was when it happened.  Up until that point, I could get away with being awkward and weird, largely because I was ignorant to the fact that I didn't fit in, but also because no one cared about cool or not cool at New Castle Elementary.  When I got to Kempslanding, however, I began to realize that I wasn't popular or outstanding in any good kind of way.  But I was still a weirdo.  Well, I didn't want to be alienated, but I couldn't pass for particularly strong, athletic, or even smart in that sea of scholars, so I decided I had some conforming to do.  One of the ways that I sought acceptance was with my words.  It was cool to curse, and by the end of my first year at that school, if coolness was calculated by curses per sentence, I was the coolest kid in Kempslanding.  

What an enormous toll that took on me.  The three years that I spent at that school truly tried my faith.  I didn't live for the God I worshiped in the Sunday services.  It took a few summers at the WILDS (a Christian camp in South Carolina) and years of accumulated guilt to lead me to change my ways (or words, rather).  Sometime during my eighth grade year, or maybe before it, I decided I was done with foul language, so I quit cold turkey one day.  And now I'm the best Christian ever, right?

James doesn't say that he who doesn't curse is a perfect.  He says that "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man."  I'm sure every person reading this knows that I come far from meeting that criteria.  Last year, I looked a friend of mine in the eye and told her to cry.  And she did.  She had been having a bad day, and though I had been kidding, I brought tears to that poor girl's eyes.  Now that's setting a good, Christian example.    When you've earned yourself the label of the "Christian kid," your reputation is important.  I've made mistakes with more than just words that I've payed for when confronted by people who challenge my beliefs.  Your light begins to cast a pretty big shadow, when you're given a laundry list of your sins in front of someone to whom you've been trying to witness.  

Long story short, the tongue truly does rule the whole body.  Your words reflect your heart, and they also affect the way others view you and your God.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I'm in a weird place.  In less than two weeks, I'll be posting a lot of the same things I'm seeing on my friends' Facebook walls-- "Last night at youth group... Last box of clothes... Last time pulling out of this driveway..."  In less than two weeks, I'll be gone.  In less than two weeks, I'll be working on my degree at The College of William and Mary.  And, honestly, that doesn't scare me.  I'm not scared of setting up my dorm, meeting my room mate, or sharing a bathroom.  I'm not scared of late nights studying or putting all of my efforts into breaking the curve.  I'm not scared of making it to class on time, remembering my due dates, or keeping my head together.  I'm not scared of leaving my family - -  most of them have left me already.  I'm more afraid of the things I'm leaving behind. And all of this has gotten me thinking.

Believe it or not, there are things I'm going to miss.  I'm going to miss Glory and Chad and Jeffrey, the three people in my life to whom I've grown the closest..  I'm going to miss my church, which has given me more love, prayer, and support than I've realized over the past few years.  I'm going to miss having a car to jump into and drive to wherever I need to go.  I'm going to miss my friends from school, who, though I haven't seen them much this summer, have been in my thoughts and prayers as I've been preparing for college.  I'm going to miss cabinets full of food.  I'm going to miss milk in the fridge.  I'm going to miss having things handed to me and having people come up behind me to clean up my messes.  But I'm ready to take responsibility.

If I had a dollar for every time my dad told me that I'm going to flunk out of college, I would have a lot of dollars.  Maybe I will; he's right lots of the time.  But maybe God doesn't have failure in his plans for me at William and Mary.  I plan to work hard, study long, and pray without ceasing (because the Lord knows I'll need His help).  Despite what lots of people seem to think, I do recognize the things I need to change to become a big boy who can look out for himself.  I do know that this is a critical point in my life.  I do understand that if I screw this one up, there is no other clean slate to follow; I've marked all of those up, already.  I get it.  And I'm ready to fix my faults and face this new frontier.  But not quite yet.

Before I leave, there are still some things I'd like to do.  A few last things.  I need to sing my last worship song at my church, and it would be great to have another sleepover with the Floods.  I want to stay up late testing bad deck ideas with Jeffrey, then take a deck that actually works to locals the next morning.  I'd like to take another shower in the bathroom I don't have to share, but maybe I won't because two weeks isn't all that long.  I still need to hug my girlfriend one more time and say goodbye to all of the people I'm going to miss.

It's not like I'm going away forever.  I'm just leaving for a few months at a time over the course of four years to start building a life of my own.  And, honestly, I'm excited, so instead of throwing in the towel beforen the referee even blows the whistle to start, I'm going to keep walking down the path to which I feel I've been led, and we'll see where it takes me.