Review

(noun) a general survey of past events or of a subject

 

I love to read reviews of things: movies, years, TV shows, cars; basically whatever. It probably appeals to my analytical and curious nature. I’m going to attempt a review of 2006 in my life and the major stuff that happened and how it sets me up for the future. This is long and I’ve written it more for me to read in coming years perhaps, then for an audience.

 

I got lazy on a lot of things towards the end of the year. (As a side note it seems a lot of people I know had a bad end to 2006). Friends is one of the things I got lazy about. I still have good friends from high school who I see or chat with regularly. I don’t think I will talk to any friends from university in a few years time. They were probably more time and place friendships. This year I didn’t make too much of an effort to expand my friendship horizons. Some of this was probably caused by the situation I mentioned in my ‘Betrayal’ post. A few years ago I would really push myself to talk to people and think up conversation topics. The funny thing is that because I am less introverted then I used to be I probably do about the same as I used to do, except I have the potential to do more. This is an area that requires some work. I have also felt myself become more self-centred as the year moves on and this is not helpful for friendships. I don’t think writing a blog helps free me from self-centredness because it is all about ‘me’ and ‘my’ thoughts. One of the highlights of my year in the relationships area was helping a man from church out with building his house. It lasted a few weeks earlier in the year and I was helping him put up plaster. It was a good time. He’s not a plaster cast saint but he’s a pretty good role model and a really serious Christian. I consider that a big blessing from God to be able to have the opportunity to do some manly work with a man.

 

Another area I got lazy about towards the end of the year was fighting sin. I kinda let myself go in this area. There was no really profound reason. It was probably I wanted to feel happy and this was a quick way to do it rather then walking through the pain of whatever I was/am trying to numb. I’m annoyed at myself because now I’ll have to win victories and experience withdrawal feelings from masturbation when I have already done it a few times. I have to be careful of living too much in the present on these issues. If I win victories and take the small steps today in five years time I could possibly be a different person and yet I’m often not willing to sacrifice what I want today, so tomorrow will be better. If I never change anything in this area, it’s never going to change and I’ll be a burnt out 25-year-old regretting all the years I’ve wasted. I don’t want to be that, but I have yet to pay the price for more then a couple of months.

 

After I told people about my SSA I interpreted many things they did as a reaction to whether or not they accepted this part of me. I don’t do this anymore, which is a good thing. It’s probably that the passing of time has made me more comfortable. I told a few more people as well. They mainly took it okay. One was really shocked and concerned about how it reflected on her because she had had a crush on me. I’m still yet to find someone who reacts the way ‘I’ want them too, and I doubt I will. I would even say this is self-centred and expecting too much of other people. I would like someone to be concerned and ask lots of questions, be willing to get informed so they understand the issue and continue to be involved over the long-term. In saying that I realise my personality and reservedness contributes to people not wanting to bring it up. It’s also an opportunity for me to be the person I felt I needed with my problems for someone else with their problems. And when I turn this problem around into an opportunity for myself I can see how hard it would be for someone to be what I would like them to be in my life. I don’t have people in my life I feel like I need to tell at the moment. If it came up at the appropriate time maybe but it’s not something I want to push.

 

In 2004 and 2005 I lived in the town where my university is, but this year I decided to drive the one-hour trip each day I had classes. I only had classes three days in semester one and two days in semester two so this wasn’t too bad. Though I did get sick of driving. It meant I didn’t really participate in uni life at all but alternatively I got to be more involved in my church and did more productive at night time, such as read and surf the internet rather then watch television. I was tired of study by the end of the year and am glad to be done with my Bachelor of Arts (Journalism). I got good marks: all High Distinctions (80-100) and Distinctions (70-79) so that was nice. Scarily I might be studying again in the New Year by doing a distance education shorthand writing course. Shorthand writing is the abbreviated style of writing some journalists use so they quote what interviewees are saying. It would be a good skill to have but I thought my study break would have been longer.

 

I’m not where I would like to be with God as I end this year. I had such an amazing time of learning mid-year as I listened to great sermons from men like Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Paul Washer and Matt Chandler and I feel like I’ve gained all this knowledge but it hasn’t really changed my life. Or maybe that should be I haven’t let it change my life. But I did enjoy the challenge of learning. Some of the stuff I learnt included the masculinity stuff in my last post, why women shouldn’t be pastors, Calvinism stuff (I wouldn’t call myself a Calvinist though, but I lean that way), and just new ways of looking at old stories. I also started reading all these discernment internet websites, which basically pick at what is wrong with other ministries, people, theologies. If they’re right there’s going to be some scary times ahead. I guess I enjoyed them, firstly because they are all about truth but also because it appeals to my competitive nature and they’re out they’re fighting against the forces of darkness, and sometimes just looking silly because they haven’t done their research. If you’re wondering why I began this paragraph with a mention about God and then digressed into God-related stuff it’s because I’m not exactly sure how I’m meant to describe “where I’m with God” or if I even want to.

 

Church was pretty good this year. I got to be more involved and went to our weekly prayer meetings and Bible study. I’m the only person in my age group, the next youngest is about 17 and the next oldest would be about 33. Only about 30 people go so this is not really that exceptional. I get to be very involved in my church and do stuff on the computer for church, lead worship, preach and teach Sunday school. I’m going to hold off on some of that until I feel I’m securely back on the narrow again. I have had a couple of opportunities to preach in the past couple of months and haven’t taken them up. The Ted Haggard thing scared me a bit. I was thinking that maybe I would become a pastor one day mid-year. But now I think I would be more of a support role. Preaching is really what I love and there’s no reason I can’t do that but without the responsibility of a title. At church I started to preach through the book of James. I did about four. I like public speaking and preaching is a great way to do that. But more then that I love shouting truth into people’s lives. I’m a realist I know that no-one really changes their life long-term because they heard a great sermon but it’s good work.

 

Turning 21 was a bit of a non-experience. Australians can vote, drive and drink from the age of 18. But it does serve as a reminder that I’m getting older. In August I’ll be 22 and that is differently leaving behind all the year’s that are generally classified as youth. Feeling older is a bit scary. Today a song on the radio, which I can remember very well from when I was about 14 was introduced as, “another Light FM classic.” You know you’re getting older when songs that were released when you were a teenager start to be referred to as classics. Getting older also brings up other struggle issues. Will more acquaintances wonder why I haven’t got a girlfriend despite the fact there’s probably no reason I shouldn’t? Will I be able to afford stuff like rent if I stay single forever? These issues don’t worry me too much but I didn’t think about them four years ago.

 

Getting a job has to be a highlight of the year. It was just perfect how it happened. I was worried about what I was going to do when I finished uni, so I had a couple of meethings with the careers counsellor and she said to send out my resume to some places. So I sent it out to local newspapers and politicians officers. Then the paper I work at now rang me up and said they were looking for someone and I could do a trial. They were impressed with my resume and it’s nice to know working hard and being involved in activities and stuff pays off. We were talking at prayer meeting about specific prayer and how sometimes we need to pray specific. So I prayed that I would get a job so I wouldn’t have to do my usual summer job, which was picking asparagus, and it all fell into place. I’m looking forward to the new situations this will bring in the New Year. As I get more settled in I can get better stories. I’m also looking forward to moving and perhaps staying down there and getting more involved in a new church. The paper is also getting a new editor and that will make things more interesting.

 

So to the New Year…I understand why people don’t make resolutions, but I think they can be okay things, without vision the people perish and all that kind of Hallmark card stuff. So in 2007 I want to take life step by step, fight the battle in the hour and push myself out of the comfort zone in that moment without getting all worked up and making it seem like a big deal when it’s just a fleeting moment before I move onto the next opportunity for victory or getting out of the comfort zone. But I also want to remember the future. What I do in those minutes and hours matters for when I am 25 and 34 and 62 and for eternity. If I win in this moment I win for the old man who wants to celebrate a life lived well as he dies. I want to work towards being the kind of person I wanted to help me. I want to be real I don’t just mean that I want to disclose stuff to heaps of people, but I want to be honest with myself about where I am at and what I’m feeling. I need to preach to myself that it is okay to be in pain and work to resolve it in healthy ways rather then seeking to medicate myself with sin. I want to be porn and masturbation free. People tell me this is a bit of an unrealistic goal, but I’m going to put it out there and say that one year I will never do those things again and so it’s not really as silly as it may sound. So bring on ’07.

 

Anyway if anyone made it through to the end. Well Done!! And a Happy New Year to you. I feel a bit weird wishing people a ‘happy’ New Year. What if what you or I need isn’t really pleasant happiness that helps us sleep at night, but a kick up the arse so we can go further in 2007 and grow and heal and be better in 2011 then we ever thought possible. So I’m wishing you that kind of New Year if it’s what you need. And if it’s not, good stuff, and have a great one. I’m off to celebrate with some friends and I’ll catch ya’s in ’07.

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5 thoughts on “Review

  1. Great post bro…hey….remember this…your struggle with SSA constantly reminds you of how fallen this world is..how cursed all creation is….your pain CAN BE the vehicle to deeper preaching bro….Indeed, it has been said (Henry Nouwen) that “the greatest myth of leadership is that he who has never been through the wilderness can lead others through it.”  My friend, I believe that your weaknesses, the SSA, etc., really are and will be the source of more of your strength and insight than you can possibly now imagine. 
    Enjoy your new year old man……..22 years old….sheesh!!!!  Must be nice!!!!!!  🙂

  2. hi there, I m blogging here to get men to know about our group that we have here….its called “heartbeat”…..we have over 250 people in xangaland who meet and greet new people…we are working on gettin more men to Mikes team, thought Id give you his site and thought you could check it out and see if your interested….take care…Laura
    Team #3 Mike (xThexGodFatherx) Blue (Men’s Team)

  3. Thank you for sharing my friend.
    Praying for you in this new year!
    Your brother,
    Jared Michael Dunlap

  4. hey, thanks for your comment. and about your post, it’s refreshing to read your transparency. i think God can use that. blessings to you, joy

  5. Hey…UPDATE!!!!!!! hahahahhahahahaha….take care Chris!!!!!

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