In yesterday's post, I referenced my first blogging efforts—and in order to link to them, went and found said earliest entries. They provide both a certain amount of humor, because I really was a typical freshman in many ways: big eyes at everything going on in college, overly dramatic responses to the events of my days, and overwhelmed by amounts of homework that would later seem trivial. Not to mention: I took myself far too seriously. (I wonder if, reading this entry five years from now, I will think the same of myself now?)
There is opportunity for serious reflection, as well, though. On the one hand, I am very much the same person I was then in terms of personality. I am still interested in a wide variety of things, I am still deeply passionate about the things of God, and I can still get very riled up about issues I care about. On the other hand, I am very different than I was five years ago (as not only my old blog entries but also everyone who knows me can attest). To all of you who knew me then: thank you for tolerating my many idiosyncrasies, follies, and rough edges, and for loving me despite them. I am who I am today in large part because of the ways God used you in my life in the intervening years.
It is sobering to realize how mature I thought myself at the time, in comparison to how immature I really was. Again, I wonder: will I think the same of myself now when I look back in five years? The answer, I am afraid, is probably.
Having a record of the past, of who we were and how we thought in the past, can be incredibly instructive—and incredibly humbling. If I grow was much in the next five years as I did in the past five (and God willing, I will), I will unquestionably look back on many of the things I say and do now with regret or embarrassment. I will be able to recognize then foibles and sins that now do not even register on my radar. If nothing else, the number of posts I had to smile at in chagrin as I read yesterday should remind me not to be overly confident in the things I am thinking and writing today. They, too, are subject to the revision and correction of the Holy Spirit, and so while I hold my views confidently, I should also hold them humbly.
That sort of humble confidence seems to be one of the areas many Christians struggle. We tend on the one hand toward confidence in our own wisdom, unbridled by humility, and on the other to think humility means holding our views so loosely they could be shaken free by a gust of Oklahoma wind. (Okay, bad example; Oklahoma winds can be downright tornadic. You take my meaning.) We should hold our views with confidence when we have taken the time to carefully orient ourselves to what Scripture says, but with the humility to admit that just as we have changed our minds before, we may do so again. We are not infallible. At the least, quick perusal of those early posts and some of my later views on things will certainly serve to highlight my changing views over time.
This sort of confident humility allows us to speak boldly and courageously in a gracious, gentle way. One of my greatest weaknesses is a tendency to communicate my views passionately but not courteously. Even when I think my tone is expressing mere intensity, it can often be mistaken for anger, anger at people, anger even at the people I am addressing. Clearly, I have a great deal more growing to do. In this, as in all things, I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is the one who sanctifies us—because 23 years of life have taught me just how futile self-improvement is.
Sometimes I may indulge in a bit of meta-discussion of the post. It should prove insightful. Today, for example, you'll get to see everything I wrote before I came up with anything meaningful to say.
Day 2 of blogging every day this month. Day 2 isn't hard. Day 24 probably will be. [Ed. note: given the below, that's an amusing opening.]
I had about three post ideas today, independent of the suggestions offered in response to my last post (which were good ones). Unfortunately, I lost all but one of them—a problem I have had before, and that I have even still failed to find a good solution to. Calling myself isn't an option, because I can't call my own phone number without it going directly to checking voicemail. Leaving myself notes is impossible in many cases because many of my best ideas come when I am driving. Perhaps I can start coming up with mnemonics. Thoughts?
Thanks to the time I spent writing the previous paragraph, my brain was able to retrieve another of the ideas. So now I will write about that. And stop talking about writing about it. Alas, now I am writing about writing it. And the circle continues. Metacognition, and meta-function in general, are topics I plan to tackle in a fair amount of depth. Just... not today.