Monday, September 27, 2010

Know Yourself

This was a paper i had to write the first week of school for my English teacher. It was just an extensive list of questions that i had to answer, so if it seems kind of strange/random it's because i was just answering the questions.

Just thought i would share.

At first glance, my hands look plain and simple. A deeper look at them actually reveals a great deal about who I am. The calluses on my left hand fingertips are a dead giveaway that I spend countless hours playing guitar. More calloused than that, the ends of my palms show how much golf I play. My hands are always clean. I never have pen marks, dirt, or anything else on the surface of my hands. I often times spend 20 or 30 minutes making sure I clip my nails to the same length. Ever since I can remember, I have had this obsession with not letting my hands get dirty. I like to think that this has something to do with how I am not an arts and crafts type person. I never like for something to be out of order or out of my control. I usually treat my face the same way. Shaving more than necessary and using face wash with moisturizer comes from my inclination to have a soft face. In my mind, it ensures the order and control that I like.

My style of clothing is hardly unique. I have always chosen comfort over fashion, and doing laundry frequently to wear the same things is more appealing to me than having appalling amounts of clothes in my closet. As long as whatever I am wearing is appropriate for the climate and occasion, I really don't worry about what it looks like. The same thing goes for my physical gestures and tone of voice. I never do anything excessive or flashy, but instead I just stand and speak in an appropriate way for the occasion. Many times, I put my hands in my pockets and cross my legs. My other natural habit is to speak loudly to a group of people. While psychiatrists insist that our posture and voice reflect our emotion, I feel as though my outward behavior is simply projected in an effort to maintain comfort.

My ego is all based on what the people that I care about think of me. Any kind of praise or criticism from these people affects me greatly, but usually I am not concerned with what everyone else thinks about me. I tend to take pride in my athleticism and social skills. Ironically, my only fears are related to this. I am afraid of getting old and having genetics kick in, causing me to not be quite as athletic. On top of that, I fear that I would lose confidence in myself from that and no longer interact with my peers in the same way. I try to be the same person no matter who I am around, but I know this is one of the hardest things to do. If I could name my three faces it would be Respectable Jared, Funny Jared, and Christian Jared. Whenever I am around adults and smarter people, I tend to be well behaved and mannered. In a more relaxed setting with my friends, I always end up trying to be the funny guy trying to make everyone laugh. The last face I have is the most important face to me. This is not a face that I want to be able to put on and off, but rather I try to make it a part of me that shines through no matter what other face I have on at the moment. Yet, I would not call it a face of religious "do's and dont's" that I follow. My goal is to have a personality that make people wonder how I am so joyful at all times and leave them wanting to experience the Joy I know.

The three most important people in my life other than family right now are Mr. Todd, Kaleb Sanders, and Mackenzie Martindale. Mr. Todd has essentially been my role model over the past year and a half. He has been an adult who I can look to for an example of anything from loving his family to making an investment, as well as been a friend who I can enjoy the game of golf with. Kaleb is a friend from Dallas who I have grown close to over the past two years. He and I can have conversations about anything without having to put on a false front or get annoyed with each other. I usually have a hard time building friendships with guys my age, but Kaleb and I are practically living the same life in different towns which creates more of a brother feeling. Mackenzie is also a friend from out of town I have been close to for around three years. Even though I don't get out to Lubbock to see her at all, I consider her to be my best friend. She is very down to earth, and a great example of a girl who withstands the many pressures of high school and remains Godly instead. While people usually don’t consider someone that they hardly see or talk to their best friend, her incredibly beautiful personality transcends any distance barrier. These people are very much my support in times of weakness, while at the same time my favorite people to laugh with.

My dad and I are so much alike that it is almost unhealthy. It seems to me that we just naturally think the same way in every situation. The only difference I really see is maturity. While I still want to stay up late and sleep all day, he knows that there are benefits to getting enough sleep and rising early. While I like to think and discuss many issues and topics, he sees the wisdom in becoming knowledgeable but holding his tongue unless he has something absolutely necessary to contribute. My mom and I, on the other hand, are like night and day. She is so compassionate and caring to anyone and everyone. I am thankful for that about her because it constantly reminds me that I have to be mindful of how I treat others. I consider that my position in my family is to follow in my older siblings' footprints of making my parents proud, while setting an example for my little sister to follow. While that gets to be a heavy burden sometimes, I am thankful to be a part of such a loving and providing family.

There are so many different types of friendships in today's world that it has become hard to define what a friend really is. All of the cliche definitions of a friend are true in their own respect. The type of friendship I most value, however, comes from the idea of Proverbs 27:17. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." The influence friends can have on each other can have positive effects long after the friendship exists. Anytime I find a friend who's interest in me goes beyond just having good times together, I know the friendship will probably not just end in disaster. The attitude I try to have as a friend is to accept the person just as they are, while at the same time doing everything in a manner that can help them develop and grow into the best they can be. When a friend has that same attitude towards me, I know I can trust and rely on them when the need comes.

The three moments I feel were worthy of making headlines are actually accomplishments that I do not even think about anymore. Growing up in Midland, I was a pretty good baseball player. I played on select tournament teams and I was very proud of that. The specific game that was newsworthy took place sometime around third grade. Playing defense at shortstop, I turned an unassisted triple play - a rare feat to say the least. With runners on 1st and 2nd I caught a line drive, tagged the frozen runner right in front of me, and walked over to the bag and tagged the poor kid who thought the ball flew by me. The second event was winning the District UIL Lincoln-Douglas Debate Championship as a sophomore. To be a district champion in any UIL event is impressive, but the kid I beat in the final round was the Lebron James of Lincoln-Douglas debate. Finally, "Josefy Takes Election in Landslide Fashion" would have made for a good article the last week of school last year when I was elected Senior Class President.

The more I reflect and write about who I am, the more I realize how empty life would be if it were all about me. My traits, my hobbies, my relationships, my family, and my accomplishments are all mediocre at best. It is not that I do not appreciate all of these things, but on their own they will all eventually be forgotten. What I know about myself is simple; I was created in God's image and designed completely unique. In that uniqueness, there are two scenarios I see that can be played out. I either worship my Creator with my life or I chase empty dreams. Many of the accomplishments, friendships, and hobbies that I look back on turned out to be empty dreams that I got tired of chasing. But the beauty in that is I see ways that I could have used those circumstances to bring glory and honor to my Lord. This encourages me in the sense that as I move on in life with new interests and meet new people, I can treat it as an opportunity to worship the One who deserves it instead of treating life like I am suppose to have a bunch of impressive memories and accomplishments. As C.T. Studd wrote, "Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last."

Monday, August 23, 2010


Well I'm officially a senior or something like that. The first day was rough! I began the day at 6 am for cross country practice, so by the time school actually started I was ready to go back to bed. I go to AP Government and AP English before relaxing for 45 minutes in a study-hall-type class period. Then, AP Chemistry followed by AP Calculus might just join together to kill me this year. Luckily, my educational day ends there. I spend 45 more minutes on campus for basketball, but when I leave after that for lunch I don't come back. My only afternoon class is a 45 minute "job shadowing" where I will go to my church and hang out with my youth pastor. Lastly, I'm taking a psychology class on Tuesday nights at the local college. I'm sure there will be many interesting things that come out of that experience, so maybe it will come up in a later post.

After running 3 miles this morning, I was in the locker room waiting for school to start. As I sat down and pulled out a devotional guide, I was thinking about how agonizing it was to wake up that early just to run. I HATE RUNNING. The devotional guide is calendar based, and it's pretty clear that God was feeling humorous this morning. This was my first day to use this particular devotional so I had no idea what was coming when I opened it to August 23rd.

"My Bible Promise for Today"
Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV)
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

So, I'm not much of one who likes to use verses of scripture to get the silly idea that God is going to help me win in sports, but this particular verse is definitely going to be on my mind a lot at 6 am.
"Run run run, like the feet of a deer. Run run run, like the feet of a deer"

The beauty of it is, in all seriousness, this verse was huge for me today. Throughout the chaos and exhaustion of "The Last First Day of High School," I was constantly reminded of the fact that my Lord is Sovereign and will be forever.
And HE is my strength.
Whether it be cross country, school, work, or thumb-twiddling I find that statement to be very encouraging. Because I know my own strength wouldn't get me through even a semester of this chaos called being a senior.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Somewhere In Between

I've been trying to write songs for about a year to get emotions out of my head, but my songwriting abilities always fail me half-way into any song i start. Which is why I'm thankful to Lifehouse right now for my current favorite song, Somewhere in Between. It pretty much sums up every song I've ever tried to write.

It's kind of funny to me that a song they released 10 years ago has such great relevance to something going on in my life right now.

"I'm somewhere in between, what is real and just a dream."

I'm waiting for that moment to "wake up." The moment that lets you know it was just a dream. The moment that lets you know you won't have to deal with it anymore. But at the same time I'm dealing with the fact that a typical dream doesn't continuously occur during consciousness day after day. Hence, I feel like a situation going on in my reality is more suitable for a dream. I don't necessarily know that this is what Jason Wade had in mind when he wrote the song, but it's the meaning that i find applicable.

I apologize for not expounding on the subject that connects me to this song, but I decided to stay away from blogging with too much personal detail. I will, however, leave you with a hint of what it's about by quoting another Lifehouse song.

"Maybe you could not believe it, that my love for you is blind. But I couldn't make you see it, that I loved you more than you'll ever know."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not What i Promised

This is a little bit ironic. I said i was going to post something today about my thoughts. Turns out, I'm not. What's ironic about it is I am instead going to take another look at the phrase, "actions speak louder than words." Someone wise who read the post pointed out to me that maybe I had altogether missed the point of the saying. Here's the example he gave:

Someone says, "I'm going to give $100,000 to the victims in Haiti." That seems like a pretty admirable thing, right? Well what if the person then proceeds to give no assistance and doesn't back up his statement? On the other hand, a person might say, "I will not help the Haiti victims," and then he sends $100,000 in aid to the Haitian relief efforts.

With this view, "actions speak louder than words" is a little bit more clear to me. I encourage you to read Matthew 21:28-31 for a similar situation that Jesus lays out.

The upcoming post i mentioned yesterday? Well, let's just say it's going through some reconstruction since my approach on the subject is a little different now.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Here We Go Again

Disclaimer: This post is boring.

This is a very general idea that I scrambled down thoughts on in order to set up a blog I will post tomorrow. If you want to better understand my more personal, upcoming post, this is here to serve as a platform to see where I am coming from.

Actions speak louder than words.
Words are thoughts made audible. So, essentially what that statement would mean is that actions are more important than a thought developing in the mind. I question this concept, however, for two reasons. First- Actions are always initiated by a thought, no matter whether the thought was pre-meditated or impulsive. Second- Communication, whether it be verbal or non-verbal, is an action. In fact, communication is arguably one of the most constant and universal actions that happen on a daily basis.

First- Actions are always initiated by a thought, no matter whether the thought was pre-meditated or impulsive. Think about the way you respond to major circumstances in your life. If you come home to find you've been robbed, the immediate thought would be to make sure everything is safe and then somehow to regain what was lost. Thus, the action that would ensue would usually be to check the area with a sense of caution to make sure no one is around. This thought desiring safety would usually lead to a phone call to the police at some point as well. These could be considered impulsive reactions to being robbed, but we see that there are thoughts that are driving them. Not quite as impulsively, thoughts longing for justice or replacement of property would begin to circulate. At this time, legal actions would usually be taken or you would possibly make purchases to replace whatever it was that was stolen. On a smaller scale, think about waking up in the morning. If your first thought has to do with how exhausted you are, your action would be (if you're like me) to roll over, pull the covers up, and get five or ten more minutes of sleep. On the other hand, if you immediately think about how you promised to meet a friend for coffee, you would be more likely to hop up and get ready to go. At this point it's pretty elementary that the actions you take are derived first from thoughts that take place.

Second- Communication, whether it be verbal or non-verbal, is an action. The thing I do the most is talk. I usually do this whenever i want someone to know something or if i need to know something from them. Both of these end up getting something accomplished, so it would be absurd to not consider the talking as an "action." Similarly, many non-verbal forms of communication end up getting something accomplished. Following up on the first idea, anytime you communicate you have either a previous or impulsive thought that drives you to communicate with that other person.

To wrap up this train of thought, I don't agree with the concept that actions speak louder than words. In my opinion, words are actions. On top of that, thoughts should be considered the more important issue. After all, they seem to drive everything we do.