In every part of our country’s social history, the people who have played some part in it have been looking for ways to self improvement. Whether it be the founders who sought freedom to conduct themselves apart from self proclaimed authority, or our fore-bearers who sought freedom from old world poverty, the people of America have always known there is something more. For many in our modern age these goals are similar, if only ramified by modern consumerism. In my own experience I went from a listless high schooler to a person obsessed, often excessively, with becoming a better man. In my best times my faith is at the center of such goal making. However, sin does have a way of creeping in.
Ever since barely scratching my way out of high school, I thought that scholastic excellence and discipline would assure me a seamless road toward success and happiness. I’m one of the few who went to college assured of what I wanted out of it. However, during college I was more A fool than I ever allowed myself to believe. I cast off all desires for social ties. Its not a surprise I left with so few. As I got into grad school, I was finally getting tired of my asceticism. By God’s grace I met great people who showed me it is alright to live. As my career path was beginning to hone in on what I had long hoped for it to be, I began to try and regain some what I had ignored for so long. Before long, my biggest personal goal was to gain some semblance of a social life. Something that should be so basic. But to my shame, spiritual growth was being eclipsed by my desire for social growth.
I’ve made progress, but I still have much to learn. I still feel inexorably awkward around people, not trusting my own words. I wind up in states of analysis paralysis, and wind up doing things that in hindsight are stupid or even disrespectful. Lets not even get into relational pursuits. Sometimes I look back upon where I was in undergrad, fully aware of how much I had missed in my solitude, and wish I could have the old me back.
And it is in this that I must give thanks to God for where he has taken me, and in prayer find the resolve to press forward knowing that this is only a foretaste of what lay ahead. For all of my verbal fumbles and situational errors can really only have one of two purposes. The first, which I can often fall into amidst the prideful doldrums of self pity, is too chalk it up to weakness. This leaves me to doubt my self further as I grow in resentment of my situation. But, in faith I trust that God will me lessons in my failures. And even more importantly humility. It is in this I pray that I will have strength to see my weakness for what it is and move forward with a sense of what “self improvement” really means .