My junior year, I just got a car, got my first cell phone the year before, and just got my first official job at a local car dealership. The icing on the cake for that year was getting a job, which upset my dad because he said I "would not be able to focus on tennis enough". He was afraid that I would lose sight of the opportunity to get a scholarship and that I would blow it all in my last years. He told me that if I choose to work the job then I would be on my own with all of my finances. Although this was very intimidating because it was coming from my father who provided housing for me, I took the risk. I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to learn what the "real" world was like. I wanted to get a taste before I left for college. Having my dad tell me that I would have to handle my own finances made it even more real. Working $8/hr for about 20hrs/week made me feel like "the man". I wasn't making much but it gave me the opportunity to get from under part of the rock my parents put me under. I used all of my money for gas, to get to work, food on the way to work, and supplies for work. (late confession, to give you an example of how much this cost me, I ran out of money and had to push my car to the gas station a couple times). Work taught me a lot of discipline. I was a cashier in the front office doing a lot of filling and small paper work, but I got the opportunity to work under a man named Skip Bosak who I still admire today. I had to dress professionally, leave work late, and smile no matter what the situation was. This was just the start, the biggest part of my learning that year came on Sunday's. My mom made it a good habit of going to church every Sunday and teaching us the principles to follow. When I was young church seemed to just be a routine, it's what people did on Sundays and that was it. During the week I never heard of the man they talked about and I never saw the principles lived out in daily life. Because my mom was the leader in church in my household I wanted to separate from it. In my eyes her church and her God were not serious enough for me to spend my time with, so I decided to look elsewhere. The only other person I could look to for a little direction was my grandmother on my dad's side a.k.a. "Granny". Granny had been a spiritual women her whole life, sometimes I thought even too much. I think at the time I gave God a couple months. I said I'd commit to going to church for a couple months with my priority being to LEARN, I didn't want to see if he was "real" or if I "felt him", I just wanted to learn what he was about. My goal was to learn the character of the leader or head of all the major religions. (If I didn't agree with the character and what the person truly stood for there was no way I would be able to follow him/her.) Because of so many people in my life being "Christians" and following this guy I just wanted to try and hear from the source (The Bible not the preacher) what he really was about. If he didn't seem any different from what I heard and saw from everybody else I was going to be out. Plain and simple. I wasn't interested in being involved with a life that encouraged people to put on a face, show love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness only for one day a week. I was interested in someone or something who embodied total transformation. Someone that could provide the world to those who were deserving but not by superficial human standards. I don't want you to form a bias but I will conclude with letting you know that this year I was able to find a resolution that changed my life. In a later blog I will talk about this but for now I want you to self reflect and figure out where you are. Really break down your life and ask the questions. Leave your reflections and questions in the comments.
Self awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad. Self awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities. I don't mean self consciousness where you're limiting and evaluating yourself. I mean being aware of your own patterns.
"When I discover who I am, I will be free" - Ralph Ellison