So a good friend of mine suggested that I write out my goals for the year. I think it's something that I hinted I would do in my last note, but I never got around to it. And the thing is, I haven't put it off for lack of time. Oh, sure, I've been busy, but I have definitely continued my habit of procrastination up here in Baltimore. I keep thinking about all the things I could be accomplishing if I simply used every minute of every day to its fullest extent. Perhaps that should be the first goal. I shouldn't waste my time on silly stuff. I have books to read, classes to attend, friends to see, jobs to apply for and a lot of other stuff to occupy my time. I could actually be quite productive if I put my mind to it.
Sometimes I feel like I don't truly belong up here. I'm still a North Carolina boy at heart. It would be foolish to quit, but at the same time, I want to want to be up here. I still have a year and a half to go and the concept of finishing well comes to mind. I don't just want to phone it in until I have my M.A. and can move back home. I want to actually enjoy my experience up here, put a lot into it so I can get a lot out of it, grow and change as a person, etc. The last one is going to require quite a bit of effort on my part. Changing isn't easy, and it doesn't happen overnight, and for an impatient person such as myself, that can be very annoying.
Perhaps another goal that goes right in line with that is that I need to take better care of myself. Oh, I don't mean in terms of the physical daily aspects of what that means. So far, I've been quite good at staying healthy, eating well, paying my rent, keeping my apartment clean, etc. But emotionally, I need to start taking time to find things I enjoy, and then actually do them. I also need to figure out what I like about myself. I think I didn't realize until I was a little more socially isolated that I got my affirmation and sense of self-worth from other people. And it's difficult to love others or have meaningful relationships if you're struggling with low self-esteem. Figuring out what is good about me is a goal.
But that actually brings up some theological questions which I was actually talking about with a different friend today. Theologically, I'm Reformed, which means I don't really believe there is anything inherently good in human beings. After all, if there was then we wouldn't need saving. And I don't believe that God predestined the elect to salvation based on their own merits, or anything inherently in them. While the upside to this is a profound sense of God's sovereignty and an assurance in one's own salvation, the downside is that I think I came out of it with some pretty low self-esteem. At least most Christians who aren't of the Reformed streak feel like God created things within them that were positive.
I'm not quite sure if I believe that. Or at the very least, I'm not really sure what those things are. When I am encouraged to write down what I like about myself, I feel like I am engaging with pride. But isn't self-hatred, or at least low self-esteem, a form of pride in itself? Where do Christians draw the line? Most folks do get affirmed in their positive traits from their friends, spouses, coworkers, etc. Is that proper? Is there a way to be affirmed and to affirm others without engaging in pride? I'd definitely be interested in responses from anyone with a theological stake in the argument, and in general, I'd appreciate prayers from folks that I can complete my goals up here. Be blessed.