If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

Great poem, huh? I don’t think it embodies everything that I want to be, especially the spiritual side, but it comes pretty darn close.

I suggested in my last blog that I would use movie analagies in this one… but I changed my mind. Sorry! I’m more interested today in discussing life as it is.

My week has been a great one. Friends, fun, video games, etc… And, of course, a 5 page paper and hour long debate. Very fun. More than that, I’ve started to see things I never thought I’d see. I’ll keep most of them to myself for now, to avoid offending anyone, but suffice to say that the winds are shifting; and I couldn’t be happier. Still, there’s much to do, and some of the winds have moved in negative directions. We’ll see in the coming weeks what comes of all this.

Also, I’ve found myself struggling a bit more this weekend. Yuck. Not a fun thing, but definitely an important one. How frustrating it would be if we couldn’t enjoy challenges!

Ok, so struggle number one. How to choose between two equally good (or equally bad) alternatives? So often the struggles I have involve trying to decide what’s best, not just what’s right. How does one do this? Thankfully, I was able to make the focus of this week’s CCF lesson depending on God, so hopefully he’ll reveal some answers for me as we work on it. But seriously… how do you choose? So often, I think we make those decisions based on personal priorities… but is that right? Who am I to tell the world that my wants and desires dictate the best thing? That may be taking the issue to an extreme, but the point remains that it’s hard for us to know what’s right… when it seems that both choices could be.

The second struggle I’m having is how to separate my frustration and my desire to do the best thing from my relationships. It’s hard for me to spend time with people without trying to teach them something or win them over to my position on an issue, and that has to stop. Not surprisingly, the Darth Vader to my Emperor Palpatine (shoot, I ended up using them anyways) has been having great success, while the Senate is bogged down in procedures. Now, I still am willing to hit the front lines, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. I have to make sure that I don’t let politics get in the way of relationships, which will be far more important down the line.

Third, in relation to the Kipling poem I posted, I’ve been struggling with how I can be a better man. The girls have been discussing the issue of godly men and women, and I wish I could do more. I’ll post my idea woman here, but I’d love to hear any suggestions anyone may have for how I can be a better man. (hint: if you read this, let me know! I really need advice.)

The ideal woman, to me, makes God her focus first and foremost. More important that school, more important than career, more important than me, more important than her family. A woman who is focused on God has great worth, because that focus will filter down and positively affect other areas both of her own life and of mine.

The ideal woman is trustworthy. Not just trustworthy in terms of being able to keep a secret, but trustworthy in that she can be depended upon. Having a rock like that in your life is extremely important.

The ideal woman is comforting. As a high-energy, impatient person, I look for a woman who will be comforting and relaxing to be around when I'm tired and frustrated. No, I'm not talking about puppy-dog adoration, and I don't want her to massage my feet every night. However, I do want to feel safe with who I am in her presence.

The ideal woman is encouraging. Men are often bad at motivating themselves... but a woman can change that almost instantaneously. Encouragement in our spiritual lives, support of our endeavors, and faith in our ability to accomplish things from a woman is incredibly uplifting and motivating to a man.

The ideal woman is thought of well by others. If a woman truly is of good and Godly character, it will show in her life. No matter how attractive a woman is, I would be hard pressed to pursue one who repels others when I'm not around.

In short, I look for an encouraging, comforting, Godly woman whom I can depend on as we face the adventure of life together.

Need a summary? Proverbs 31 is excellent. Men don't need supermodel looks or incredible skinniness. We need to be loved, appreciated, respected, and wanted. This will motivate us to be all the things we can be; godly leaders, loving husbands and fathers, protectors, and champions.

I sincerely hope that God will continue to improve this area in CCF over the coming year (or, in my case, the rest of this semester). We sure could use it!

In all fairness, though, I have noticed many ways in which this has been improving. The other day, I had a female friend basically tell me to be tougher, and gave me some advice and encouragement on how to do so. Now that may not seem so significant, but it’s a very rare thing coming from any but our fearless leaders. People are, I think, afraid of me. I hate it, but am having trouble fixing it. Because of this, I almost never get any advice or admonishment from anyone, which is hard for someone like me who needs feedback. So, thank you to that unnamed person out there… by the way, the red looks good!

Well, this has gotten really long, and you’re probably a little bored. So, I will take off for now. Pray for me, though, because I have a big decision coming up, and I want to be sure I handle it correctly and in a godly manner.

Welcome to the Revolution.

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