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2017 in Review

Just to briefly list some of the events of the past year…

  • Took 39 college credits
  • Read well over 100 books
  • Got hired to work with an organization I love
  • Heather and I are now dating (?!)
  • Camp counseled through 6 groups of guys
  • Settled into a much healthier housing arrangement at school
  • Started exercising again
  • Became a volunteer at my church’s middle school youth group
  • Lost most of my appetite for politics
  • Considered changing majors / schools / jobs at least a dozen times
  • Actually changed majors / schools / job exactly zero times
  • Coached / coordinated with middle and high school students at: De Pere, Hononegah, Lincoln Park, Thomas Middle School, Schaumburg, Hononegah (again), Deerfield, and Washburne Middle School.
  • Two missions trips
  • Attended three conferences
  • Hosted discipleship training at school
  • Preached 8 different sermons
  • Was sick at least 10 times, the final three being devastating for my body and GPA
  • Completely changed by opinion on Calvinism and determinism
  • Went from 0 to 60 with respect to philosophy this year
  • Started writing a book
  • Became a Democrat? Or something? Not sure how this happened.

And the last point, which deserves much more than a bullet point but which will be brief anyways, is that I have seen the Lord at work in me in all kinds of confusing, redeeming, and sanctifying ways. He has eliminated a good amount of pride from me, and used a few things that were 100% my fault to do it. He has opened me up to a whole emotive way of being. He has graciously reaffirmed my calling to working with youth as a youth pastor. He has blown my mind away throughout the year by breaking out of doctrinal boxes I had held him in (Calvinism in particular comes to mind) (and Rationalism). He has opened my eyes up to seeing new connections between who I was, am, and am becoming. He has pushed me into greater Christlikeness, even to my own frustration at the time. He has shown me how sweet he is.

2017 has been big, even for someone who says he hates nostalgia as much as I do. “Big” not in the sense of containing important things — although that is true. See the above bullet-pointed list. “Big” not in the sense that it is some pivotal turning point, since for the most part I have only continued in a trajectory that began at least six months before. I mean “Big” in the sense of densely packed. The events, learning, personal growth, etc. that happened the past 365 days seem like they should have taken years, not one year, and I barely remember the Ross I knew in January. Barely remember him. I already cannot empathize with him or his decisions, because they do not make sense to me — which is true of everybody with their past selves, but it seems to take more time than this has.

As a hint of what 2018 may hold, I will be taking (another) heavy course load in the spring, frolicking across Europe for a mayterm trip, serving as a Cabin Counselor again at Timber-lee for the summer, and then finishing up my undergraduate studies in philosophy in the fall semester, with the other bachelor’s degree still in progress via the attached 5 year masters degree.

Looking forward to whatever comes next.

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