Well the NFL Regular Season has come to a close, which means it’s time to review my preseason predictions and then curl up into a ball and weep until September. For reference, my predictions can be viewed here.
What I got right:
The Ravens won the division…but in spite of themselves. The Browns again were bottom-feeders.
What I wish I could take back:
I was high on the Ravens D. They were NOT the Ravens D of yore. Injuries plagued them, but that’s no excuse. Also, I didn’t give the Bengals enough credit and gave too much to Pittsburgh.
What I got right:
The Texans won the division.
What I wish I could take back:
Everything else. Especially this gem: “The Jags could surprise a LOT of people this year. That all hinges on Blaine Gabbert’s ability to stay in the pocket and make his new weapon Justin Blackmon a star. Mike Mularkey is actually what this team needed…he’s a very run-oriented guy, and that’s what the Jaguars do best. Of course, Jones-Drew held out until the last possible second, and could lose a step a-la Chris Johnson last year. But Gabbert has no excuse this year to suck. I think he actually is set up to succeed and step up this year.”
Also this about the Colts: “The Colts, while they have the next Peyton Manning, still are without Peyton Manning. Expect Luck to have flashes of greatness and do very well. Unfortunately, the other 10 guys on offense have to be just as good. Manning had a knack for making those around him better…can Luck do the same? Maybe not this year. Their defense may cost them a few games.”
Yikes. My apologies to the Colts. Also to you Jaguar fans for the season you just had.
What I got right:
Patriots won. And while I had the Jets finishing second, I did say this: “The Jets have the potential to absolutely implode.” And thankfully, I held true to my statement, “As long as Chan Gailey is the head coach of the Bills, I will predict them to finish last.” Luckily for Bills fans, Chan was canned, and I may actually give them some credit in the future. Maybe.
What I wish I could take back:
Nothing. Well okay, I gave the Jets too much credit.
What I got right:
Broncos win…hmm, noticing a trend. Also, “Norv Turner is a terrible head coach. I think this may be the year he gets the can.”
What I wish I could take back:
Being higher than I should have on both the Chiefs and the Raiders. Those are two organizations that just can’t get their crap together.
What I got right:
Yet again, I predicted another division winner. The Bears scared me for a bit at the beginning, but then just completely imploded.
What I wish I could take back:
Thinking that Adrian Peterson was human and thinking his injury would affect his play…couldn’t have been more wrong. He deserves MVP. Also, WTF Lions???
What I got right:
Everything about the Falcons. They were the most complete team. They won the division outright. As for the rest of the division, the standings reflected my predictions PERFECTLY for most of the season, right up until a couple of weeks ago. The kickers were when the Bucs lost to the Saints and the Saints lost to the Panthers in the final weeks. That made every team tied at 7-9 and tiebreakers came down to strength of schedule (which is BS, when you consider the Bucs beat the Panthers TWICE and still ended up in last place.
I also was right about the Saints and Panthers. The Saints suffered tremendously without their head coach, and Cam Newton sulked his way to another losing season. The Panthers didn’t put enough talent around him, and I knew that would be their undoing. Cam is talented, but not enough of a leader to overcome having no one around him.
Then there’s my Bucs. I correctly predicted them to have a better season but miss the playoffs. Freeman also had a much better year than the one previous (in spite of a DREADFUL three game stretch where he threw 8 picks and 1 TD), and broke many franchise records at QB. This Bucs team also was a top five offense for a hot minute. I also predicted that their defense would be the reason they miss the playoffs. At least five of their losses were blown 4th quarter leads.
“I think it should be said that I think the Falcons are the only team in the division that will make the playoffs. The schedule for the NFC South this year looks pretty brutal, and three of the four teams are unpredictable and unstable. The one that is stable still is extremely unproven when it comes to the postseason. This division is very competitive and likely will be self-destructive I see the Falcons going 10-6 or 11-5. I don’t see the rest of the teams finishing over .500.”
What I wish I could take back:
The fact that I traded Brees away for Stafford and a 1st round pick in my keeper league. I ended up with a struggling QB and Darren McFaddon who was injured for a while, and came back with nothing more than a mediocre showing after that. Shame on me for thinking he wouldn’t do anything statistically.
What I got right:
Almost nothing. I did say this: “I love RG III. I really do think he will be special in this league, and may end up being Rookie of the Year.” I was also 100% correct on Vick and the Eagles: “Then there’s the Iggles. Michael Vick can’t even stay healthy in the preseason. Sure, he now has a new flak jacket, guaranteed to stop a rocket and possibly provide healing powers, but what about the rest of his body, particularly his legs? I was right about him last year, and I’m saying it again- defenses have the tape on this man. He is unable to adjust. He’ll make splash plays, but not enough to get his team on top of this division.”
What I wish I could take back:
Where do I start? Predicting the Giants to win, having no faith in the ‘Skins, again putting the Cowboys higher than they actually finish? Who woulda thought that my severe hatred for the Eagles would save me from being 100% wrong on this division!
What I got right:
Huzzah! The only division I predicted perfectly! I’m pretty proud of this one, particularly this bit about Russell Wilson: “Yet this rookie is someone I am very high on. Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin is actually a very good QB, and will be turning some heads this year.” The Cards scared be a bit when they started 5-0…but then they remembered they’re the Cardinals.
What I wish I could take back:
I honestly did not give this division enough credit. It gained a wild card team (a legitimate one this time), and aside from the Cardinals, stayed very competitive throughout the year.
Well, I was (yet again) below 50% overall. However, I am very proud of the fact that I correctly predicted 7/8 of the division winners…which is by FAR the best I’ve ever done in that regard. Funny how the one time I put faith in the Giants is the one time they don’t make it. It also snaps my bra strap that the tiebreakers for division standings go to strength of schedule BEFORE head-to-head record, which put the Bucs in last and made me only “correct” about the Falcons in the NFC South. Oh well.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the playoffs!
I’m a little late with this one, having already passed the first game of the season (where Romo and Murray made my fantasy teams proud), but this post has been in the works for the last week, and I am not changing any picks based on one game (though, perhaps I should).
In this blog I will predict the final standings in each division.
The usual disclaimer: I do this every year. This is the third year I’ve made it public. My goal is to be 50% and I never reach it. Last year I did fairly well though. Feel free to give your predictions…
The Ravens stand out as the better team overall to me. Flacco will be Flacco, but their defense and Ray Rice will put them over the top. The Steelers will always contend, but their defense is getting older and isn’t as strong as Balty’s, IMO. Until the Bengals prove otherwise, this is still a two-team race for the top spot. Was last year a fluke for Cincy, or will this be their coming out party? While I have all the faith in the world in AJ Green, Dalton still needs to avoid a sophomore slump, and they’re still the Bungles. Then there’s the poor Browns…
It’s hard to pick against the Texans this year, especially when they coasted into the playoffs even after losing their first AND second string QBs. Yeah, they lost Mario Williams to Free Agency, but this team is way too talented and is in a seemingly uncompetitive division. The Jags could surprise a LOT of people this year. That all hinges on Blaine Gabbert’s ability to stay in the pocket and make his new weapon Justin Blackmon a star. Mike Mularkey is actually what this team needed…he’s a very run-oriented guy, and that’s what the Jaguars do best. Of course, Jones-Drew held out until the last possible second, and could lose a step a-la Chris Johnson last year. But Gabbert has no excuse this year to suck. I think he actually is set up to succeed and step up this year. The Titans also have an unproven young QB in Jake Locker. Chris Johnson WILL be much better this year and bounce back. They could also surprise some folks.
The Colts, while they have the next Peyton Manning, still are without Peyton Manning. Expect Luck to have flashes of greatness and do very well. Unfortunately, the other 10 guys on offense have to be just as good. Manning had a knack for making those around him better…can Luck do the same? Maybe not this year. Their defense may cost them a few games.
The Patriots are the class of the East, and this year is no different. While New York is playing “As the Sucky QB Turns,” Belichick and Co. are quietly going about their business. And their business is winning. Brady is a year older, but he still is Tom freaking Brady. The Jets have the potential to absolutely implode. Yet in spite of all their drama, they have always found a way to not be awful. Plus, all Tebow does is win…right?? The Dolphins and putting all their eggs in Tannehill’s basket. Perhaps it’s because his wife is smokin’ hot. He must have something, right? He actually looks decent…yet this team just has way too many holes.
The Bills surprised all of us last year in the first few weeks of the season, then realized they’re the Bills. They slightly improved their D by giving a gajillion dollars to Mario Williams, and Fred Jackson played lights-out before he got injured. I actually almost predicted them to finish second…then I remembered that last year I meant what I said- “As long as Chan Gailey is the head coach of the Bills, I will predict them to finish last.”
This one was tough. This also may be the one people disagree with the most. I don’t blame you. But how can the Broncos NOT finish first now that they have Manning? I mean, they made the playoffs with TIM TEBOW last year. When you upgrade the most important position on your team, you have to be the favorite. As I said before, Manning makes his teammates better. While he seemed to have lost a step 2 years ago, expect him to lead this team to its second straight division crown.
The Raiders actually seem to be pretty good. Carson Palmer now has a full off-season under his belt as their QB, and McFadden is back. The question is, can either of them stay healthy the whole season? The Chiefs are all over the place. They’re a very unpredictable team, but Charles will be back, and they now have Peyton Hillis to offset him. If Cassel can stay afloat, so will Kansas City. The Chargers lost their number one wideout. Ryan Mathews can’t stay healthy, and even when he is healthy, he hasn’t shown much. He needs this year to prove that he is worthy of starting. Oh also Norv Turner is a terrible head coach. I think this may be the year he gets the can.
To be the man, you gotta beat the man. A lot of people are all about the Bears this season, and for good reason. I think they really can leap-frog the Packers. This will be a very tight race once again, but I’m going to have to give the edge to the Packers, based on gut. I trust Rodgers more than I trust Cutler. Simple as that. The Lions are victims of their own division, yet should still contend for a wild card spot. This division may have two wild cards when it’s all said and done. Hopefully (for my fantasy teams’ sake) Megatron doesn’t succumb to the Madden Curse, and Stafford stays upright. The Vikings are still trying to figure things out. With Christian Ponder at the helm, and AP injured, they may be in for another rough year.
Every year it seems I hate on the Giants…and every year they prove me wrong. I have learned from my mistakes. In spite of the fact that I really want to put the Cowboys at #1, the Giants are still the team to beat. Even if they have a rough start, they have proven over and over again that they can win when it counts. The ‘Boys look very good. They’re healthy, they’re hungry, they have a new glasses-wiper for Jerry Jones…everything may finally fall into place for them. The Redskins are finally getting better. I love RG III. I really do think he will be special in this league, and may end up being Rookie of the Year. Still, they need some more help across the board on both offense and defense. They’ll be exciting to watch, but They may break some hearts.
Then there’s the Iggles. Michael Vick can’t even stay healthy in the preseason. Sure, he now has a new flak jacket, guaranteed to stop a rocket and possibly provide healing powers, but what about the rest of his body, particularly his legs? I was right about him last year, and I’m saying it again- defenses have the tape on this man. He is unable to adjust. He’ll make splash plays, but not enough to get his team on top of this division.
What a crappy division this has been, year in and year out. Of course I’m picking the 9ers to win. Their defense is ridiculous. As long as Alex Smith doesn’t take a dump on the field they should run away with this one. There’s no excuse for him either. For the first time he is returning with the same offense…one that he succeeded greatly in last year. Hopefully Harbaugh doesn’t break him, and minds his manners.
Pete Carroll is likely smoking something. Yet in spite of himself, he may actually succeed this year. First he trades a second round pick for CHARLIE WHITEHURST, and then this past offseason he and his front office give a huge contract to Matt Flynn based on a couple of games…only to give the starting QB job to an unproven rookie. Yet this rookie is someone I am very high on. Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin is actually a very good QB, and will be turning some heads this year. In a crappy division, I expect them to get some garbage wins and do pretty decent. The Rams are up and down and have so many things to prove. They COULD finish second. It’s all up to QB Sam Bradford and OC Brian Schottenheimer.
Oh…and the Cardinals suck. John Skelton? Really??
Normally I do an all-encompassing NFL predictions facebook note, but seeing as how the NFC South is the division I know the most about, I thought I would write a separate, more in-depth blog that concentrates solely on my favorite division.
Plus, I’m about to make some bold statements, and they’ll need some explanation.
Don’t fret, though, the full NFL note is coming soon.
The NFC South is a division full of parity. No team has ever repeated as champion, and no team has ever repeated in last place. For a while, it was a lock that the team that finished last would follow up with a championship run.
Thanks to (finally) consistency from the Saints and Falcons, the top two spots have belonged to them over the past few years. But in true NFC Southern fashion, the Bucs and Panthers are well on their way to keeping up with the Joneses. Add the fact that the Saints have been hit hard by the thundering hammer of Commissioner/Supreme Ruler/Demigod Roger Goodell, and things get even tighter.
While unpredictability has been the South’s M.O. since its inception in 2002, I have been darn near perfect every year when predicting the final standings of this division.
I’ve been predicting this division for much longer than two years, but always to myself or my closest friends. So you’ll just have to take my word, I’m pretty darn good at it.
That said, every year I doubt myself incredibly. This year is no different. Is this the year I’m way off? First the prediction, then the team-by-team analysis…
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Carolina Panthers
Yep, I went there. But hear me out.
Last year I went solely on who had the best offseason, and that worked pretty well. I don’t think I can do that this year…well, not only that. This year is more about who’s the most stable.
The Atlanta Falcons are that team. They’ve been questioned up here on local radio about their decision to not be very active in free agency (aside from the Asante Samuel addition). They had no draft picks in the first two rounds (thanks to Julio Jones). Their offense was shut out in the playoff game against the eventual Super Bowl Champions. I understand frustration in a quiet offseason (especially as a Bucs fan), and I understand how it may look like they’ve done nothing to get better. But that may be enough to win this division, considering the other teams.
The Falcons have come a long way since Mike Smith joined the team. Before that, they had never had back-to-back winning seasons. They now have four. While they have yet to go far in the playoffs in that stint, one must give them credit for their consistency. Their nucleus is there: Matt Ryan is a rising young QB with a Hall of Fame TE, a top-five WR, and a top-ten draft pick at WR to throw to. Add to that a top-ten RB. The offensive line is questionable, but better.
Their defense was upgraded with Samuel at corner. The line isn’t great, and likely will be the most frustrating part, but the re-signing of John Abraham was necessary, and I believe will help a lot. Weatherspoon is due for his first big year as a linebacker.
It’s the Falcons’ division for the taking.
Now I know you think I am an insane homer for picking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to finish 2nd. Maybe that’s partially true. But consider this, when you think of how awful this team was last year- they are two years removed from a 10-6 season.
The Bucs were 4-2 before losing ten games in a row last season. Two of those wins came against the Falcons and the Saints.
Y’all…that was one of the worst Bucs teams I have ever seen. That is saying A LOT.
Why such a dramatic fall? The team had no discipline, no spirit, and no accountability. Enter Greg Schiano.
Immediately he has come in and established all of those things that were lacking. He has been the anti-Raheem Morris. He isn’t best friends with Ronde Barber. He isn’t going out and partying in Ybor with trouble maker Kellen Winslow.
Nope. He moved Ronde to safety and Winslow to Seattle. Along with GM Mark Dominik (the only person from last year’s staff that kept his job), they went out and had the best Free Agency period in the NFL, signing top WR Vincent Jackson, top OL Carl Nicks, and CB Eric Wright. And one of the best drafts in the NFL, with the first three picks (S Mark Barron, RB Doug Martin, LB Lavonte Davis) being instant starters and contributors.
Sure, the Bucs are still the youngest team in the league. But now they have a leader. Now they have an authority figure. Now they have a disciplinarian. They were slammed for hiring an unknown college coach…but most of these players are still fresh out of college. Schiano is the perfect person to follow up the Morris debacle.
Then there’s Josh Freeman. In 2010 he threw for 25 TDs and 6 INTs…and then follows that up with a 16 TD 22 INT stinker of a 2011 season. So which Freeman will we see? I firmly believe that he can be the ’10 Freeman. The reason is because of the extenuating circumstances from last year…
1.Freeman targeted Winslow WAY too much. Over half of his picks were thrown K2′s way. Winslow now is not on the team.
2.The Bucs’ defense was the worst defense in franchise history last year (again, saying a LOT). Freeman was forced to throw early and often, due to always being multiple touchdowns behind. His threw almost 80 more times than the year before, and his offensive line was just dreadful.
Neither of these will be a factor come 2012. Throw in the fact that he now has Vincent Jackson to throw to, and a new ground weapon in Doug Martin, this Bucs offense may shape up to be VERY good. The Bucs’ new offensive coordinator is former NY Giants QB coach Mike Sullivan, who is attributed for helping Eli Manning turn the corner. He has been working very closely with Freeman.
(All that said..he has looked pretty rough thus far in preseason.)
The defense is still suspect. In fact, I believe they’ll be the reason that the Bucs will still miss the playoffs. Also, the schedule is VERY tough this year, specifically at the beginning. But yes, I do believe they will finish better than the Saints and Panthers.
The New Orleans Saints is a team I have completely jumped ship from. Yes, I believe Sean Payton means that much to them. This team has gone through a whirlwind offseason, seeing their head coach and interim head coach get suspended…as well as one of their top linebackers. Drew Brees was in a contract dispute until very recently. There’s been a whole lot of drama in that locker room.
Why do I think Payton means that much? October 16th, 2011. The Bucs’ last victory.
The Bucs were getting handled by the Saints. Then a freak accident occurred on the Saints’ sideline, when players collided with Sean Payton, causing him to be carted off the field and out of the game.
The offense immediately went anemic and the Bucs ended up winning. That’s right. The 2011 Bucs. The same team that I said had the WORST DEFENSE IN FRANCHISE HISTORY.
Sean Payton was their gameplanner and play caller. The guy is a great head coach and amazing offensive coordinator.
“Yeah, but they still have Brees!”
Brees is great, but he’s not Peyton Manning. Take away Coach Payton, and he’s very beatable, as evidenced by the Bucs game.
The Saints, with Brees and Payton, were 8-8 in 2008, in spite of the fact that Brees was 15 yards shy of the single season record for passing yards, and was named AP Offensive Player of the year.
I know that was four years ago…my point is that Brees isn’t the whole team. He can still be amazing while the rest of the team sucks.
How confident am I that the Saints will not do well this year? I traded Brees AND Jimmy Graham away in my keeper league. I’m out. I’ve bailed on the Saints. I see them being 8-8 at best.
And what about those up-and-coming Carolina Panthers?? Cam Newton is a football god, no? At least he thinks so…as he said himself that the team needs more Cam Newtons.
Do NOT fall into the Panthers trap this year. They will be the popular darkhorse pick solely because of Newton’s ability to make an exciting play. The problem is the fact that this team had a LOT of holes, specifically on defense, that they completely ignored in the offseason. Instead they decided to add to their already crowded backfield with Mike Tolbert, and their already crowded LB core by drafting Luke Kuechly. No safeties? No corners? No offensive linemen to protect your star QB? No thanks.
And let’s talk about that “star QB,” shall we? I have seen this over and over again. I saw it with Vick, I saw it with Young. You have this young stud with a cannon that can also make plays with his legs come in and have a stellar rookie season. Then the following year everyone is anointing him the savior of his franchise and the next great mobile quarterback.
What happens the following year? They either 1. get injured or 2. can’t handle the defenses who now have a year’s worth of tape on them, and have adjusted accordingly.
This actually is a large reason why plenty of QBs struggle in their second year, not just mobile ones. They get very confident in their good rookie season and start to slack a bit…then they have a hard time adjusting as defenses adjust to them. After that, a quarterback can’t just depend on his athletic ability, and needs to actually change up his game and adapt…get better.
I have zero faith in Cam Newton doing this. To me it’s all about his attitude. He is one of the most cocky SOBs to come into the NFL in a while. You should have seen him during that event where EA announced its cover athlete. Cam was in his element. He was cheesing it up, absorbing all of the attention, hamming up his moment in the spotlight. Meanwhile Megatron stayed quiet and humble the whole time.
But don’t take my word for it, take a look for yourself:
Does that look like the attitude you want in a leader? What’s Cam gonna do once Cam hits yet another losing season? Do you think he’s the type of person that would shoulder all of the blame, instead of eventually throwing his teammates under the bus?
We’ll see…because I see the Panthers winning six games this year.
Now I realize that my hate for Cam Newton has very much to do with personal feelings about the man who stole a laptop at UF, then tried to get away with it by tossing it out the window of his dorm (despite the fact that he had written his name on it), and very little to do with actual football.
But trust me, folks. This is not the attitude of a winner. Not a long-term one, anyway. He has his head in the stars. The lights are bright. The attention is sweet.
I predicted the same thing about Vince Young. I was right. I predicted the same thing about Michael Vick after he got out of prison. I was right. There is no doubt in my mind that Cam Newton will suffer the same fate.
He may make a few playoffs in his career. He is a gifted athlete with a rocket arm. I just don’t think he has the mental capacity to go all the way…ESPECIALLY when he has very little talent surrounding him.
I think it should be said that I think the Falcons are the only team in the division that will make the playoffs. The schedule for the NFC South this year looks pretty brutal, and three of the four teams are unpredictable and unstable. The one that is stable still is extremely unproven when it comes to the postseason. This division is very competitive and likely will be self-destructive. I see the Falcons going 10-6 or 11-5. I don’t see the rest of the teams finishing over .500.
So it took me over six months to finally feel the urge to write again. I guess that’s a good thing, as I am so happy and satisfied where my life has taken me so far. This year has been so very incredible.
I’m learning a lot, and more importantly, I’m growing a lot.
Anyway, something that has helped me along the way is actually something I read almost two years ago. It comes from Oswald Chambers:
“The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him. The attitude of a child of God should always be, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things— things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?”
Essentially, what he was saying is that we sit around asking God to speak, all the while occupying ourselves with things that don’t truly matter. If that’s the case, it’s our fault for not listening. We must train ourselves to hear.
In other words, we as followers of Christ believe that he lives inside of us, constantly shining his light through us…so why do we hesitate when God opens a door? Why do wait and pray and pray, demanding to hear His voice, when we’ve been refusing to listen?
I believe this. I believe that if I am truly one with God, which I strive to maintain every day, that he speaks to me every day. If I am faced with a challenge or big decision, who am I to doubt that he is there with me the whole time, holding my hand and leading me in the right direction?
The way I discern His voice is by constantly making sure my heart is right. I make sure my focus is right. Is there anyone I have wronged? Is there anyone I haven’t forgiven? Is there anyone I need to ask for forgiveness?
Something I’ve come to believe is that sometimes we get caught up in trying to audibly hear a voice…to hear a choir of angels…for something to click and everything to fall into place via some epiphany. While yes, I have experienced that (well, at least the last thing), it doesn’t always work like that.
I tend to think that a lot of it has to do with my trust in the fact that God has been inside me the whole time, leading the way.
The Answer is not upward, it’s inward.
If I am right with Him…if I have conditioned myself to listen…then I must trust that the decisions I make are God-inspired. This goes with all decisions, big and small. If I am truly devoted to Christ, I must trust that he is with me the whole time, influencing my choices.
Sometimes I only hear my own voice when weighing a decision. Who’s to say that’s not God speaking through me?
Since that realization almost two years ago, I have little regrets. I do not think that is a coincidence. Any time I have ever gotten frustrated or angry with God, I immediately ask myself what I’ve been doing to lock Him out. Usually I find my selfishness there…and once I realize that, I find that He was the whole time. I had just decided to stop listening.
The right decisions. The right choices. They are always in you, as a Christ follower. They are always in you, because that’s where He lives.
I made a decision back in August. One that has been questioned by those close to me, and especially questioned by myself at times. I touched on it in the last post, but it has many layers to it other than “I decided not to date for a year.”
That is the short way of saying it. It’s more like “I decided not to date for a year because my focus needs to be on growing myself, and making sure I am dedicated to God first and foremost.”
It’s so hard to explain that to people. It sounds like a Christian cliché. In the Christian world, saying that is hailed by many as an excuse for being single, or an excuse to not pursue someone. That’s when I have to hope that people understand and believe me when I say that this was not my decision.
It has been four and a half months, and I went through ups and downs. I doubted a lot…then I was hard on myself after not seeing any personal progression. I still have bad habits I’m trying to shake. I still am not as close with God as I think I should be to this point. The process just wasn’t going as quickly as I thought it would.
I constantly had to remind myself that this is not for me, it is for Him.
I very recently just went through a spell of frustration with myself, and then today God really spoke to me. Andy Stanley’s sermon at church was exactly about what God has been telling me to do this year- (among other things) finishing what you start…achieving your personal goals, because you know that God has set you out to do them. If you don’t, it hinders your relationship with Him.
I set this year aside for Him…I need to do what I know He is telling me to do, even though none of those things are quote-unquote spiritual.
Then it came to me…I’m finally seeing God working in my life and it was under my nose! It is incredible how much He has blessed me since I made my commitment. I do see the growth that I have gone through now. And I finally just got the motivation to tackle the remaining 8 months.
Andy pointed out Nehemiah. Nehemiah was given a task to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He knew it was God-inspired. It wasn’t a “spiritual” task by any means…building the wall seemingly was pointless. But he knew he had to do it.
3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3
It was during that sermon that I realized what has been going on:
The first four months was for my REVIVAL.
My next stage is for my REBUILDING.
I know the things I need to do before these 8 months are up. I will set out to do them, because I know He wants me to. It won’t be easy. It involves changing habits. It involves sacrificing fun for work.
But I know that God will be there with me, the whole way…rebuilding the fallen walls of my life.
Slowly but surely, I am growing up.
One of my best friends, whom I haven’t seen in a year because he has been fighting in Afghanistan, told me something yesterday that hit me. He said I have changed.
He’s currently on a much needed leave visiting family, so my roommate and I drove to Jacksonville to see him. This man has been across the world, going through and seeing unthinkable things, growing every single day physically and mentally.
And he told me that I have grown.
He said he could tell in the way I speak and the way I carry myself that I have grown exponentially.
This threw me back a bit, because that has been my main goal recently. I have set out to grow as much as possible. After graduating college (finally) and starting to actually get on my feet as a working adult, I realized that my focus needs to be solely on “growing up.” I’m trying to get my finances in order, I’m trying to eat and live healthier, I’m trying to get rid of old college habits.
I even made the commitment to not date for a year as I work on myself, as well as my relationship with God.
However, I recently have been struggling inwardly. It’s been three months into my yearlong commitment, and I feel like I haven’t been doing a good job. I feel like I haven’t grown at all.
So it meant a lot to hear Chris tell me that he could see it. He may not have seen me in a year, but he knows me better than most. After living with him for three years out of the 10+ that I’ve known him, I know that when he says something like this, he absolutely means it.
I may not have made much headway, in my mind. I may still not run when I should, I may still skip out on my quiet time, I may still spend money that I shouldn’t…but I still have the drive to change. There’s a reason why I decided to take a year…if everything was solved and I met my goal in three months, then I didn’t set enough goals.
I need to take baby steps. I need to not get discouraged that things don’t change overnight. I need to remember it’s a journey, not a race.
Those who know and love me most can see the change already…and that means the world to me. There’s still a big hill to climb, but for the first time, I can see that the climb is worth it.
My posts are few and far between, and probably will stay that way.
That’s not a bad thing.
Just as my previous post points out, my life is quite busy…at least as busy as a single person can be. I love it though. I have found that the older I get, the more I want to do and be doing constantly.
As a kid and teenager, I was always perfectly content with doing nothing on days I had nothing to do. I loved the days when I could just lounge around and play video games, maybe surf the internet or watch TV.
I just can’t do that anymore.
In fact, now if I have a day like that, I get a headache. If I spend a day inside doing nothing, I get so bothered, feeling like I’m wasting my life away…I have to go outside. I have to jog or walk around the Alpharetta Greenway. I have to run errands. I have to be productive.
Now I find that I am more adventurous, yearn for excitement, and much more willing to try new things.
So bring it on, busy life. Gone are the days of my brain being sluggish and numb. Gone are the days of no physical activity. I find that it’s invigorating, having a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Ugh, I’m such an adult.
I love my life. Thank you.
It has happened. I am officially a full-fledged adult.
I graduated college after 7 1/4 years. I mean, really it should have been only 5 1/2, as I walked in my graduation in Fall of ’09. But due to getting a job in Atlanta combined with my own stupidity, I had one class left before officially being recognized as competent by the State and University of Florida.
It was a stupid pre-req.
But it’s done. I moved back to Gainesville, FL for six weeks, worked my butt off, and got a B- in Microeconomics.
Now I can move on with my life both literally and figuratively.
I have since moved to Alpharetta, GA where I am living with an old college roommate and another pretty awesome dude. Sure, we may still spend our free time playing video games and discussing the upcoming football season just like we did in college, but we go to work. We get paid. We make a living, WITHOUT having to worry about textbooks, papers, & finals.
There will be plenty of things that I miss from college…the football games, the late-night hangouts at Steak & Shake, the ultimate frisbees, the Spring Breaks, the spontaneous nature everyone seems to live by…but I’m glad to be done. I’m glad to finally move on.
And so my life starts. I’m working two jobs and loving both of them. I mean, how many people can say that they love their job- much less TWO of them!
I bring with me the memories and lessons I learned from college, and I am eager to start my new life. I have no idea what God has in store for me, but I am thankfully in a place where I can sit here and just marvel at how blessed I am…
My family, my friends, my job, a roof over my head, and a car that…well a car that moves.
I am so blessed.
I don’t think I did anything to deserve all of this. My promise to God is to live the rest of my life trying to earn it.
Note: The following is a Facebook note that I wrote over a year ago for Valentines Day…
I think something that has been pressing my heart recently is the idea of unconditional love. We live in such a selfish world that loving someone has become all about the individual and our own desires, and not about sacrifice and lifting up the other person.
I’ve viewed many relationships from afar, internally analyzing the success (or lack thereof) of my friends and their love lives. Without question, the number one cause of success in my personal “study” on relationships is UNSELFISHNESS.
So many times I’ve seen relationships either fall apart or unhealthily struggle to stay alive, simply because of the rabid selfishness of both parties. A lot of times I’ve seen two people who are just terrible for each other, but they stay together for fear of being alone. They stay together because it’s just easier that way. No one gets their heart broken, and no one is alone…they can continue to fool around just for the sake of it, because it feels good to be wanted and to have someone.
I can’t tell you enough how unhealthy this is.
It’s selfish. They stay together because they temporarily quench their emotional desires, but in the overall picture they become miserable…all because they refuse to be alone. I have no doubt they care about each other deeply, but there comes a point in a relationship such as this when it isn’t enough.
When you care about yourself more than the other person, something is wrong there.
I’ve seen relationships fall to pieces because at least one party has so much baggage, that it begins to bring the other person down.
When your personal problems become their problems, something is wrong there.
So tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, I want everyone who is in a relationship to take this day to make it all about the other person. Go out of your way to forget yourself. Forget your past, forget your problems…forget YOUR desires.
Try it out. Do what THEY want. Do what makes THEM happy.
This is the way to live everyday…whether you’re in a relationship or not. How do I know? Because it’s how I’ve always tried to live my life.
(I stress the word tried)
We’re all selfish people. It’s in our nature to look out for number 1. There are guys, specifically in college, that view it all as a game. They see it as just a fun thing to do to get desires and lusts out of the way, though it’s all temporary. I’m sure there are girls who feel the same way.
Don’t see any part of life as a “game.” It’s full of real people, with real feelings. I guarantee you that life is more fulfilling when you live it unselfishly, building up others…ESPECIALLY your significant other.
Nice guys finish last? I hope so. If you’re constantly finishing first, you’re not a “nice guy.”
I’ll take my last place finish, thank you…as long as it means that the ones I love feel like they’re the winners.