This week we sit down with Josh Pulver who is the Camp Director Manager at Egan Camp and Retreat Center in Eastern Oklahoma. For more info about Egan check out: www.egancrc.org
A lot has happened in 16 years in our world since I walked across the stage and graduated as a Miami Wardog. Last week we asked Jake to write for us on the topic: 3 things I would tell my high school self. Zach and I felt that we should also look at this question. Zach will write his next week.
1st words of wisdom I would share to my High School Self: Don’t be Scared
Some of my moments of greatness over the last 16 years have come because I did not let fear take a hold of me. The first mission trip I would take, I had to fly on a plane something I was not too excited about especially not so long after 9/11. There have been a lot of cool things that I have been able to experience because I conquered fear that was attempting to stunt my growing. I have also let go of the fear of the other and have gotten to know people that I would have not encountered and get to know had I let that fear. Jesus dinner party with sinners in Mark 2:13-17 was the verse that pointed me in that direction.
2nd words of wisdom I would share to my High School Self:Do or Do not there is no try.
These wise words from Yoda have really motivated me in my life and ministry since I left high school.
3rd words of wisdom I would share to my High School Self: Kill Them With Kindness
This was a lesson I learned early on in my ministry. I wish I would have known that in High School. But killing my enemies with kindness has been a great lesson to learn and there have been times when my enemies then became my friends or best ministry partners.
What are some words of wisdom you would give your high school self?
About our writer: Rev. Matt Franks
My xbox gammer tag is rabbi franks, on Tuesday nights you will find me navigating Destiny because it is reset day. When I am not investing in my hobby of Beardcasting, I serve as Lead Pastor of FUMC Locust Grove (for a few more days). I also coach the Stars U8 Soccer team which our motto is 40 min. of chaos. I have a great wife Ashley who writes for us from time to time and two kids.
This week we sit down with Rev. Sarah Heath as she talks about her book What’s Your Story?: Seeing Your Life Through God’s Eyes
Find more of our Beardcast here.
I graduate from Seminary in May. It’s a strange thing being on the precipice of the end of my foreseeable future as a student and seeing a future that is not filled with homework assignments and sitting in a classroom, looking at a clock, counting down the time until you can leave. Nearing this crossroads of a major transition in my life, I have found myself looking both backwards at what you’ve accomplished and forward, to a future that is full of boundless opportunity.
Looking back, I can see the personal transformations that I have undertaken and continue to experience, especially in recent years as I feel I have undergone the most radical transformations since I left high school. In light of this, I have decided to write this letter to my high school self: three things my current self would tell my high school self in the hopes that you, too, might find some encouraging message within.
- Take School Seriously…But Not Too Seriously.
School is important. Your education is important: it lays the foundation for the rest of your life and, in my case, is a prerequisite for beginning the career I want to build. Doing well in school and making sure you do your work not only establishes good work habits during your formative years, but getting good grades allows you to continue on in your education to college and beyond.
School should not consume your life to the point that you never have any fun. Life is meant to be experienced and there are a whole lot of fun things that you can do instead of spending all of your time outside of a classroom with your nose buried in a book. Class time is a serious time for soaking up what the teachers want you to learn, but it’s OK to keep it a little bit light-hearted too. Enjoy it—you’re not a student forever.
- You Have to be Intentional About Your Friendships
I remember the summer between my high school graduation and the beginning of college and all of the pacts that were made that we would always keep in touch and my friendship with certain people would withstand the inevitable tests of time and distance…and those friendships faded over time. There were never any fights we just quit…talking. Now this is a two-way street, but for your friendships that you want to keep from your high school years, you need to be intentional about maintaining communication and finding time to get together for lunch or to simply hang out and enjoy being in each other’s presence. You spend a lot of time cultivating relationships throughout high school—it would be a shame to lose those because you quit finding time for each other.
- The Best You is the Real You
Far too many high schoolers spend way too much time trying to be someone they’re not for the sake of popularity or friends. I have news for you, though, that’s very difficult to maintain. Faking an interest in a band or sport, dressing in a fashionable sense where you look cool, but can’t breathe (I’m looking at you, skinny jeans), even picking up on the hip lexicon that all the cool kids are using, but you would be embarrassed to have your parents hear, can become toxic to the real you. Don’t be afraid to let the real you come out of its shell, to let the person God created you to be breathe and experience the world. I’ve found that the more authentic and up front I am about who I am, the easier it is to make friends and foster relationships that are built upon trust much more quickly. Plus, you don’t have the added burden of trying to juggle the masks that you keep in your back pocket depending upon who you’re with at a given moment.
So there you have it. Three things that I would tell my high school self which can be boiled down to this: Throw away the masks, make lots of friends, and enjoy life. There are many wonderful people and experiences to see and God did not mean for our lives to be miserable where we await the day that we might depart this world. So, close your computer screen, go call that person you’ve been meaning to check up on, and plan a get-together to catch up and continue strengthening your friendships.
Jake Tatarian is a soon-to-be seminary graduate and pastor currently living in Oklahoma City. He is a basketball and soccer fan, of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Brighton and Hove Albion, respectively. Jake does not follow baseball, but if pressed for a favorite team, and in keeping with the tradition of this site, he would say his favorite team is the Seattle Mariners.