As many of you know, I’m a retired frat boy. Each year during rush (“rush” is when all the freshmen and aspiring frat boys would visit the house, and we’d judge them based on their appearances and personalities), part of the voting process was to mention a positive about each candidate, along with a negative. You weren’t allowed to mention a negative without a positive. I guess it was our way of seeming fair, even though we all know it isn’t fair.
Anyway, I’m about to share 5 of my imperfections with you…things I’ve never shared with anyone. But I don’t want you to get the impression that it’s all negative. So…for every negative, I will follow up with a positive, just so you get the full picture here:
1) I’m a wreck.
It’s comical how many messages I get on Instagram saying, “Dude! I love your vision! It must be so great to have your life!” LOL. While I always respond with gratitude, here’s what I’m saying in my head: “Dude. You don’t know me at all. I have zero clarity about my life. It feels like God invited me on a field trip, and then made the school bus disappear. My self-confidence is below sea level, my fears hold me at gunpoint, it takes 30 seconds to realize where I am each morning, and it feels like everyone is just watching me suffer. Being a persecuted Christian is hard, and staying sober is hard, too. Try this for a week, and then message me about how awesome it is.”
The Positive: I know that the testing of my faith develops perseverance. I know I’m being refined in the fire of the Holy Spirit. I know He has blessed me beyond measure. And I know that through it all, He is with me. God is my rock. I will cling to Him, because I know His love remains.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you." – Deuteronomy 31:8
2) I’m so lonely.
There’s a huge void in my life – a black hole that gets deeper with each passing day. It isn’t the spiritual void I used to have. It’s more like a natural void. A perpetual yearning for a life partner. A beautiful woman to share my life with. Someone to share these crappy things with, someone to laugh at myself with, and someone to encourage me with more than words. Someone to provide for. Someone to teach me how to stop being so damn selfish and sensitive. Someone to hold me accountable in my spiritual life. Someone I feel comfortable holding hands and praying with. Someone to annoy. Someone to wake up with. Someone to love.
I let people in, and then I find a reason to withdraw and push them away. I don’t do it on purpose. It’s just what I do.
The Positive: I have a daily walk with the Lord. His presence consumes me when I seek Him. In Him I find my rest. <But I still can’t make out with God. That’d be weird.>
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” - Psalm 147:3
3) I still contemplate suicide every day.
Yeah. There’s no delicate way to say it. Not a day goes by where the thought doesn’t cross my mind. It’s usually just a thought – the kind that just skips through the evil half of my brain and kicks the inside of my skull just enough to remind me of the darkness that is reality. If I wasn’t so scared of hell, I would’ve already done it.
The Positive: I know in my heart that life is worth it. I still vividly recall September 29th, 2014 when God literally picked me up and told me I belong here. Though I clearly don’t realize my value, I know that God does. I couldn’t possibly withstand an eternity of knowing I didn’t do my best. I have to keep going. With a smile.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” - Romans 12:12
4) People still bother me a lot.
This one’s tough. I do love people, and I care deeply about helping others find freedom from addiction. But…I’m still human, and there are many things that still get under my skin. I’m sick of people saying they “enjoy watching my journey”. That makes me feel like a polar bear in the zoo that you’re just silently observing. I’m asking for help every day, but you’re just sitting there with your popcorn, telling me how much you enjoy the show.
People have literally messaged me saying, “I wish I had the means to help you.” And the next day I see them in Jamaica or having cocktails with friends. We live in a culture that just keeps scrolling. People see my cool pictures on Instagram, hit the little heart, and they keep scrolling. They don’t pause to read the cry for help. Some do. And they keep scrolling, too. We’ve lost our sense of humanity. And I’m guilty of it, too.
The Positive: A crap ton of you have actually helped. I don’t mean just money. People have given me places to stay, people have connected me with their churches, people have encouraged me with kind words, and people have lifted me up in prayer. Through it all, I’ve learned that plenty of good people still exist in the world. When I focus on the good, good things happen. I always have something to give.
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” – Luke 6:30
5) I’m wildly selfish and inconsiderate.
Sometimes I don’t want to help people. That’s just the real, honest truth. Sometimes I don’t like waking up to Instagram messages laced with problems and despair. It’s draining. There are no days off, and I have to work extremely hard to keep my heart in the right place, so that my advice can be trusted. Sometimes I have to ignore messages until I have the energy to pour into them. I get angry, and I often catch myself thinking, “Do they think I have nothing better to do? Stop dumping your problems on me. I didn’t ask for your problems.” I hate that about myself. I wish my heart was always that of a servant and I wish my spirit was always considerate of others. I get so focused on MY mission, that I completely lose sight of the fact that it’s totally not about me. And that’s messed up.
The Positive: I’m aware of where I fall short, and I do make a daily effort to improve. I’ll never be perfect, and I’ve learned to be ok with that. It’s just another reason to stay deeply rooted in my faith and continually ask God to help my imperfections. My faults are becoming my greatest assets, because they increase my faith.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” - Philippians 2:3-4