It’s ‘just’ anxiety

On the Sunday before last I had a wonderful opportunity to preach at my church. Usually I only get this chance once a year but this last year I have now had the chance to do it twice. I’ve been working on my sermon for a few weeks and was really excited to deliver the finished piece. It all started normally enough but right in the middle of speaking on the sinlessness of Jesus, that’s when it hit me.

A horrible anxiety attack

Panic

My chest was tight, I had tingling in my hands, I was getting dizzy, I was breathing heavy, I could not drink enough water my mouth was so dry I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out, die or run but I knew I had to do something.

Just a week before that I was in the ER at the hospital just down the road, again, for similar symptoms. The ER thought I was well enough to send home.

See I get these panic attacks from time to time, I can go months, even years sometimes without having one and then I can have 2 or 3 in one day.

You’d think I’d have gotten used to them and I guess in a way I have but when you totally feel like death warmed over it is hard to convince yourself that what  you are fighting is all in your head.

Or as the Doctors like to say “Oh, it’s just anxiety”.

I was diagnosed as having Generalized Anxiety Disorder back in 2008, when I was 30 years old. You have to have chronic anxiety symptoms for over 6 months to be diagnosed I went an entire year.

I spent a couple years on medication and never really liked it. Since coming off drugs 4 years ago I’ve gone back and forth with the anxiety. SOme days, weeks, months are good and some not so much.

Lately my life has been in the not so much catagory.

I’ve had some major stress in my life, my dad got a diagnosis of kidney cancer and he had to have a kidney removed and well that sent me on the latest spiral.

Since my fears always center around my heart health(because I’m fat) I recently went to a cardiologist and was reassured that, once again, it was JUST anxiety.

You hear that a lot when you have anxiety as a mental disorder.

Oh you’re fine you’re just anxious

It’s just anxiety

It’s just your nerves it won’t kill you.

Yes they’re right to a point, panic attacks and generalized anxiety have yet to kill anyone but it’s still very flippant to dismiss the disorder as simply being just anxiety

It was just anxiety that led me to leaving my band a year ago. There were other reasons but the panic attacks and feelings of dread I was having due to the confrontations and stress that I was having in that band were making it difficult to function much les stay in the band.

It was just anxiety that has stopped me from working out as much and as hard as I once was, and let me tell you what I miss it I really do but when a mile walk gets you feeling dizzy it’s really hard to enjoy yourself.

It’s just anxiety that has stopped me from going out and doing things I used to love doing like seeing shows and doing karaoke.

It’s just anxiety that is making someone who has always ad a fairly active social life become much more of a homebody than I ever thought I’d be.

Anxiety disorders may not kill you but they will rob you of your joy. They’ll stop you from doing things you love to do, they will keep you at home, they will make you scared to death to take risks and chances. They hurt your mind, body and soul. I feel chronic pain of one kind or another every single day, the types of pain that a guy my age should not be feeling and I’ve been dealing witch that for the last 6, almost 7 years.

At least a couple times a week I get to feeling so dizzy and foggy headed I wonder if I am going to fall over. My life is changing and a lotm of it is because of the anxiety I deal with.

I keep waiting to get better, keep waiting for the day that will come that I’ll be able to do things I used to do and enjoy them without fear again but those days seem very far away. If I take medication I’m weak and I have to deal with ridiculous side effects but if I don’t than I have days when I feel pretty miserable and I spent a lot of my time wondering just what the hell is wrong with me.

My church, my wonderful church was so amazing and encouraging after I melted down in front of them last week. They have even told m that the sermon was good, but trust me it wasn’t. It was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had, I’d be surprised if they asked me to do it again.

My hope and prayer is that anxiety will just be something that I can grow out of. My fear is I never will and someday, sooner rather than later, it will make me be a shell of who God really wanted me to be.

Somewhere between what I hope and what I fear is the reality that life is going really fast and I feel like I’m being run over by it. That’s a but the best way to describe it.

The Autism problem

I find that I am not really proud of my autism nor am I ashamed of it. It is what it is I can no more be proud of ashamed of it as I can be proud or ashamed that my eyes are blue or that I am as tall as I am. To put too much stock in these things seems silly. Having said that though there are days I wsh I wasn’t autistic.

I’ve had a problem for most of my life, the problem is I don’t really feel like I am really living and by that what I mean is I don’t really feel like I am getting the most I can out of this life. I feel this way because of the way that anxiety has deeply affected how I approach life. I feel that if I didn’t have autism than I would not be as anxious as I am now. I could be wrong I suppose, I could have a brain that functions in typical ways and still have deeply rooted anxiety but sometimes I wonder if my brain would handle the anxiety differently.

I fixate on everything. Music, food, sex, God, status, money, death, everything. I can’t just causally think about something and then let it go I fixate on it to the point that it can drive me insane, but more than all the others the thing I fixate on the most is death. I fixate so much on death that most of the others things I do in life are done to try to fight the anxiety I feel about my own demise.

Last night I wrote a status on FB talking about my frustrations with my lack of weight loss lately. I admitted that when it came right down to it what I was really fighting was the fear that I was going to die from a heart attack, specifically it comes down to dying young from a heart attack. I feel as if I have family history nipping at my heels, my moms dad, my grandfather whom I never met, died when he was only 45 years old, by that time he had already had 3 heart attacks.

I just turned 36, every year on my birthday I say the same thing. I am one step closer to my goal of being an old fart. It’s tongue in cheek but it also comes from a place of fear, I really get scared sometimes that I will die before ‘my time’ whenever that might actually be. I want to live to be old but then again being old has it’s own list of issues. What I really want is immortality, to never have to go through the process of dying.

As I sit here typing this my back and chest feel tight, this is not a new sensation, it’s nothing that I haven’t felt dozens upon dozens of times before. It is something that has caused me to call EMTs and travel to emergency rooms before but because I have an understanding of what it is I sit here and just deal with it. I am not having a heart attack, yet the fear remains

I cannot remember a single day when the thought of whether or not I would die didn’t enter my mind. Seriously, as far back as I can remember, way back inm childhood at least once per day(but usuaully much much more) I have wondered if I was going to die that day. Sometimes I’ve actually felt as if I really was dying that very moment.

This is your brain

This is autism

This is your brain on autism

Any questions?

Yes, yes I have a question.

Could I have just one single day when I don’t feel as if my stupid autistic brain isn’t trying to beat me into submission? Can I have one day when I don’t worry as to whether or not I am going to die? Could I experience what life would be like if I didn’t have anxiety? If I just lived in the trust that my God has it all under his control no matter what I feel or experience? Just one stupid day where I don’t dance the dance of whether or not my symptoms are bad enough that I should go see a Dr or go to a hospital? It’s much easier to trust God when you aren’t scared for your very life? Could I have this without medicating myself? I am not even asking for my aches and pain to go away I’ll take them but can aches and pains please just be aches and pains and not send me into a proverbial tailspin?

So yeah I’m not proud of being an autistic person. I’m just a misfit who’s trying his best to get through life. SO far I’ve done ok but someday I’ll fail, I just hope it’s not today.

Tomorrow I’ll hope the exact same thing.

 

Whatever you do don’t do this…

Of course it happened, I knew it would, I’ve actually come to expect it.

My wife lost her job this week, this is the 3rd job that she has lost in the last year and a half. It’s horrible especially for her because of how it makes her feel about herself, but her losing her job isn’t the thing that I have come to expect to happen. No, it’s what always comes after, what always comes after any kind of crisis.

“Just remember to be strong.:

“Cheer up, God has a great plan for your life.”

“when God closes a door he opens a window”

“You should be thankful for what you DO have”

“You’re strong you can get through anything”

“God will never give you something you can’t handle”

Whoa…..

WHOA…..

Wait……… STOP!!!!!!!!!

Just STOP a second

We all have well meaning friends who, when they hear about something horrible happening in our lives, a lost job, a death, cancer, bills we can’t get paid, they begin spouting these little rays of sunshine at us.

It’s like advice but it’s not really advice… they’re meant to be encouraging but they leave you feeling anything but courageous.

If we’re really honest we’ve all probably said some of these things ourselves to others.

The intention are always good don’t get me wrong… But seriously, some of these sayings are just downright horrible, and false.

When I decided I wanted to write this post after seeing countless people say one or more of these cliches to my wife and myself I asked some of my Facebook friends to share some of the worst they’ve heard. The list is a sampling of some of the responses I got. I mean where do we begin?

“Just remember to be stong”, “You’re strong you can get through anything.” How bout we start with these? I mean in many cases this ight be technically correct, I know my wife is certainly strong she has weathered a lot through her years on earth but she is also discouraged. She has lost 3 jobs in a row in less than 2 years. Maybe reminding someone of their strength when they are hurting isn’t the best way to go about supporting someone.

“When God closes a door he opens a window.” What does this even mean? If a door is closed I’m supposed to find a window to crawl through? Perhaps I am not even supposed to visit that house. Sometimes horrible things happen and there are no open doors, open windows, heck there isn’t even a place to hide while tragedy bears down on you.

“God has a plan for your life.” While this is true, God has a plan for all of our lives when we state this we forget the free radical agent of sin and brokenness. Was it God’s plan for my brother to die all alone in a field? Was it God’s plan for one of my Facebook friends not be able to make her rent? Is it Gods plan for me to eat too much when stress gets the better of me? Now I believe that God will redeem all of the horrible things that happen but it’s just bad theology to say that it was all a part of God’s plan. It certainly doesn’t make anyone FEEL better. “I know you have lung cancer but don’t worry it’s all part of God’s plan.” “Well great, thanks for that God. Glad to know you love me so much as to afflict me with a horrible wasting disease.” It’s just wrong, stop saying it.

“God will never give you something you can’t handle”. I don’t even know where to start with this one. First of all IT’S NOT TRUE!! It’s not ion The Bible, go ahead go look I’ll wait here.

Can’t find it? That’s because it’s not there! The verse that you think says this is speaking about temptation. It’s 1 Corinthians 10:13   No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

That’s not about trials, it’s not about getting sick or losing your house or having someone you love die or losing your job it’s about resisting temptation. Every time I hear someone say this garbage I want to smack them upside the head with Young’s ANalytical Concordance..

So if all of these are horrible things to say how can we react to bad news?

Well for starters, don’t say anything. Listen. Hear(or read) everything the person has to say. Digest it, think about it, put yourself in their shoes.

If you do speak just start by telling the person that you’ve heard them, that you’re there for them. Be honest about your feelings, tell them that what they are going through sucks. Tell them you wish it would not happen.

you can try to get them talking more, ask open ended questions, clarify what they are feeling. “It sounds like you’re pretty overwhelmed” A few questions like this will help you to get to the root of the issue. ‘

Most importantly though pray. Pray with them but if they don’t want to pray than pray for them. The best thing that we can don for anyone who is in crisis mode is to bring them before God in prayer.

You’ll mess this up, we all will, but having a few tools in place can help you really be there for the people you love who are hurting. Mostly they want to know they’re not alone. Anyone can give them that assurance.

36 reasons why turning 36 is awesome.

Today is the final day of being 35 for me. This has been a crazy crazy year. I’ve released a CD, quit the band that I released the CD with, moved out of my parents house after having lived with them for 6 years, celebrated 5 years of being married and my wife and I decided that we were going to become foster parents.

It’s been a crazy good year, though not without it’s challenges.

I had a major generalized anxiety disorder episode right after we moved, I’ve had a chronic issue with my shoulder I also had some unexplained dizziness that made life pretty difficult,

Through all the triumphs and challenges though remains a feeling of blessing. I’m blessed, I am blessed beyond measure. To illustrate this, on the eve of my 36th birthday I figured I’s steal an idea I’ve seen other bloggers do and write down 36 reasons why turning 36 is awesome. I hope you are taking notes because there will be a test later.

First the big 5

1. God, It’s not quite correct to say that God is first on my list. It’s not a linear thing it’s more about orbit. God is the whole reason I am here and the only reason that I can put anything else on this list. Without him, without his love, his sacrifice on the cross, his discipleship I would not here much less be blessed. He owes me nothing and I owe him everything  and yet he truly has given me abundance

2. My wife: Corrie. My other half, my team mate, my best friend, my partner in crime, the cream to my coffee, the harmony to my melody, My teacher, student and study partner. I’m head over heels in love and lucky to have her by my side all of the time. It is an interesting challenge to be two autistic people in a marriage but it’s one made all the sweeter just because Corrie is who she is.

3 My family: My folks who have always been there, my in-laws who love me as if I was their own, My grandma, my aunts, uncles and cousins. My nieces and nephews. Some are here in town some are far away but whenever I get time with any of them it’s always as if no time has passed since the last time I saw him. I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have a family like mine and trust me it’s not something I take for granted.

4. My church: I’ve been going to The Village so long and we are small enough that they all feel like family now. We hang out more than just on Sundays, we find reasons to be together whenever we can. We laugh together, cry together, encourage (which literally means give courage to) each other and in all ways we live in community as God’s kids and family. I cannot imagine another group of misfits I’d rather travel life with.

5. My friends: Whether you’ve known me for 20 years or 2 months, whether we’ve met in real life or simply had online conversations, if you consider me a friend thank you. My friends have always been a source of strength for me, a light in the darkness that life can sometimes be and I will always be in debt to you. My phone is always on and my door is always open if you need anything at all and you know that.

Now lets have some fun. The rest of these are in no particular order.

6. coffee: this is self explanatory. GIve me a cup of hot coffee in the morning and life all just falls into place from there.

7. Netflix streaming: Seriously why did it take so long to come up with this technology, where have you been all my life. Did we ever binge watch TV shows before this?

8. Theology: From Bunyon to Bell, From Confessions to Calvins Commentaries I love to study the word. I love to dig into the text and find the stories within the stories.

9. Pizza: Again pretty self explanatory. The world’s perfect food. Give me a pepperoni pizza and I’ll be happy as a kid on Christmas.

10 Walking. It was a few years ago I took up walking seriously and now it is still my favorite way to exercise. Forget the treadmill give me the sky, the sun, the earth and I am good. Speaking of which…

11: Sabino Canyon: One of my favorite places to hike. If you have never been come to Tucson and check it out.

12: Turner Classic Movies. I don’t know what it is about an old movie but something about it makes you feel good inside and we are lucky to have a cable channel like TCM that has so many in it’s library.

13: Eegee’s. This is a Tucson staple, again if you have never been come to town and try it at least once. You will be as hooked as I am.

14: My wife’s cooking: Corrie is a foodie and the best part of that is that I get to sample all of her idea’s. My personal favorite is her baked ziti which she makes from scratch.

15. Karaoke: There is always going to be a part of me that loves singing on a stage, any stage.

16. playing the drums at church: This happened as a fluke but I am glad it did. One of the purest ways in which I worship God is through rhythm. It’s not my way of showing off it is just a way of telling Jesus thank you.

17. The Denver Broncos: Come on, it was only a matter of time that I brought them up right?

18: Tucson sunsets: No where else on earth are the sunsets are pretty as they are here.

19. Pillow talk: Those conversations you have with your spouse right before you drift off to sleep. Those are special.

20: Good beer: Lagers are my favorite but I also will go for a stout or a porter.

21. Massage: I suppose the one plus side to the aches and pains of aging is it’s a good excuse to treat yourself to a much needed massage. I wish everyone could afford to have one of these every month, they really do wonders.

22: Texas country: If you want to hear good country music that is also new it’s not in Nashville it’s in Texas. Here are some names to get you started, Stoney Larue, Aaron Watson, Jason Abbott Band, The Rankin Twins, Kasey Musgraves.

23. Settlers of Catan: Greatest board game ever

24. Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights edition. Greatest board game ever on steroids.

25. This song which is the greatest song ever.

26. Old school soul from the 60’s and 70’s: Nuff said.

27. Finally getting to the point in life where In don’t feel as if I have as much to prove, I can just relax and be me and live. It’s not a race or a contest, that’s pretty awesome when you can learn that.

28. Having a Dunkin Donuts near the house(see #1. Coffee)

29. Nico’s red chilli burrito: It’s hard to pinpoint why this is so good it just is.

30. My buddy Max: I dunno if guys like him and me are really supposed to be friends but we are. When we get together usually something hilarious ensues.

31: Pastor Eric: Paul to my Timothy, I will follow you as you follow Christ.

32. My counselor Jen: Jen is not only a good friend but she has served as my Christian Counselor. She has been a very important signpost pointing me back ot Jesus in areas where I was trying to fix things myself. She is a blessing not only to me but to many others.

33. Facebook. This goes along with my comments on friends but also beyond that. Facebook has helped me in so many ways to connect to other people. Connection can be hard for someone with autism but Facebook has made it easier.

34. My job and my boss: Perhaps I don’t have the most exciting job, I am not saving the world whenever I connect someone to admissions but it’s a job to do, one I’ve held for approaching 4 years and my boss Bren has been a great support to me as not only a friend but as an employee with disabilities.

35. Pima college: It took me a long time to decide to go back to school but since making that choice Pima has made learning and earning a degree a pretty fun adventure.

and finally

36. The future. I don’t know if the future is carved in stone or if we’re making it up as we go along but the process of discovery is fantastic either way. Whatever happens, good or bad, life is a sweet experience. I am into the 2nd act the plot is unfolding and character is being developed. This is the best part about life and I am blessed to be living it.

Thank you Jesus.

 

 

The moment when…..

*This is a true story but due to the nature of the accounts in this story I’ve changed names.

 

I can tell you the exact moment when my love affair with Jesus started.

It didn’t, strangely enough, start when I got saved at 12. I will admit that there was something in Jesus that I knew I needed and wanted but I don’t think salvation really took. I often ask myself the question as to whether or not I was really saved, I don’t know the answer to that question. I know my heart was in the right place and I know that I wanted nothing more than to be a Christian but I also know that I struggled with a lot of things in High School and well yeah my 20’s were spent in a fog of doubt, fear and anger. So I cannot honestly tell you whether I was ‘saved’ or not or even what being ‘saved’ really means.

The time I knew I needed Jesus happened not long after I decided to give faith another try. My friend and boss Beth gave me a book called Blue Like Jazz, it was a book I had heard of many times but it wasn’t something I was interested in reading when I first heard the title. That changed after some conversations with my wife and a few church visits. It’s weird because I don’t remember Beth ever bringing up the book I had actually been the one who asked about it and she just happened to have a copy of it. That’s how God works, through coincidences that are so convenient you slowly realize that there is no such thing as coincidence.

There is a ton of great stuff in that book but the thing that impacted me the most was the story he shared about a soldier. I don’t remember the specifics, what war it was or where, but a soldier broke into a prison where captives were being held and he came into a room and freed the prisoners there, he told them they were all free to go. Except that they didn’t. See these poor people were so terrified, so ravaged by the horrors they’ve experienced that they didn’t even get up off of the ground where they had been cowering in absolute fear. The soldier came back and again told them they were free but still they didn’t budge.

He could’ve left them right? I mean he had done his part, it was now their choice with what to do next, isn’t that how so many Christians treat salvation, once the gospel is presented the ball is in their court. If they choose to stay in the pit of their sin there is nothing more that can or should be done, God has already provided the way out and it’s up to us to take it.

What a lowly, sad, incomplete and downright disgusting view of grace.

That’s not what the soldier in the story did though. He comes back into the cell and he puts his guns down and then he gets down on the ground among these people. He kneels there with them in solidarity. He reaches his arms out and touches them gently and just kneels there with them until they can see that he is no enemy he is truly there to save them.

One of the most popular topics that people seem to ask me about, whether they are Christian or not, is my views on hell. It’s a topic that I admittedly have a hard time sharing my views, because they are not clear cut and they are not black and white. They are views which have been formed by my understanding of theology, and my own life experiences as someone who has rebelled and who has been woo’d back by a loving Christ.

I think there is some sort of hell, I think there are people there. I think there will be people there after this life. I don’t know where this hell is or who exactly will be there or how long the duration of that stay will be but I believe in it and I hope that no one experience it because it’s a terrible place.

Having said that I think that Jesus takes people out of hell all the time. I think that there are some aspects of hell that we experience in THIS life in much the same way that everyone regardless of their affiliation experiences what is called common grace. Common grace are the good things we experience in life, food, shelter, family, good times. But we also experience the ramifications of the fall. All of our bodies are perishing, the aches and pains we experience as we get older, our failing eyesight, colds and flus, make no mistake we are all slowly but surely dying. Some of us experience this in profound frighting ways.

I have a couple friends who I had a dialogue with this week. One is Rick and his father used to work for a church organization in the state they lived in. The other is Joseph and he is guy I knew in HS.

Rick’s dad was accused of horrible things, things he simply did not do. The accusations are so heinous that even though I’ve changed names I won’t repeat them. Because of the backlash of this Rick left the church and has lost his faith though he doesn’t really know how to label himself anymore.

Joseph grew up Mormon but he also grew up confused. He feels as if he is a woman trapped in a mans body and this has been absolute torture for him. To look in the mirror and not see who he believes that he is. Because of this he hates God because God has not fixed him either way and he has become a WIccan.

I guess this is where I differ from some Christians, I have no doubts of either Rick’s or Mitch’s place in the kingdom. Jesus isn’t standing outside of their prison cell with his exasperated hands in the air saying “Well I’ve set them free but they have decided to remain in prison, I can do no more”. No, like the soldier in the story he has come into the cell. He is sitting, kneeling, crying and suffering with my friends. When they are pissed at him he listens to their curses, he allows them to hit him if they feel the need, and when they are ready, and only when they are ready. He’ll take their hands and they will storm out of hell together.

How do I know this?

That’s exactly what he did with me, he allowed me to sit in my anger, my doubt and my fear for 10 years. Then when I was ready he led me into the sunshine of a life so abundant I could never imagine it, not even when I first got ‘saved’ when I was 12.

That’s why I want to be a pastor.

So I can be there to watch Jesus go into prisons. Prison of hate, of addiction, of anger, of grief and of ruin. See him get down on the level of these people that some would label as enemies. See him sit there in the midst of them and then watch them link hands and storm the gates of hell together.

I believe in Hell I just don’t believe it has a very good security system.

Safe within the ark

No matter your background, your past or current religious affiliation we all know the story of Noah’s Ark. Humans finally mess up to the point that God regrets making them so he sends rain onto the earth for a full 40 days destroying everything that he had made and killing everyone and everything in the process. Everyone except of course for one man and his family named Noah. God loves Noah because he walked his entire life with God, he treated God as if he were a close friend and when the rest of the world turned away he turned towards him and God rewarded him by giving him an escape plan from the coming destruction. He instructed him to build an ark that would save him, his family, and 2 of every ‘kind’ of animal. He gave specific instructions as to the dimensions of this ark and Noah followed the directions to a T. The rains came and Noah and his family survived because of the grace of Gods grace towards them.

We all know the story, did it actually happen? Who knows, I am not concerned about that, what I love is the truth found within the story. It’s a truth that I can hold onto even now. It’s a truth that before, when I heard the story as a kid I didn’t latch onto but now as a man with the history that I have I can.

The story is that life with God is much sweeter than life without, because no matter what happens in this life you’re always safe in the ark.

Now what exactly is that safety? Does that mean that life is always going to go my way? I don’t believe so, do you think life always went Noah’s way? Do you think that he felt safe following instructions from an invisible God that he couldn’t see? Building a boat while on lookers mocked him and laughed? The story says they stayed in that ark for over 100 days, I doubt that felt safe. No dry land, no food save for what they were able to gather before the floods came, I’d probably wonder if I’d end up dying on that ark.

Kind of like how life is when living with autism and an anxiety disorder

Life is not safe, I know this as well as anyone but there something beautiful that happens when you are safe within the ark of Christ. It doesn’t matter what happens.

For the last year I have dealt with one ailment after another. I’ve had unexplained dizziness, I have had chronic shoulder pain that comes goes but never fully goes away. I have had digestive issues and panic attacks and good ole fashioned generalized anxiety. I have had allergies so bad that it feels like I swallowed a golf ball. Some days are better than others but I don’t feel all that great. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been noticing knee and hip pain. less than 2 weeks before my 36th birthday and I feel as if I am literally falling apart.

But you know what? It doesn’t matter, because it is so much better than it used to be.

Back in my 20’s I didn’t feel like I had any major ailments. I was carrying 360 lbs on my bones, ate whatever I wanted to, drank whatever I wanted to, I gave into my every hedonistic desire and drank deeply from the cup of pleasure. It is probably because of some of the escapades that I am dealing with some of the things I am dealing with now. You can’t treat your body like a garbage disposal and expect it to hold out forever. But back in my 20’s I felt restless and fearful and disconnected and angry and unsafe. I felt like there was nothing to live for save pleasure, there was nothing real, there was only every individual moment. I had less pain but more angst.

If I had to choose between living free of pain but also free of God or the life I have right now with the ailments I’m dealing with but also with the peace of knowing God I’d choose this life every single time. It doesn’t even compare. It doesn’t matter what happens, I could lose my house, my job, life could fall apart all around me, I could even drop dead but it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter

I am safe within the ark

Jesus will see me through every trial, right on through till he calls me home.

Nothing that this world could offer me compares.

Becoming (in)significant

I want to be someone

I haven’t always wanted this, it’s not a longing I was born with in fact when I was small all I wanted to be was me. I did what I did because I loved it not because of who I would become because I was doing it.

But as I got older and I became more aware of the cruelness of the world, and I became a product of the cruelness of this world I developed a demand that I become someone, and by someone I mean someone of significance

I want to be someone that you talk about

I want you to be envious of the life I lead

I want you to want to be me

I want a story that is compelling, I want for the whole damn world to look on me with awe and wonder. It’s ok that my life has had pain and suffering as long as that pain and suffering is redeemed by me become famous.

It never mattered what it was I became famous for, as long as I was the one that received the adoration of the world.

So I chased after various degrees of significance for most of my life. Radio, acting, music, as long as it made me the center of attention, as long as it let me feel what it feels like to be significant than I was happy.

But here’s the problem, and this is why this blog post is nothing more than a confession, I wanted this because I didn’t like who I was.

I don’t like me very much, I often wondered why I should, no one else seemed to. So if I could make myself someone that was loved by everyone then maybe I copuld learn to love myself too. If everyone else changed their opinion of me bnecause of how great I became than I figured that my own opinion would change too.

Do you see the faultiness of these arguments? I do now but I didn’t for a long time.

See I had an interesting conversation with my pastors wife last night at church. She told me that the one thing that she wanted to be was anything but a pastors wife, and that was the very identity that God had invited her into.

That resonated with me because the one thing that I wanted to be was something, or to put it another way, I wanted to be anything other than nothing.

Yet Jesus has invited me into nothingness, into insignificance.

Into the identity of this life not being about me, who I am, what I’m about but instead, who He is, what He has done.

I am no one

nothing

insignificant

without Him

If I try to tell my story without talking about how He redeemed me, how He was there when I suffered the psychological blows of being bullied than my story will not end well.

But if I tell the story and I focus it not on myself but on Jesus than it’s a story that is not only significant but it is a story that never ends.

It’s uncomfortable sometimes because I am still a sinful human living in a broken world. I’m in flux, and there is a part of my being that still wants you to applaud me

 

Perhaps that’s why I’m even bothering to write this post, I don’t know

But more and more, day by day, what I long for the most isn’t significance it’s love

it’s peace

and you’ll never experience those things while you spend your life chasing applause

So the more this world tries to convince me that it’s all about me, the more they tell me how important my self esteem is and how I’m the only one who can achieve the greatness that can be mine if only I take hold of it. The more I’ll step away from the spotlight, into the shadows, towards Jesus, who made himself nothing so that he might be glorified as the worlds rightful king.

 

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