The Mess Of A Normal Life – Part 2
Our story is not outstanding in the way that some testimonies are. Because we were relatively “normal” we allowed ourselves to believe the lie of spiritual safety in numbers. If we looked like everyone else, then we must be okay. God has shown us, by His great faithfulness, that our actions were truly taking us about as far away from Him as possible. With each choice we made for ourselves, it was also a choice to say no to Jesus, and the effect was our own destruction.
I am broken and foolish, convinced of my own ability and proud of what I can do on my own. I grew up in a home filled with love and laughter. My parents are people who lived out their faith daily. Their wholehearted following of Christ meant that my childhood was different; Jesus was presented as the core of the Gospel, and I always knew that no matter what if I chose Him, I would be forgiven. I decided to follow Christ at a very young age and was baptized when I was 11. I was homeschooled, the oldest of 6, had several dozen different foster siblings and finally adopted my youngest brother and sister when I was 12. As I grew older, God became a feather in my cap. I twisted that knowledge of the Gospel into a backup plan; someday, no matter what, God will take me back. But right now, I’m choosing to do what I want. I knew who He said He was, I knew the Bible stories, I could win those silly races to be the first to open my bible to a verse. I became adept at putting on a mask, giving in to the idea that I was the one who knew what I needed; for my parents, I was the oldest, responsible, and I had the answers to their questions about whether I was practicing their faith. All the while I was finding ways to make decisions that I wanted to make because they made me feel like I was in control.
I graduated high school with no desire to attend college classes, and despite enrolling to appease my parents, I was quickly expelled because of my (lacking) attendance. I blamed my boss for working 60 hours a week, I blamed my friends for introducing me to pornography, I blamed my girlfriends for coercing me into promiscuity, and I blamed my parents for my growing alcoholism and out of control spending. Taking control back from my spiraling choices meant a change of scenery and I moved to Tulsa in 2005 for a “fresh start”. However, not only did my choices not change but they continued to snowball; lying, sexual sin, drunkenness were all pillars of who I really was. All the while continuing to pretend to anyone who would listen that I was still the man that went to church, and I knew who God was. Mark 7:21-23 “For it is from within, out of person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Jesus spoke those words to the disciples, and they pierce my heart now, knowing the truth that my sin originates in me. At the time, however, I was happy to blame everyone else for my choices. Assigning blame to “Satan” gave me back the control over my good choices and a way to excuse my choices to give in to sin. When I met my wife in 2007 I was still pretending to be a Christian; I was choosing to go to church, serve at Young Life, take kids on retreats in the summers, worship at my parents’ home church occasionally but all without ever involving my heart.
Next week, you’ll hear about our life together.