Part three…this is the third of a three-part post about the last six months and what happens next. Part one was about something that happened six months ago…a suicide plan, hospitalization, self-care, a new job opportunity, a job loss, and some clarity. Part two was about my experience in the church. Part three…well, let’s just call it “Where Now?”

Here’s a summary of where I am:
• Less than three months from my 50th birthday
• Retired (well, kinda…)
• Part-time college student

But it’s not this easy.

I’ve always had a job. I’ve always had to balance everything else in my life with it. Now, a month into “retirement”, I don’t have to get up and go somewhere I really don’t want to go. Don’t get me wrong…I made many friendships during my 31 years in banking. My career had its rewarding moments, and going forward, I need to look back solely on those. Otherwise, I will drive myself totally crazy.

My career required me to be social, even when I really didn’t want to be. It taught me to find solutions to problems, even when they weren’t my problems. I learned to be open and honest with people, even though honesty isn’t what we always want to hear. But most of all, toward the end, even though it was very painful, my career taught me that what I do is not the definition of who I am.

So in parts one and two, I alluded to part three giving a look at what is next for me.

I have a one-word answer: JESUS

There is just one word because He is the Word.

It’s not Jesus + me
It’s not Jesus + the church
It’s not Jesus + the church + me

It is just Jesus.

You know why? I’ll give you just one example, Matthew 14:30 & 31:

but when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

This passage is me. My faith is small. I doubt God, day in and day out. But He shows me that He is real.

This might sound very silly to many, but John 13:34 and 35 is how God shows Himself to me:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: “just as I have loved you, you are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The people that I interact with online who have become real friends are the prime example. This is unexpected, but welcome, and life-giving. Discussing happiness, sadness, anger, depression, and many other things is not something I figured I would ever do. I had really hoped to be a recluse by now.

My life’s goal was to withdraw, not to get a Bachelor’s in Religion…but Jesus. After I am done with that, whatever doors open will be next. I’m certain it will probably be what I least expect. Again, Jesus. It may happen in my current denomination, or He may lead me elsewhere. Jesus.

This is the first of a three-part post about the last six months and what happens next. I will be very frank. I have had…I have…and I will continue to have a consistent struggle with my own worth. Each day is a struggle as I fight within myself; see things going on all around that I want to fix but can’t; and trying to understand the ability to love that I have been given. Essentially, I do not think my life is all that great, and I often spend enjoyable times waiting for the let-down. But God gave me some writing ability, and a story to tell. I hope in the end, you will see that I am still a blind beggar, and what He did, not what I do.

September 22, 2018

Six months ago, I got help.

The day before, I had made a decision to end my life. When I went to get the gun, it wasn’t there. Stacy had hidden it. To this day, I still don’t know where she put it, and for that I am thankful.

Stacy talked to Kris, and together we all decided to contact crisis. I couldn’t believe I was doing this…you know, I should be standing on my own two feet. Be a man. But really, I didn’t give a fuck about anything.

I spent five days in the mental health unit. I wasn’t allowed to wear my shoes or my belt. I felt like I was being treated like a child and was seething with anger at first. At the end of those days, however, I realized something. I had not been taking care of myself.

Even though I’d noticed a shift in my moods prior to this point, I did my best to hide what I knew. To hope that no one noticed. I drank to numb the pain, and then dealt with the additional pain with either more alcohol, Xanax, or a combo of the two. I thought of that gun often. I wrote a suicide note and my obituary, and self-medicated more. I made the plan. I have thought of suicide for most of my adult life, but never made a plan…until now.

Then, an event happened. I’m not assigning blame…I’m fully responsible for my own getting in trouble at work. I really didn’t care. I wasn’t pulling my weight, I knew it, and I truly did not care. I hated it there and wanted out in the worst way, but that’s not an excuse to not do my job. But being in trouble meant everyone probably knew what I had failed to do, and knew I was a total loser.

Five days in the hospital, new meds, counseling, and psychiatry helped. I got back to life and felt great. I realized that I had to continue to practice self-care if I didn’t want to get right back to where I had been, so I have done that. For the most part, I still feel great.

I tried approaching my job with a new viewpoint, but I continued to let happenings knock me down. I continued to refine my hatred for the organization, and I let my perception of how they viewed me eat away at me.

Then, an opportunity came about. A new job, title, and income. I left the old and began the new. Loved it. Thought it was going really well. Things had never been better. But then the rug was pulled out from under me. Let go because I wasn’t a “good fit” for the culture.

It took me a weekend to figure out what had happened. In that weekend, I lashed out at God, my family, my pastor…spent the weekend either drunk or asleep. Then Monday happened. Normally, Monday is Monday. But for the first time in my adult life, I had nowhere to get up and go on Monday. This Monday was enlightening; a God moment, if you will.

…to be continued

I get to call this man my brother. Just a little over a year ago, our paths crossed at Here We Still Stand in San Diego.

Ryan says “I have known people who have made dozens of decisions to follow Christ”. I am one of them; I “got saved” at least 50 times during my teen years, and by the time I reached adulthood, I pretty well figured I was goin’ ta hell…

Read on as my brother brings the Good News.

The axiom, “all roads lead to heaven” is weighed and found wanting at the foot of the cross, where heaven and earth converge in the last place we’d expect. However, we might say (although with less certainty) that, “all roads lead to assurance”. In whatever flavor of Christianity or confession of faith one might find […]

via How Do I Know I’m Saved? — Ryan Couch

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”   –  Hosea 1:2, ESV

Whoredom. Such a thing should not be spoken of in church. After all, our ears and hearts are pure, right?

Wrong. Tonight, at The Beggar’s Bread, we watched my friend Erick Sorensen unpack the story contained in this often ignored book of the Old Testament, and relate it to how we approach others in the modern day. The absurdity of Hosea…

The Absurdity of Hosea: Erick Sorensen
by 1517 on Vimeo
© Christ Hold Fast 2018

 

Am I my brother’s keeper?

I believe so. No, I can’t save him, but I can show him the cross.

Showing him the cross does not mean you fix it all. It means you point him to the one who does. Jesus.

But don’t promise instantaneous results. We’re all a work in progress.

Walk with him in the good times, and in the bad.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

John 21:15-19, ESV