In June of this year I was asked if I would be interested in interviewing for the position of division leader for men’s small groups at my church. At first this kind of caught me off guard. I currently lead our recovery ministry at church and the thought of doing something outside of that had never crossed my mind. After praying over and talking about this possibility with my wife and a couple of close friends I decided to put my hat in the ring not knowing what I had really got myself into.
Over the last couple of months I think I have gone through one of the toughest growing experiences in my life. It seemed as if the devil and his minions came knocking as soon as I said yes to the opportunity.
Let me give you a little back story before I continue on. Tomorrow being September 2, 2009 I am leaving my full-time job as a Meter Reader for the City of Chino Hills, Ca. and starting at California Baptist University as an Applied Theology major on scholarship. While Meter Reader might not sound like the most prominent position in the city it is a secure job with a retirement plan, full health benefits, and good pay.
As I began telling people about my plans to leave my job at the city so that I could go to school full time all I got was positive feed back, even from non-Christians. In my mind all I could think was, “Are you people nuts, do you realize what I am saying?”
I have spent so many nights tossing and turning trying to figure out how we were going to live, I mean I was walking away from our only source of income. Our only source of money was going to be coming from my GI Bill and with that alone the figures just didn’t add up.
With all this fear and doubt going on it didn’t take to long for temptation to set in and I began to fall into old behaviors. I started to isolate instead of trying to connect with my wife or other people when I felt tempted or when doubt would set in. My mind was filled with all kinds of crazy thoughts like, “your just a porn addict no one will ever trust you.”
Psalm 119:9-11 is the first piece of scripture I memorized when I got into recovery for my porn addiction it says, “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you — don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
This scripture has been so helpful for me during this whole process. There has been so many times in the past couple of months that I have been tempted to walk away from my purity and run back with open arms to my porn habit. Porn never had any expectations of me, it never held me accountable it was my escape, it was my way to cope with stressful situations. So, naturally as stressful as the last couple of months have been it as if I can hear my past porn addiction calling me and saying, “Hey remember me? I can relieve your stress.” It’s not the looking at porn I struggle with now it’s the thoughts and misconceptions of escape I struggle with. In my past I constantly would check out of life and into porn when life got stressful but now I know that’s not possible but not only that it is destructive and will destroy any ounce of success I currently have in life.
Like I mentioned in my last blog I have spent most of my life as a successful failure and I think that has developed a mind set in me that causes me to self destruct in the face of success. Success to me means a greater level of responsibility and accountability basically; people are going to have higher levels of expectations about me. Having the mind set of a successful failure makes doing the bare minimum in life to get by the standard and doing anything above that a painful obligation.
So sitting here today being faced with future academic expectations that I will have to meet, and also having to step up and help lead men into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ through small groups, it’s no wonder the last few months have been as tough as they have been. People have great expectations of me and what’s scary is that they believe I can accomplish them. Now, I have to live up to those expectations but my fear is that I will let them down. I know if I try to do this on my own I will fail but if I submit to God’s will all things are possible.
God has truly had His hands all over this situation and has made it known to me in so many different ways that this is what He wants me to do. I’ve gone through periods in my life contemplating suicide because of the fear of my porn habit being discovered but like it say’s in the Bible, God uses or weaknesses as our strength’s. The last thing I ever wanted anybody to find out about was my addiction to porn and phone sex but because of this past I have a story about what a loving God we have and by accepting His Son as our Savior we can be forgiven.
Rob Bell in one of his Nooma videos talks about God and how when we surrender our lives to follow His will Rob says it’s as if God says, “are you ready to be you, cause we’ve got a lot of work to do.” After I got the phone call today that I got the division leader job at church and with school starting on this Thursday it’s as if I can hear God saying this to me.
The funny thing about the whole situation is I have been so worried about money and after looking at the figures I will be bringing in the exact same amount of money almost to the penny. “My yoke is light and my burdens are easy.” Sometimes the verses we think we know all to well become almost unfamiliar when applying them to our daily lives’ becomes necessary.