Thursday, November 19, 2015

8 months sober - Lean not on your own understanding

Me most likely at my heaviest ever (with Son Brennan) 2008,? before Christ

 I got my start as a field technician in Schenectady and was there from 2010 to 2012. Since then I have been garaging in Albany.  Today I was working and had the occasion to go to my old Garage in Schenectady. While I was there I saw a few old work buddies and exchanged pleasantries.  At the end of the day one of the techs I garage with said that some of the guys in Schenectady were asking him who "that tech" was.  He explained that it was me and that I had lost weight.  They told him that they didn't even recognize me.  I  am not surprised, You see I am a new creation
Me Halloween 2015 MS 5k, after Christ

I was born again in 2010 and basked in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ but was still under the power of alcohol. I would even get drunk and rejoice at the power of Christ to save me because I knew that I was not good enough to save myself by a long shot.  I was so in love with God that I dove into the Bible, found a born again church,  and tried to learn more and more about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I went to church Sundays and Wednesday nights to learn about and worship the Lord.  I even joined the Bible College Rock Solid offers on Tuesday Nights. I eventually became an usher and then I manned the audio-visual duties on the worship team.  Even though I was committed to serve Christ and know Him more, I would give into my dark desires for lust and alcohol.  I was deeply convicted when I would read the Bible that I was not living a fully Christian life but I thought that giving up my evil ways was just impossible.  My thought life was filled with obsessive thoughts about the past and preoccupied with finding release through euphoric experiences.

Even though I had my dark secrets, I was still committed to follow Christ so I kept pursuing Him in Bible Study, worship and prayer.  This spring at church, Bob Costello announced that the Church was starting a 12 step program that was Christ based called Celebrate Recovery (now Celebrate Freedom).  I remember working the A.V. at the back of the church and feeling that this program was for me. I had the conviction that not only would it be appropriate for my issues but I sort of had a fatalistic feeling like "as if it were meant to be" vibe. So I was in.  I worked the program successfully and I have given my personal testimony more than once.  I am over 8 months sober so I shared it again tonight,   I also led the group in singing two worship songs, playing my guitar!

Anyway, tonight's discussion question was: How has relying on "your own understanding" caused problems in your life? Be specific.

I shared : You know as you grow older you try to make sense of the world and you try to discover what is going to make me happy?  You think that if you meet someone fall in love and get married you will be happy. Or you think if you get a good job, or a house, or a car, or have kids that you will feel as if you have arrived. But I can tell you that I got the house, the  wife, the kids, the cars, the swimming pool, but I was still lost. The American dream didn't mean much when my son died.  Material possessions are meaningless when death comes calling.  Disillusioned and discontented with the world system I chased after euphoric experiences, sex, meditation, and intoxication because my understanding was that "feeling good was good enough".   So I would be the best worker and father I could be but when the kids went to bed it was "me time".  I even took up Buddhism for 5 years trying to gain understanding and wisdom of how to control the suffering in my world.  So years passed with the cycle of pain and intoxication.

Thankfully God pulled me out of it. He called me and I went to Him.  It took me 4 years to surrender the alcohol to Him but now that I have my thought life is virtually free of the temptations I used to be assailed by. I earned my Associates Degree in Biblical Studies and am currently working on my Bachelors.   I am going on a mission trip to Africa in February. I don't know what God's plan is for my life but I will try to follow His will for my life instead of my own.  So I found freedom in surrender.  I am done following my understanding.

The Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  

People may think I have gone off the deep end when it comes to Jesus but I know my experience and my relationship with Christ.  It is not pie in the sky. It is not wishful thinking.  It is a life changing reality. I never could conceive of a place where alcohol wasn't in my life. I had tried to use moderation and every other method to control it in my life. Nothing worked.  I surrendered my will to Christ and now I am free. I am becoming the man that God intended me to be because of the Holy Spirit that lives in me,

If you are helpless in an area of your life or just know that the world doesn't satisfy, surrender yourself to Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "  

If one word of this inspires even one person to establish or deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, angels in heaven will rejoice. Holy Spirit bless those who see this and work in their lives like you are working in mine.  Amen.

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