First and foremost, Merry Christmas to you my friends! Anyone clicking on a link to read my blog, I honestly consider a friend. In this, what is often, a cold and lonely world to know someone cares enough to listen to what you have to say is no small thing. Even though we are all interconnected as human beings on this earth and we may be surrounded by friends and family, we may seldom speak about what we really feel or think. So if you just stumbled upon this blog, are an old friend, or just want to see what I say next, thanks for checking in and I hope your Christmas was as peaceful and bright as mine was today.
My last blog post was entitled uncertain times. I wanted to blog during the last 24 days since I last posted but I was surrounded by rumors and speculation of where I would be going and what I would be doing. If I had posted all my thoughts and anxiety during the last couple of weeks, you would have thought I was caught up in the heights of political intrigue or on the verge of a mental collapse. On the surface it was all business as usual but when you are going through a change it can cause you to worry and wonder. Add to it the stress of preparing for Christmas, finishing classes for the semester, maintaining sobriety, and the pondering of questions of faith and purpose, and you can see where my mental dialogue may have been a little chatty and chaotic. On the outside, I was all: “Whatever will be, will be.” “It’ll be fine.”
And you know what? It was fine.
I now report to the Schenectady garage as a construction tech. I took the truck I had been driving in Albany with me. I am more suited for construction work so I am happy with this although I would have preferred to stay in Albany.
So there you go. My employment situation spelled out in three simple sentences. The content of those sentences could have been different but no matter what those sentences said about my job, I was going to have to be fine with them. I get good pay and benefits. I have a family to help support and leaving the company doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now. So whether it worked out to my liking or not, I was still going to have to go in. That can be a distasteful reality to accept but even in my most paranoid and anxiety riddled moments, I was able to maintain my composure (never let ‘em see you sweat, right?) because of my study of the Bible and my relationship with Jesus Christ.
During this time of contemplation, I grabbed hold of verses like:
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ”
Genesis 28:15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
I constantly reminded myself that wherever I went God was going with me. I wasn’t alone and I never will be alone again.
At one point, I had received some less than favorable news about my reporting assignment, to which my colleagues were outraged by the news but were more perplexed by my seemingly docile acceptance of my less than favorable fate. They expected an emotional outburst of anger I think but as a Christian I have been taught:
That I am to be obedient to authority:
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
That I am to be content:
Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
That I am to be slow to anger:
James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Like I said above, regardless of what decision was going to be made about my job, I was going to have to live with it. So I didn’t get angry because, for all I knew, this “bad” report was the final report. I was going to have to be obedient and content with it so I thought it best to wait and see if this report would be final, knowing that it very well could be.
Even in the midst of possibly an unfavorable outcome, I had some peace knowing that I would do my best and that God was with me. To be honest though I did pray for a change in circumstance and things have seemed to work out fine.
One thing I learned during this time is that there is not going to be a time when things aren’t uncertain. I figured I shouldn’t speculate about what maybe and to wait until a decision was made before I wrote. However, I realize now that as temporary beings on this earth we are not promised tomorrow and we don’t know what the next day brings. To live in fear is not to live. A runner runs. A writer writes. To change what you’re doing on a daily basis because of some distant “what if” is not being true to yourself.
I really wanted to write during this period but didn’t want to give power to my anxiety by giving a voice to them. However, what I should have done was voiced my fears and remedied them with the word of God.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
So going forward, if I want to write I’m going to write. To be honest, it’s therapeutic. It didn’t feel good to not tell my story. You see because it’s not just my story anymore. I have the Holy Spirit living within me and my testimony is a testimony of the power, grace and love that I have come to know through my experience with Him. When I fail to tell of what He has done for me, I am not giving the proper honor and glory that God deserves.
Oh, first sober Christmas in 25 years is in the books! Sober for over 9 months. I exercise, pray, and read the Bible daily. This is all possible only through the power of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in my life.
I am moved to tears of joy in contemplation of all the Lord has done in my life and especially in consideration of the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, during this Christmas season. I encourage all who read this to seek God and make Him a significant part of your life with honor and service.