I drove downtown today for a meeting regarding an upcoming event I am helping out at. Each year for the past several I have been asked to take part in this event. As I drove, I recalled where I was back then as I was driving to that same place I was today.
Last year was a wash.
Reflecting back on where I was a year ago, I recalled a picture or a “selfie” I posted of myself on Instagram 53 weeks ago.
Last year was the most difficult and depressing year of my life. From great opportunities, a brutal accident in a foreign land, to a numbness to life I had never seen, I should have seen it coming a mile away.
For years, there was always something about my 42nd year, I just couldn’t figure out what.
In retrospect, I figured it out. If I could come out of that year with anything in tact at all, it would be a victory. What started out as one of the most promising years since my time in the corporate world, ended with just the shirt on my back.
My 42nd year would be the year I began my journey to find my self, but sadly, I first lost myself.
Judging by this picture, I count myself blessed that I was ever found. Try as I might to be lost, I remember thinking at one point in my darkest of hours… someone is praying for me. They must be. I don’t know why, but they are.
53 weeks ago, I was at the lowest point of my life and no one knew it. ..except for perhaps the one who was praying, and those closest to me.
Weighed down by approval addiction, a hardened heart, disappointments, depression, and a whole slough of things dating back to my childhood, it still amazes me how I could still function. Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t have.
I was always this guy on the outside who people thought I had it all together, was constantly encouraging everyone, and used my voice for causes.
The fact is, I was miserable on the inside. I had a low self esteem. I needed to feel wanted and approved just to breathe. I would proactively respond to others in conversation always assuming they were thinking the worst of me. I felt the need to prove myself over and over again.
What a miserable person I must have been to those who loved me most.
I was trapped within myself with seemingly no way out. It was a classic case of recidivism that I never thought could be broken. Just to get me feeling up, I had to get jacked up by anybody willing to play to my ego.
What a critical spirit I had, too.
And yet, I sat there in my own darkness. It was paralysis from analysis.
But someone was praying. Someone never quit praying. Someone was willing to be hurt over and over and over again to see me found.
Though it has now been nearly 10 months since my breakthrough began, in just typing that last sentence, I see the magnitude and depths of those who love me most and what they were willing to endure to pray me through, forgive me through, and unconditionally (though I did not deserve it) love me through.
Life is not difficult, it’s just hard is something a dear friend of mine once said. And as I have written previously on this blog, I have spent the betterment of the past 10 months working out my life.
What I see in this picture is the opposite of life. I see 42 years of barnacle that nearly sucked the life out of me. I see baggage from an entire lifetime that I was never meant to carry being carried. I see the weight of my bad choices, decisions, words, thoughts, actions, selfishness, pride, and the list goes on and on and on. I see it all in this picture.
A friend of mine once asked me if I had truly understood how much Jesus loved me and if I had ever truly accepted it. I was appalled.
Looking at this picture, he was right. How could anyone who ever accepted the Love of Jesus into their heart look like this, carried all of this, and acted like this?
My friends, whoever you may be who discovers this blog page of mine written in pen name, take a good look at this picture. This is what the apparently dead look like.
If blessing follows obedience than this picture reflects death follows the wages of sin, worry, depression, and everything else we let into our lives that is the opposite of God and Christ Jesus.
53 weeks later and this picture disgusts me. It scares me. It awakens me. And it inspires me to never, and I mean ever go there again.
Freedom does not look like this. The apparently dead does. The question now is, do you want to be alive or apparently dead?
I gave death a shot in the name of being alive. Now, I just want to be alive in the name of defeating death.
Have I arrived yet? Absolutely not. Heck, it was only a few months back I finished up an initial 19 sessions of therapy and got off all medications. The honeymoon period of my breakthrough is now officially over.
Now, it’s just me learning how to fly with wings that had been weighed down by barnacle and my own self doubt over the years and are extremely atrophied. To be honest, these past two months since therapy have been the hardest.
This is when change becomes change. God help me. Apart from Him, I can do nothing.
But fly I will someday, fly I will.
53 weeks ago, I was done. Today, I am undone and I couldn’t be more thankful.