I know this post was supposed to be the next part of Purpose. That was what I had planned. But then my wife Brandy and I had a conversation last night about my writing and she challenged me with some hard truth.
So I sat at the computer for 3 hours, blank page and alone in my thoughts.
I spoke to God and I wrestled internally.
What comes forth is an open confession…
I mask the insecurities I have inside with a disposition of pleasing people. It is a defense mechanism designed to keep me from feeling any tension of conflict. And when the moments of real, raw honesty spring forth, my mind over-corrects and sprints back to appeasement.
I have always known this in my life. Even though I didn’t always recognize it or want to acknowledge it, it has been there. I often self-destruct, retreating into a defeatist mindset and quit striving when the road gets hard.
I am constantly searching for the path of least resistance and will often lose myself trying to bring everybody else on board. I am like a chameleon who never knew his own skin.
My entire life I have hidden my insecurities behind trying to be the life at the party, the one everybody gets along with, and the person you would want to talk to about anything.
My welcoming and hospitable personality have often been an attempt to drown out the pain I felt internally.
Even writing these words, I am overcome with a sense of grief that it is often hard for me to open up to my own wife. I have robbed her of real intimacy with her husband for so long because I have never felt completely at ease in my own emotions.
I haven’t fully broken down and cried since my mom died. Telling myself that I need to be the strong one for my family, I have always suppressed the intense pangs of mourning that have wanted to burst forth from my heart. I have even counseled others on the importance of grieving well, all the while entangled with an internal battle for apathy.
Church planting has been the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. It has been rewarding, but the cost has been great.
I now know what it feels like to be in a room full of people and still experience loneliness. The dark night of the soul has been the warmest blanket.
I struggle almost every day with thoughts of my inadequacy as a leader. I sometimes go days without hunger, wishing I could stay in my bed and just watch the sun creep over my window pane.
I overeat often.
Food has been the demon that won’t let me breathe. It has robbed me of my self-esteem, my athleticism and vitality. I have witnessed my unhealthiness attack my marriage, my family, and my soul all while sitting to the side, desperate for someone to save me.
I honestly don’t even know where all of this is coming from. I started typing and the words are just spilling out. I guess this is what it meant when that old Scotsman wrote, “Confession is good for the soul”.
But if I’m honest, it’s painful for me to think about releasing this for public consumption.
Some will decide not to believe a word I say. They have their minds made up about me, figuring this is just a ploy to drum up sympathy or readers. Maybe they’re right?
I was once instructed early on, in becoming a pastor, to not let people get too close to me because they will just use that as ammunition to ruin my ministry. I worry about that as well.
What will they all think when they find out I am broken?
The voices that try and speak into my mind are constantly telling me to hold it all in. It’s better bottled up where it can’t do any damage. Just smile, be encouraging and move along.
There is so much of my life that still haunts me.
I hate how I wasn’t present for so many years in my marriage. If I could change it, I would because Brandy deserved so much better. She was absolutely robbed of moments she deserved because I was selfish, inconsiderate, and secretly hated myself.
It kills me that I have kids who are grown and out of my house and two teenagers who aren’t far away from that either. Even though I have all of these great memories of vacations and snowstorms and love, I can’t help but think my mind has played tricks on me. I often wonder if my children feel like I was actually there for them.
Will they look back and be proud I was their dad? Or will it be full of empty promises and regret?
Tears burn when they are full of truth.
I have been blessed in so many ways and I feel that I have been a poor steward of many of them. God gives us blessings to use them to glorify His goodness and I have squandered most of them trying to give myself all the shine.
I want to pastor a church that seriously pursues Jesus in a way that the block is transformed. I have been given a vision from the Lord of a family of people, diverse in every way imaginable and radically loving each other and their neighbors so well that “Christian” will be a term of endearment here in East Charlotte.
But I often am Moses, trying to convince God He picked the wrong guy.
I feel like some days I am just existing instead of living.
I absolutely abhor the saying, “Make America Great Again”. Please tell me what time period you are referring to. Because I am pretty sure no matter when you want to go back to, some of our brothers and sisters are grateful we aren’t there.
And I don’t blame them.
The fact that this is all some will remember from this post kills me inside and makes it hard to sleep.
If I kept writing, I could probably fill the pages for an entire novel. Words of confession have healing power in them and even the few pages of this have begun to loose some things inside of me.
You see, even though the pain is real and I am often weary, my faith in Christ carries me through. Each day His mercies are new and I am reminded of His faithfulness when I see how, in spite of all my brokenness and inadequacies, He continues to encourage me to press ahead.
He has resurrected a marriage that once was dead and buried.
He has blessed me with a family that shows their love for me so often in how they encourage me to continue growing as a husband and father. I don’t even think they know the light they shine in my darkness.
He encourages me to press into the pain of my insecurity and imperfection because it is a reminder that He doesn’t expect anything more than what I can give him. The cross reminds me perfection has already been obtained for me and all I need to do is follow Him.
The voices that try and kill my faith are drowned out when I remember just how much He loves me and is pleased by my pursuit of Him.
I will not be silent or shy away from speaking truth into situations that are antithetical to the Gospel and how it is to be lived. He reminds me that the fear of man is silly when the One who created me is behind me.
I may never achieve the goals I set or experience the desires of my heart, but He has led me to a place where, if all I have is Him, I have enough.
My prayer is that this moment of confession will not be a blip on my radar, but a new way of life. I pray that my life will be marked by transparency that testifies, “I am broken and a mess, but I am forgiven and loved.”
I pray that this will be an encouragement to you as well…that there is healing on the other side. That there are people desperate to hear they are not alone and can find brothers and sisters to carry those burdens together.
They say confession is good for the soul and I am trusting that God is the author of that book.