I remember one particular day back when I was in high school. I had decided to leave the school through a side door. I used to do that often. I would show up, attend a few classes and then leave for the day. I probably had a pack of cigarettes and a little bit of cannabis, so I was okay. It was usually all that I needed to survive. I do remember walking through the streets with no money and being very hungry. This particular day has played over and over in my head throughout the years, and I don’t know why? Maybe it was a combination of the anxiety, the fear of getting caught skipping school, the hunger and the constant worry that was always consuming me? This day was much like many other days.
When I would leave early, I would always have knots in my stomach. I would rather have felt that knot than to have felt the anxiety that I was feeling at school. The paranoia. You see, I was addicted to many harmful things. Tobacco, marijuana, possibly accompanied by methamphetamine at the time, and I would slam Mountain Dew all day long. My diet consisted of junk food and burgers. It was a very unhealthy lifestyle that was contributing to my anxiety, but it was also due to many underlying problems. The past traumas that I constantly replayed in memory. My single-parent home. Lack of positive influences. A strange father who never wanted to be with me. I was raising myself in a lot of ways, and my choices were poor. My learned behaviors and environments were leading me astray. All of these things, as well as the socially awkward feelings that were very overwhelming when at school, had me running out of the side doors. All of these things had me walking around the streets, and in my troubled mind.
I remember hiding on this particular day until the usual time I would arrive at my grandparent’s house. I would always walk from school to their home, so I would time it just right to make it appear as if I’d just left school. That day, my grandfather knew that I was not in school. I had walked very close to his house hours before, and he saw me. I remember him asking if it was me, and telling him that it wasn’t. Lies were no big deal to me back then. I was living a lie everyday. I had to lie to everyone in order to keep everyone from figuring out just how destructive I was. Before I had arrived at my grandparent’s home that day, I remember sitting under a bridge for many hours. This was a bridge near my grandparent’s neighborhood. It was an overpass for a highway, and a train track ran underneath. I would sit on the truss of the bridge, and wait. Think. Cry at times. I really had a lot of issues, and I was running from home, from school, from here to there, trying to escape it all. Living in fear. This day has been a constant reminder throughout many years of just how far I have come.
It took many years to kick habits, learn new ways of thinking, accepting, understanding how to live in the now and not it the past, and most importantly, loving myself. The lack of love for myself was the main hurdle within my life that I never was able to accomplish until recently. Honestly, and I say this with great sincerity, it was Jesus who changed all of this for me. My understanding of who He is, and my relationship with Him has begun a whole new life for me.
I lean on the Lord through all of my trials, and I give Him praise through the wins and losses. I pray earnestly. It is through Him that I am able to remain focused on what I want to be. It has been a life filled with the things that I know I don’t want, so His strength keeps me moving in the right direction. Away from the pain, and into the joy of His rest.
You will see me struggle as you read the words in this blog I have begun. You will get exactly how I feel. You will read the dreadful parts, the victorious parts, and the things in which I am passionate about. You will get exactly who I am. I do this because I want someone else to know just how powerful the Lord is, and how He can deliver broken men and women from their personal pits of hell. How through faith and a relationship with Him, one can be at peace. You know, no treatment program, or meeting, or therapist, or medication, or any method of healing has ever compared to the healing power of Jesus Christ. I am not against those things, and I have utilized them. But what I want my readers to know is that the strength that we desperately want to claim as our own, is not. It is the power of God; the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the divine master of this universe, the author and finisher of our faith, the Alpha and the Omega, our Father, who holds us up as we learn a better way. I encourage you to learn about Him, and to follow trusted people in your journey. Be aware of those who lead you in the wrong directions by knowing the Word for yourself though. There are so many that want to claim power for themselves, and they use God, the Bible and people to accomplish their own ego-based agendas. Follow Him. Not men. Follow Him. Ask Him to come in, and He will deliver.
The doors that I used to run through. Those places I would run to, trying so desperately to find a place of refuge. The chemicals that I would pump into my body to fill a void. The lack of love for myself and others. The anxieties and unknown future. The traumatic past experiences which kept me living outside of today. The peace that was just on the other side of my thoughts. The joy of a life without a drug, clouding my emotion and fogging my capability. All of these things that were destroying me and my life, were mended by Him. So today, as I reflect on a day that was full of pain, I rejoice in a day that is full of hope. Direction. Full of life.
Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.