I want to say, “thank you” to everyone who viewed and shared my confession from last week. As many of you stated, sharing a story like mine is a huge risk, but the beautiful ripple effect I’ve already experienced from making my experience public has blessed my life more than you will ever know. I’ve received Facebook friend requests from Germany, a letter from South Africa, and countless other emails and messages from people who have been strongly impacted by my story of Hope. So, again, THANK YOU.
I’d like to talk about what’s next for me.
Who am I now?
What have I learned?
Getting to the place where you’re willing to end it all and take your own life carries with it a great amount of heaviness, but waking up and realizing you’re still here…that’s a whole new issue.
My boss (and dear friend), Sue, has made a statement to me so many times that it has now become my own mantra of sorts, “You have choices”. For me, as a sign language interpreter, I have word choices, ethical choices, business choices, and so on; as a human being, I have even more choices.
Waking up in ICU, temporarily paralyzed, at rock bottom mentally and emotionally, and being TICKED to be alive left me with some new choices:
- I can suffer through ICU, get well enough to be transferred to the psych ward, and as soon as I get out, go find a gun. Yes, that was my first thought.
- I can leave my wife, family and friends, and tell no one where I am going. I can start a new life. (Not an ideal choice, but these ARE choices that I could make, whether I should or not.)
- I can lie. I can tell everyone that it was a big medicinal mess-up and act like everything is fine.
- I can decide to change my life completely and get well.
I decided to get well.
Here are some of the things I did to make that happen:
- I admitted that I tried to take my own life and that I did not want to be here (alive).
- I agreed to go into counseling and get serious help.
- I agreed that my marriage also needed major work and began marriage counseling as soon as I was home. (Best decision I ever made.)
Now, a year after starting counseling, what does life look like for me? First, I have recognized that I am on a journey, and that final destination won’t be reached until God calls me Home. Hopefully that will be many, many years from now. I’ve learned that I am not perfect and that perfection isn’t even the GOAL. It was a heck of a blow for me, but I finally have accepted the fact that I was born into sin, that this World is a mess, and that I am just one tiny piece of a very large puzzle. Recognizing and accepting those things have given me a new mindset. Now that my perspective has changed, I am also seeking to have a completely new mind.
I’m reading a book by one of the pastors at Bethel Church in Redding, California. In it, the author explains that frustration over not consistently following all the rules of religion leads to shame. This false sense of humility is actually perversion. True humility comes when a person recognizes that our lives have been atoned for with the death and resurrection of Christ. On that Cross, Jesus died for us and as us, and we certainly didn’t deserve his sacrifice. That realization that we are receiving daily, undeserved, unending grace causes genuine humility. Thanks to this, I am coming out of a lifelong pattern of shame, based on what religion expected of me and I am beginning to walk with my head held high, realizing that my Abba is the King of all Kings and that, as His child, I can walk in freedom and confidence in who He has made me and how much He loves me.
I have daily choices (and so you do):
- I can choose joy for the day, or to stay depressed and in bed.
- I can choose to love myself or live in shame.
- I can choose to enjoy the journey or stress myself over the final destination.
- I can choose to see God in everything or feel like He has abandoned me forever.
- I can choose to seek the Truth of God’s word or to believe the lies that are still whispered in my ear.
- I can choose to respond when someone angers, offends, or hurts me or I can “fake it to make it”.
- I can choose to be honest with myself and others about my struggles or internalize everything and end up where I was a year ago.
We all have choices.
One major choice is choosing which g/God we will serve. Matthew 6:24 says, “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other.” Daily (sometimes hourly) we must choose to serve the idol(s) of perfection, religion, etc. that we’ve created, or we can choose to serve the Giver of Life. I refuse to serve those gods any more. I choose Life and I choose the Giver of Life.
You have choices.
What will you choose?