“I don’t know, there’s something about you I’ve noticed since the first time we talked a year ago; something that says, everything’s going to be alright.” One of our out-of-state volunteers shared that with me this week and it caught me a little off guard. Sure, I thought it was very nice. I’m glad that some kind of light in me shone through to someone else. However, the way those words struck me and stuck with me made me want to share some things.
The “Old Me”
You see, I don’t believe someone years ago would have said the same thing about me. When I think back on certain behaviors at some jobs or relationships, I’m not proud of myself. I was much more self-focused, arrogant, impatient, easily irritated, critical, etc. God gave me some brains to see how things “could be” and help improve them. I’m extremely grateful for that. However, my attitude probably didn’t encourage or motivate as many people as I would have liked. I was more likely to be a jerk if things weren’t perfect. Plus, I was equally hard on myself. Being agitated with myself or others probably didn’t make any of us feel alright!
The “Humbled Me”
A divorce exposed a lot of problems and root causes below the surface, compared to what others might have seen in me. Then I hit bottom emotionally, physically and financially. It humbled me. Every relationship changed. I felt lost in many ways including spiritually. My mental and physical capacity vanished. I couldn’t figure things out anymore on my own. As a result, I went through a decade of darkness, with starts and stops, hope and despair, progress and failure, etc. When I look back now, the advice I should have had to help me avoid situations or get through it all just wasn’t there. I needed to know God more and learned how to lean on him. At the time, it felt like that period would never end. The after effects lasted for years longer and some scars are still there. Personally, I certainly didn’t feel like “everything’s going to be alright.”
The New Me
I’m thankful the humbled me had some people and professionals around that helped me climb out of that funk. God was there in more ways than one. I managed to fumble my way around and through a greatly improved faith walk. Prayer was key. I learned how to take better care of myself physically. I found so much more compassion for others – regardless of their circumstances – due to my own pain. Because I had been through the worst and “survived,” I felt like I could get through anything and still land on my feet. I had other life-changing experiences before that turned out well, but this REALLY proved it to me. No matter what, “everything’s going to be alright.”
The “Mission Me”
Because of all of the above and an obvious calling by God, I found myself in this mission leader position. I basically walked away from my business to pursue what God had put on my heart. It hasn’t been easy! I’ve had to learn a lot AND trust a lot. At first, I would doubt and feel like all this hard work would lead to a dead end. Or maybe it just wouldn’t work. But God kept showing me how our mission would be different. He showed me so many little victories, blessings and miracles along the way, all through our growing spiritual community. Maybe most importantly, he showed me he was there with me the whole time – through the good and the bad. It got to the point where – through tears of amazement or laughing at myself – I would just say out loud, “Okay, I believe you! I’ll stop doubting!”
Everything’s Going To Be Alright
I believe this because I’ve lived it. My volunteer friend didn’t see a perfect Edward who just happened to be lucky or born that way. She was seeing a humbled, reborn, faith-focused Edward. I know it by heart now and I have finally learned to trust. I can still see parts of “the old or humbled me” in others and I want to help them. God moved me to create programs and services to help people immediately vs. stumbling around for years like I did. Others now gain from my pain and faith testimony – as well as the testimonies of other in our mission community. No matter who it is or what the situation – everything’s going to be alright.
A reassuring and motivating song that I kept hearing through my early mission “doubting period” was “Oceans” by Hillsong United. Even this shortened version is a powerful reminder about trusting and going farther than you have before. If you have time, check out the full version of the song. It loosely refers to the time when the disciple Peter wanted to walk on the water with Jesus, but started to sink when he doubted. How many of us have felt like we were sinking?
Lord, in your only recorded pubic sermon, you started by saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:3-5, ESV translation) You showed then and you show now that you’re a God of comfort and peace. You’ve shown me and millions of others that you can be trusted, no matter what. We lift up everyone who is “sinking” in one way or another and pray that they find your comfort and peace. I pray that our mission glorifies you and in every way, points to you. As the song lyric says, lead us where our trust is without borders and deeper than our feet could ever wander. Because with you – truly – everything’s going to be alright. Amen!
Thank you for attending The Path “Quick Church” in written form! The Path is our church “brand name,” connected with our recovery ministry, “Mission Addiction.” We’d love to know what you think of this message. What spoke to you the most? Please like, comment, and share with others on social media, and/or use the space below!
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Copyright © 2021, Edward Livesay, Mission Addiction