I am not proud of all the times I was dazed and confused (Led Zeppelin) back then. I have actually started to finally get a clear mind after 25 years of sobriety. But back then I was a lost young man and most days I was trying to get some shelter so I wouldn’t fade away (Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter”). OK, bad puns but pretty true as far as who and what my search was from day to day.
I came from a broken home and found myself out on the streets and just trying to keep it together from about the age of 14. I spent the first 10 or 15 years of my sobriety still angry and blaming every one who abandoned that young boy wandering about on those cold nights back then.
However, I have a different outlook on it all today. I don’t blame anyone for the trials and hardships, the times I felt abandoned and hungry. I realized that I was training to be who I am today through those hard times. Those lessons prepared me to be in a place where I can understand boys and men who lived or are living those same trials. It prepared me to start Kids Outdoor Zone Youth Adventure Ministry.
What I mean is that I realize now all those things are the tools I can use when I speak into the lives of those God puts in my path. I understand the boy who is bored at school and wants to quit. I get it when a guy wants to get loaded and check out on everything. I understand the kid who is getting in trouble because he has no one to guide him along the trail. I understand the guy who works all the time or has issues with anger or alcohol.
There are a lot of us, men and women, who have life stories that are unique to just us. They are the fabric that makes us who we are, and my challenge to each of you who is reading this is to pray about those times, good and bad, and ask God to reveal to you what to do with them. Don’t just complain or whine about the hardships and screwed up things that happened back then. Use them to minister into the lives of others today. This new year can be a time for you to turn your past into something positive for the future. Do you think you had it worse than everyone else? Do you think nobody makes it out of the places you have been? I assure you that you do not, and there are people who have.
I have also experienced times I thought I was following His will for me, doing what I thought I was meant to do. I prayed about it, talked to all kinds of people trying to make a good decision only to find out I made a mistake. That will happen. The difference is the process, the way we go about trying to do His will in our lives. You will always make mistakes and pick the left hand when you should have picked the right one; we are flawed. God knows we are going to do that and loves us anyway. When we make the wrong decisions we need to look at the whole process, where it was wrong and how it kept us from Him and move on.
God has us all here for a purpose. When we live day to day without purpose, a reason to live for, we end up like the hamster in the wheel, caged and running in the same place getting nowhere. When Adam and Eve took the fall, that was the beginning of the end of the perfect life so we will have our ups and downs.
I love the way God loves on us, how He plays with us. I hope and pray that for me (and you), I do better this year in making decisions. I encourage you to ask Him what it is you are supposed to be doing to give back, to help Him with His mission in your life for others. You are special, unique and one of a kind, He loves you like no other could. Give it back, share your gifts.
Happy New Year –