Three years ago last weekend, I wrote “Discovering the Real Me“. You can read part 1 here:
Last Saturday, I was suppose to again attend the Celebrate Recovery One-Day summit in the Sacramento, CA area. On Friday might, I went to bed with a cold and was unable to attend. God – working in unfathomably mysterious ways? U decide.
Saturday morning, as I logged into my email and started reading, I opened one of my favorite bloggers, Redeeming Marriages with Jack and Janet My mind started spinning! (I dearly LOVE how my mind now spins in much more user-friendly circles than it used to)
I was reminded of who I used to be, how much I wanted to be different and how much God has accomplished since I stopped trying so hard.
You can read Jack’s post here
This was my response:
Jack and Janet, thank you for this post. I relate in SO MANY WAYS!!! I lived for more than 50 years with a sack over my head, wearing so many masks that I had no idea who “I” was. Like you, my inner drive to sort out the complexities of my divided identities also wreaked havoc upon those I loved.
I worked at AT&T for more than 40 years, but my true passion was the church. At times, even above my family.
I served in every capacity in the churches we’ve attended except that of Pastor, from maintenance man to bus driver to Sunday school superintendent to board member and elder(usually more than one at a time). I was even picked as “Man of the year” in 1998. But it was never enough. Your phrase, “If Dad’s not happy…” hit right between the eyes of my ego… again!
“I” was trying to build God’s Kingdom! Yeah, ME. It was up to ME! The old saying is appropriate: “…and how’s that working for U?” NOT!!
I, too, recently admitted to being a writer, also after being prompted to do so by Jeff Goins. Maybe we read the same article. Or…, maybe all three of us listen to the same God. Jeff said: “You become a writer when you decide you’re a writer. You’re a writer because you HAVE to write.”
I’ve written and journaled off and on (mostly off, I’m afraid) for 30 years. I wrote mainly to resolve the struggles I was going through. As I would find a measure of peace because of my writing and searching, I would stop writing until the next time I had to struggle for answers. I’d stop writing because I’d get busy, with “stuff”, again… Fortunately, I’ve kept my journals and most of my scribblings.
A little over 5 years ago, I reached the end of “me”. I wrote about it here: “My‘Heart’Attack”
I was 63 years old and was desperately tired of the searching and struggling. I now call that point my “Gift of Desperation”. God began His Miracle in me. God’s Process began a long time before that, though. The fact I had finally gotten desperate enough to surrender was part of the Process He was working.
Part of the Process God has worked in me has been to heal me from so many regrets of my yesterdays. I spent 50 years trying to improve the outside of me so I would feel better on the inside. When I finally surrendered, God showed me it was an inside job that only He could accomplish. That inside work changes what people see on the outside of me.
Jack, you mentioned how much you’ve struggled with the many different roles you’ve had. Me too. Six months ago, God said:
“Jim, you’re doing so many things, trying to make sure I’m pleased with you.
Then you wonder why it never works the way you expect it to, why it seems to
be so stressful. I never intended for you to do all those things. Sure, I’ve helped
you and taught you and touched other’s lives through you, for that’s what I do.
But – that was not my ultimate plan for you.“
“I MADE YOU A WRITER! SO WRITE! Let ME take care of that other stuff!”
And.He.Does. In ways that continue to absolutely amaze me.
On this third anniversary weekend of writing Discovering the Real Me, I am more content with who I am and more comfortable in my skin than I’ve been since before I became a teenager. God has taught me how much He Loves Me – “Just as I AM” He’s now in the process of restoring the years I “wasted” trying to do His work in my own way, trying to make sure He was pleased with me. Our marriage of 47 years is better than ever. My wife likes living with the new, Real Me. God continues to answer my prayer of desperation in so many incredible ways.
This morning I was supposed to get up at 5:15 to drive 98 miles (one-way) to Roseville, CA to attend the One Day Summit of Celebrate Recovery. Yesterday I caught a cold and this morning was unable to go with the group. It was at the summit 3 years ago I penned the above article.
Once again God works in His undeniably mysterious ways. I was not supposed to be at the summit. I’m supposed to be here, at El Faro, reading your post, eating Huevos Rancheros for lunch and writing. Because God made me a writer and He intends for me to write.
“I AM” a Writer! God likes for me to write. It pleases Him for me to write. It’s my God-Designed Prime Purpose! Saying “I AM a Writer” has solved my identity crisis – most days!
Seven months ago, I wrote this: I’m reminded of it now, and I think it applies –
1)… God has designed each of us specifically for His Purpose.
…Let Him reveal His design in you!
2)… Do the ONE thing that fits your God-given gifts and abilities
3)… Do it, striving for excellence.
4)… Do other things, as time allows
5)… If these other things interfere with the excellence of your God-Designed
Prime Purpose, other things, no matter how good, are not God’s will for you
6)… Somehow, and I’m still figuring out this part of it,
“Other People” are the Ultimate Purpose for the
Work God does in, for, and through us
“It REALLY is all about THEM, not ME!”