When I wrote my last blog on November 4th, I still had no idea how bad the storm would get, how hot the inferno would become. It is still almost too painful to think about. Rather than chronicle all the gory details, I will just say this – in the days and weeks since then I have had the opportunity to seriously contemplate bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce and suicide more than once. It has been that bad. What I experienced was the total destruction of every assumption I had been living for years.
We were saved from bankruptcy in the nick of time by a job offer I would have flatly rejected in better times. It would require me to live 1300 miles from home in a strange place, but my family would be fed and sheltered. God is good. I seized that opportunity for all it was worth, seeing for the first time in years the true value of the unique gifts God has given me. I had spent so many years despising them and wanting to get away. What really needed changing wasn’t my career, but my attitude and my heart. I saw that clearly for the first time.
The first week of December I left Austin with a heavy heart. I was relieved to know I would be working and supporting my family again after 9 months of unemployment, but I was devastated to be leaving them behind, knowing that for the forseeable future my time with them would be limited to weekend visits every few weeks. My marriage to Morgan was in pieces on the ground. I was being stripped of everything I had taken for granted for so long.
In the midst of this, I was about to experience the most incredible transformation. In my desperate loneliness and emotional devastation I began to hear God, and he was telling me something very important. Specifically, he was telling me to stop looking to other people for my emotional cues and validation. In those lonely nights I spent journaling and meditating, I heard God telling me that he is enough and that I was enough. I could, and would, get all the validation I needed from him.
It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly I felt myself emerging, as if from some dark coccoon, into the light of a whole new way of thinking and seeing myself. My emotional neediness, which had virtually crippled me for most of my adult life, began to fall away. I could face any future, confident that I would be ok. Fear lost its grip on my heart. I realized that I didn’t NEED anyone. That sounds harsh at first, but let me explain. Needing and loving are polar opposites. Need is about what comes to me. Love is about what flows out of me. What you can give me vs. what I can offer you. If I am need focused, I am always wanting more than you can give. When I am love focused, I offer all of myself as a gift to you or anyone who would receive it. Viewing relationships from a perspective of what I have to offer, rather than what I need, changes everything.
The story doesn’t end here. It never ends really. I can’t say that I just woke up and started living this perfectly. It’s a learning process that may take the rest of my life. There is much left to be resolved in my life at this point, but I have found peace in the moment by taking each day as it comes and appreciating all that’s good in it as a gift from God.