As I write this morning I'm considering the Thanksgiving Holiday and how grateful I am for my life today. I have vivid memories of Thanksgivings in the past, while I was using. On one occasion I had lied to my dad so that he'd send me money that I used to buy dope. I remember every detail of the conversation.
Another time I remember stealing a car so that I could get to the other side of town to meet the drug dealer because he wasn't going to leave his family on the holiday to come to me. I can still picture the street I turned on to meet him and the cars we were both in. I also remember the last Thanksgiving day I spent homeless. I remember being in the woods off Gallatin Rd all day by myself. Cold and miserable as I got high, wondering what my family was doing.
I spent many Thanksgivings doing many crazy things and giving thanks was never much of a priority. Mostly, I was surrounded by my own self inflicted misery. Thinking, "poor me" and trying to figure out how I'd gotten in such a deep hole. All the while I continued to dig! My shovel was made of bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, resentments, and self pity. Maybe I thought if I kept digging I could find some happiness deep down in that hole........I don't know for sure but I do know that all I found was a bottomless pit filled with sorrow, despair, frustration, and hopelessness.
Then, on April 22, 2007 I quit digging.
Psalm 40:2 "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."
Although I had quit digging I was still holding on to the shovel and as I held that shovel there were moments when I would get me a shovel full, there was temptation to dig....just a little. But as I plugged in to the ministry of Celebrate Recovery. As I began to work the 12 Steps and the 8 Principles. As I began to know Him better I was able to not only hand over the shovel but together, Jesus and me, we began to fill that hole back up!
We filled that hole back up with service and gratitude.
Slow at first, it didn't happen overnight. What I had spent years digging with a big shovel I was now filling with handfuls! It's ok though because as I continued to fill that hole, one handful of service and gratitude after another it began to fill up. 10 years later I continue to pile up handfuls of service and gratitude. As the hole filled up I'm now working on a mountain!
That "satisfaction" that I looked for most of my life. Well, I've come to realize it doesn't come from a life of comfort or ease. It doesn't come from money, stuff, or accomplishments. It doesn't come from "feeling good". No, the satisfaction I've found comes from "purpose".
Today, I ride my motorcycle around the country and share the Good News. It may sound glamorous but the truth is it's tough.
The weather is seldom great. I ride in the brutal heat, the rain, and the bitter cold.
I spend weeks away from home. Living in hotels and peoples spare rooms. I miss my family, my church family, my home CR group, and I continue to run my business while on the road so that the bills get paid.
My life is hard, it's uncomfortable, it's extremely busy, and overwhelming at times..... but, I have found purpose! My purpose, the purpose God created me for. And with that purpose I have found the
SATISFACTION that I've spent my life looking for.
I don't know what your purpose is. It took years of seeking, trying, failing, and commitment to find mine. It might be tough, it might take a while, it might not be easy or pay well but keep looking up, keep coming back, and keep trusting Him.
Here's the best advice I've found and it comes from Rick Warren:
"find out what you love to do, what you have a passion to do and then do it for God's glory."