Wednesday, August 22, 2012

another heartbreaking phone call

"hey danny...we need your help."  

it's the broken voice of a friend through tears.

i'd like to say that this is the first time i've received this call.  but, unfortunately, it's not.  it's another family torn apart by the grips of addiction.

this time it was a young man who was drunk and in jail.
photo via

a few months ago it was a friend fighting a drug addiction.

a few months before that, a woman in jail on drug charges.

the common theme of all these family members and friends is this: what can i do?  how do i help them?

and, unfortunately, my answer can't.  they have to want change.  it's hard to say that to people i care about.  they basically just have to "let go" of their loved one and hope (maybe even pray) that he/she will eventually hit "rock bottom" and desire change.  desire to quit.  desire to get sober.  desire to get clean.

if i've learned one thing in my's that we all have the ability to change.  we all have the ability to turn our life around...and in my experience, it's best done through a loving relationship with god.

unfortunately, though, a lot of us have to go through some really painful things to get healthy and change. but “certain suffering tears down aspects of our character that need to be torn down and builds up new aspects that we need in order to live as we were designed to live" (cloud and townsend, how people grow).

i'm not an expert, but that's what it took in my life.  pain.  suffering.  rock bottom.

granted, my story is a little different: most didn't know i was struggling as much as i was struggling with the booze...but i tried to get help, i went to doctors, i went to group therapy, i took medication, i went to counselors...none of it made a long lasting difference until i finally hit rock bottom and made a decision: i needed help.  i wanted help.  i wanted a different life.
photo via

and let me tell you, rock bottom, is a horrible spot to be in.  but at the same time, it's the best spot to be in.  

it's horrible because i was 25, staring up the rock-face of a mountain called sobriety.  i thought there was no way i could even muster the strength to take one or two steps up the mountain...there was absolutely no way in the world i could stay sober for the rest of my life.  i was too young.

but rock bottom is the best place to be in because you can't get any lower.  and because i took one step...and then another...and another.  and here i am today, looking back down the mountain (though still far from the summit)...looking back at the mess i used to be...and, by god's grace, i stand here today grateful, humble, and sober.

for those of you reading who struggle with addictions: may you quit fighting those who you love so much...namely god...and take a small step up that mountain.  it's beyond worth it.  the view up there is far better then where you're at right now.  and may you have the courage to do it before you hit rock bottom.

and for those reading who have a loved one(s) struggling with addiction: may you have the courage to love...the courage to let go...and the courage to trust.

much love.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

reflections from the mountain top

last week i went up into the mountains for a couple of days of rest.  it was marvelous.  i've never really been a huge fan of the mountains and hiking.  i'm not sure why.  but as i sat in the impressive forrest surrounded by rivers, mountains, trees, and animals i was overwhelmed with this thought:

"how could i ever doubt god?"  

it was awesome.  and now i love the mountains.  ha.

one day i rode a four wheeler up james peak.  a little ways up, i decided i'd park and hike up the mountain a little bit to get a better view.

i looked up the impressive mountain, picked a decent lookout spot, and started climbing.  as i climbed i talked with god out loud and sang some songs.  and i got to my spot.  it was beautiful.  i stopped for a few minutes to catch my breath and look around.  it was gorgeous.  

but i looked up and saw another spot that looked better.  so, i kept going.

(a lil video i shot up there...notice the striving and exhaustion, haha)

i got to that spot.  and it was beautiful.  but i saw another spot.  so i kept going.  and kept going.  eventually, i reached the summit.  and nearly killed myself (i had no water or food...sorry paula).  

and as i neared the summit of the hit me.  this hike resembles a part of my life.  i work so hard to get to one spot...and then i see i work hard to get there.  and i forget to bathe in the beauty of where i'm at...of where god has me right now.  and i forget to stop striving and trust god.    

this is kinda let me give an example from my life:

summit, james peak
when i was on the world race, i couldn't wait to get home and start seminary and my career in ministry.  it was a dream and i got there!

and now, a couple of years later, i'm striving for the next season: december...when i graduate seminary and continue my journey in ministry.

i'm forgetting to bathe in the moment of right now.  forgetting to look around and thank god for where he has me right now.  

or this hike can be similar to the comparison game i play a lot.  i strive so hard to be like someone else (richer, stronger, better...the list goes on and on) and when i get there...i realize there's someone else that's a bit higher...or a bit richer, or a bit skinner, or a bit stronger, or a bit whatever.

what if we just stopped?  looked around.  bathed in god's goodness.  and thanked him for where we are right now.  what if we stopped striving and stopped comparing?  how much better would our lives be?  how much more attentive to god would we be in our present situations?  how much more content would we be?  because, let's face it, god has blessed us each incredibly.  right where we are.  right now.

may we all stop striving and comparing.  may we each rest firmly in who we are and who god created us to be.  and may we be gentle with ourselves.  

much love.