When I was in college, I really felt like an outcast to society. My mind was warped by drugs and I had developed an attitude about the world that wasn’t healthy. It was separating me from reality and, more importantly, from people. I felt different. I felt alone. I couldn’t find anyone I could relate to. I felt like a “fish out of water”. It led to such emptiness, depression, and fear of the future. How could I live my whole life with such pain and separation?
One day, while at work, I met a girl who was traveling through. As we talked, I really felt a connection to her. We just hit it off really well. It wasn’t sexual for me–it was more pure. I felt like it was a rare occasion where I had found another fish who fit in my same tank.
After talking for awhile, I found out that she was a lesbian traveling with her partner. They were on some kind of a quest or something. I offered her a place to stay on my living room floor if she wanted. She accepted. So, they came over and spent the night. I wasn’t sure how my wife was going to respond to this, but she turned out to be okay with it.
The next day, I drove them to the Badlands (about an hour from where I lived) and we spent the day hiking and just talking together. I felt so refreshed. I was exhilarated. I felt like I had been suffocating and had just taken a long-awaited breath of fresh air. And then they were gone…
We didn’t exchange any contact information. We just parted ways. That was the end of it. My heart ached after that for a long time. I wondered, “how long would it be before someone else came into my life that made me feel like this?”
I’m not weird or anything. You wouldn’t notice me in a crowd probably. I fit in. But, yet inside my heart, I don’t fit in at all. I find it very hard to relate deeply with people. Becoming a Christian and joining a church didn’t change that either. You can read my perspective on that issue in my other post called, “Why are all the good people leaving the churches?”
Yesterday, I had one of the most amazing experiences of my whole life! I went to a Celebrate Recovery “One Day Seminar” in Fresno. It was one of 4 annual training meetings on starting and improving a Celebrate Recovery ministry. As I sat there taking it all in and hearing the stories, all of a sudden it started to dawn on me–I am sitting in the middle of 800 people who I can totally relate to!
I can’t begin to explain how good yesterday felt to me. I kept waking up last night with excitement over it. I even starting weeping at one point. Could this be true? Right now, as I write this, I’m overwhelmed with emotion and the tears are being held back because I’m sitting at Starbucks. THIS IS THE CHURCH I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR FOR SO LONG!!
But, the thing is all of these people where coming from 100’s of different churches and denominations. We would never be together in one place again. But, I’m not discouraged by that. Because I’ve realized something. I can create this same culture in my own church! We are forming a Celebrate Recovery where people who hurt can all come together and talk openly about it. Where people who have addictive habits can come and find hope with others like them. Where people who have hangups they are struggling with can come and struggle alongside others who understand and just want to support them. All judgment is out the window–just love, pure and simple. It is the most refreshing thing I have ever been a part of and I wish everyone to have a part in this. THIS IS WHAT THE CHURCH WAS SUPPOSED TO BE! If the church had been this, imagine how different the world would be. But, I can’t change the past–only the future. It’s time for the church to be the church. I’m ready for it and I won’t settle for less now that I’ve tasted of the potential.
By the way, there is a movie coming out in Theaters April 19th called, “Home Run”. It is all about a baseball star who was hurt in his childhood and turned to alcohol to cope. As he finally hits rock bottom in his life, he attends a Celebrate Recovery program and it turns his life around. They showed us the pre-roll last night and it was awesome! You’ve probably seen some Christian movies that just weren’t up to par as far as the acting and cinematography goes, but this movie is top rate! It is a MUST SEE! So put opening weekend in your calendar and watch for it!
To end this post, I just want to say that I believe not only is Celebrate Recovery going to be the place where I find the social acceptance I’ve always been longing for, but it is also the place where I’m going to find the healing I need for my social hangups in general. Soon, I am going to be completely set free not only of my lust and love addictions, etc. but also of my deeper issues. Celebrate Recovery is not just for addicts. If you need healing in your life, I strongly recommend you find a Celebrate Recovery close to you and see how you like it. All you have to do is show up!