December 6, 2006. My sober birthday. The day Jesus stopped what He was doing to personally rebuke me. The day He told me, tonight, everything changes. And the night it did.
I guess these things are supposed to start with Hi, I’m Bryce, I’m an alcoholic/addict. Or a grateful believer. An overcomer. Whatever. I’m a son of the Most High. I suppose in these the general direction they take is I tell you it was before, during ,and after but…ya’ll already know. It’s addiction. It was bad, then it was good, then it was really good. What I didn’t know was, that the easiest part was signing up to follow Jesus the first time. He’s amazing, after all. When you’re rolling around in the mire and the Creator Himself stoops down to clean you off, and set your feet on the proper path, it’s actually easy to say yes. Now, I’ll grant you the first 30 days are not easy. At all. But with enough will power, anyone can grit through 30 days.
But what about the next 60 days? Maybe you can grit thru those too. Even a year, maybe 2. But what about beyond that? Some would tell you that it’s the 12 Steps. And I’m not here to bash the 12 steps, because done properly, they are a pathway to Jesus. And I did step work. in AA, NA, OA, CR, you name it, I did it. But what then? As the Word asks us, how then shall we live?
I can tell you, I’ve grown a lot in the last 13 years. The things I believed once in recovery, many of those things I look back on and shake my head at. Stupid phrases: meeting makers make it. You know what meeting makers make? Meetings. Because there is a harsh reality that exists, and that is this: 35 years of recovery for a lost unrepentant hater of God, means squat. Nothing. It’s the embodiment of gaining the world, yet losing your soul. If given the choice of 35 years of rock solid recovery free of Jesus, or fighting for 50 years and never putting 30 days together, but fighting and striving with Jesus the entire time, I’ll take Jesus. But how? Why?
Why does Jesus swoop down and select some of us for freedom, while others seem to have to make that choice on their own? And how do I balance that with the knowledge that it takes God to love God? I don’t know, but I do know this: I don’t have to figure it out. And that, is freedom in and of itself. My debt is paid, there is nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love. Even wonky theology.
So that really doesn’t speak to how then we shall live. I don’t know. I do know I am called to create fruit that sustains. And I can lay my head down each night, and say yes Lord, I’ve done so. And the Lord can ask me, did you love? And I can say yes Lord. I suppose the how is different for all of us. My life looks differently than many. I have a lot of people to hold me accountable. I sit before the Lord in weekly prayer meetings. Most of the people that I’m accountable to, are younger than me. I’m on staff at a local prayer room, and I go to a young adult’s church. And I have no idea how I fit in to that reality…but I know I do. So, as they say in those (once) smoky rooms, I keep coming back. Because, I need to know Jesus better tomorrow than I do today. I have a spouse to honor, a family to father, and a forever to live in, and free of Jesus, the outcome of all that looks bleak.