First, I will say I am an unusual human being, to say the least! I live my life every day the same way. And every day is a “Sabbath” rest for me. Meaning every day my goal is to live out this verse. Which I prayed and hungered after so often that one day the Lord finally gave it to me:
“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple” (Ps 27:4)
Next, why I live this way is because I have a mental disorder called OCD which at one time destroyed everything in its path because it was under the authority of my own “responsibility.” What that exactly means is it was “in my care.” OCD is a disorder of “hyper-responsibility”. Let me use an example. Say you were terrified every day when you left the house, that you had left the stove on. So, you would eventually end up performing rituals of turning it (the stove) off over and over, or something similar, in order to assure yourself it is off. But soon you find that your mind just won’t let it go and it torments you over and over (playing off the fear that your house will burn down) and so that you end up leaving work to go home and check it. Soon you end up fired because you keep leaving work to check it, on and on. And the same thing happens when you leave on a date, or to a movie, or another job, etc….. However, say you find a friend, who you absolutely trust, because they care about your mental health so much that one day they say. “Hey, how about I stay here, right next to the stove and watch it every day, while you go to work” and because this friend has proven they are extremely trustworthy you say, “NO WAY YOU WOULD DO THAT FOR ME!!!” And they say, “of course I would, I love you!” NOW you are FREE to live life because someone other than yourself has taken the “responsibility.”
One day, about two years ago, or one and a half, God took the responsibility! BUT He did not remove my brain chemistry, or my personality. What He did do was take the responsibility for “everything.” So, I still live with an OCD type schedule daily. Though slowly, very slowly, things have adjusted here and there. But they are so slow and natural that they are not anxiety inducing and the pathways in my brain chemistry slowly get adjusted and renewed with small adjustments to routine. BUT here is the goodness of God: He took the responsibility for my cares, fears, finances, health, and family and well, everything. Though to most this may sound like a fantasy life. What I will say regarding that is, “God’s grace meets the individual where the individual is at”, and it is sufficient according to their need. But God was familiar with my suffering and saw me and heard all my tears and cries for help and prayers over those thirty-five years of living with tormenting anxiety, involving daily patters to try to relieve it. But now, by His grace, I get to dwell in the house of the LORD and am blessed to hear His voice every single day!!!
However, now my daily pattern, or routine is “slow.” It begins with coffee and hours of prayer which begin in the house and eventually turn into a prayer walk. I take the same path every day, sit on the same benches, and notice the leaves, flowers, trees, and birds. It is slow, watchful, listening, waiting, enjoying, breathing, noticing, praying, worshipping, and hearing from the Lord. Then I go home and eat breakfast “slow” while I study the Bible “slow” and contemplate what the Lord is saying in His Word. Then I go on a run (together with many breaks and stretching and breathing and doing my best to be okay) because of my past with years of OCD trauma attached to food and fitness, and I am still in recovery, but am growing all the time. Praise God! Then I come home and listen to preachers and bible teachers as I stretch and eat lunch and do chores around the house. I have learned an amazing amount over thirty years of listening to bible teachers daily and reading and studying doctrine, theology, and apologetics (no matter where I worked or how I lived, my ear was hearing Bible expositors) from all over the United States and other places. Continuously, for thirty years I have been in a personal seminary basically! And now for the last four years, studying Christian Counseling and Apologetics at Liberty University online. And so, after all that, later in the day, I spend time together with my wife and daughter, just loving each other, hanging out, and an everyday evening walk together (which is part of my routine). We are together every day and connect every day.
But you see, what some people would call a “bondage” to a daily routine of eating the same foods (though that has changed also in leaps and bounds over the last few years), and a daily routine of long prayer and Bible times. A running routine and going to the same places and doing the same things and a life revolving around watching, reading, and listening to biblical stuff. For me, it is a ……GIFT OF GRACE.
Also, over these years I have had times where I would take great leaps of faith, trusting God to catch me, and I would step out to go minister to the homeless, or meet people for coffee and prayer, or go to a new bible study, or have someone over to my house (though that is very frightening still, but I can do it) and minister other places. What ends up happening is once I do a new thing a couple of times, I end up doing it forever until someone tells me to stop! I ministered to the homeless community for three years multiple times a week until I was forced to stop (though I had no desire to stop, nor did the homeless community want me to stop!! Sensitive issue here!) But I also have been a part of ministry for men for twenty-one years, and now I’m planning to leave because of the stress of a few relationships with a few out of the many there. But because it is a place of great vulnerability and trust, it is necessary, I think?
Anyway, this ministry here, “Aletheia: Truth in the Darkness” is an answer to years of waiting and praying. I have listened and waited till the right time. You know how you can pour into a pot, and it will just keep overflowing if you keep pouring into it. Well, that is me. I am continually being poured into by Christ. Every day the Lord is giving me things to share with His children. And the nearer we get to Christ’s return, the louder and clearer the message is. Every day I am burdened with a message by the time I am done with waiting on and enjoying the presence of the Lord. A couple of years ago I told Him that I would go, and I would speak whatever He puts in my mouth. It would not be based on man, or opinion, or culture, or popularity. I told Him “Here I am, send me, I will go…” And He has chosen to send me with a message for His Bride. I have not shrunk from speaking the truth no matter what it cost. And I am convinced that because I am simply “willing” to speak, that He has put His words in my mouth (or typing them:) and He has given me a great zeal for “His Name, His Word, His truth”
I will follow…
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).