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Looks are deceiving …

What we share with the world is often not what we feel inside. 


Look at my social media and you’ll see a man who put his entire faith and life into God. You’ll see a devoted family man proclaiming God’s goodness and a work ethic second to none. Proudly displaying it for all to see!  


Without question, a man with a tight relationship with our Creator and someone you could learn a lot from. 


You’d be wrong. I was a rotten apple that just looked good from the outside. 


I grew up in church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. I was pushed down the aisle at Prestonwood Baptist church at 8 years old and told to head on down to that altar call to give my life to Jesus!


Hallelujah (praise emoji) I am saved now, right?!


We were afterall, good ol’ Southern Baptists! We even invited the pastor to the house occasionally for dinner. Mom brought out the Bible and put it on the coffee table and everything! 


The problem though, that Bible was never opened in the home unless we had company, it was Easter or Christmas. 


We were essentially Chrsitians 4 hours a week. 


There was no relationship with God in our home and I remember thinking when Billy Weber would tell us to think of God as a “loving Father”, my bruises still hurt from my dad that week. 


Loving father? I mean, I knew my dad loved me, but if I was to equate God to my dad, then I was screwed! 


I lived in a home with a lot of love, but my mom would say my dad was “as good as he is bad” and we just accepted that. We were raised to believe that you rule the house with an iron fist, demanding respect and then loving everyone through gifts, experiences and happiness when you weren’t raging and pissed off. 


A home where mom was there to manipulate dad into doing what she wanted, while never taking accountability for her part of the mess and as a kid you were to be rarely seen and never heard unless called upon when dad needed something. 


From the outside, my dad and mom were at every sports event I had. Rarely missed an event at school and made sure we had every material thing we needed in life. We were told that was enough and showed they loved us. Unless I messed up and then it was all taken from me or I’d get whooped or both. 


I accomplished a lot in my life, but I never earned my dad’s true love. I got respect when I accomplished things, but it didn’t last long. I was successful in business, had full custody of my kids while taking care of my ex-wife. Traveled the world and attended church every weekend. He would often tell me, “you never truly win Lane. You always get close but you’ll never really have success because it just isn’t in you”. In fact, his last words to me were, “you are the biggest disappointment in my life.”


So when I thought of God, that’s how I pictured Him. “Heavenly Father” and all that. 


Stay on the straight and narrow and when you mess up, you lose. That you’ll never be good enough for Him to truly love you, but as long as you produce, He will provide for you. 


I was so jealous of people I saw with a relationship with Him. People that could earnestly look at me with their full faith and confidence in God and tell me I just needed to believe. Believe in what?


I knew God was real and certainly believed the Bible. There was no doubt God was there, sent Jesus to die to take on sins and gave people the Holy Spirit to work within their lives and truly change them. I mean, of course I believed that was true … for most people. Just … He just didn’t see me worthy of that love. So we had a bro nod relationship where I respected Him, but no matter what I did, I’d get close but God just wasn’t in me. 


And that was ok, because I was a crappy person. I knew I didn’t deserve God, His love or even His forgiveness, but if I just kept acting as if, maybe He would rub off on me. 


If I just volunteered to help people more, God would see my effort. 

If I just read His Word, it would magically connect with me. 

If I just prayed hard enough, He’d give in to me. 

If I just go to church enough, He’d make a change in me. 


If I just … 

If I just …


I was a truly broken man. Crying out to God for help. Begging Him to change me, while I continued to do what I thought was right and trying to control everything. Hearing all of the stories on how the Holy Spirit changed men and women, just upset me because I knew I was never worthy of that love. I mean, frankly, we aren’t. 


Then a string of events threw my life upside down and I died. 


Not a joke. My heart stopped beating and I was dead. Not sure how long, but I had asked for it. I spent months yelling at God until it all came to a head in Florida. Something major was removed from my life that had a hold on me and I was done. I spent hours locked in a hotel room, screaming at God, telling Him to take from me the urges, anger and selfishness or take me, because I wasn’t going to live that life any more. 


Read that again … In tears, laying on the floor, I told Him my life was His to do with as He wanted and I meant it. I told Him to take everything I was or take my life because no matter what the excuse was, I was done. 


I was ready for the latter and even hoping for it. 


God wasn’t done and because I finally submitted to Him, He did exactly what I had begged for years. 


He showed up how a dad was supposed to. He showed up to guide me, but let me fail if I went the wrong way. He gently urged me to be better each time I fell and showed me through His Word and actions what a loving Father really is through compassion and forgiveness. 


He didn’t protect me from all of the sin I had committed prior, but He did show me gentle grace and love when I was dealing with the aftermath of my decisions. 


My job wasn’t to control the path, but to submit to Him in faith that He did in fact have it and I just needed to be still. 


Over the last 6 months, He’s shown me that as I place my faith in Him, He will work it out to His glory. I may not get what I want, because He isn’t a genie in a bottle, but He’d give me what I needed because He is a loving Father. 


This is all still very new to me and He never said it would be easy, but He has shown me it would be worth it! 


Proverbs 16:3,9


3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. 


9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

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So well written. I'm over here watching your journey and praying WITH you every day. Love you brother.

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When it’s said many are called but few are chosen… the difference between the called and the chosen is your choice to follow God. Everyone is called to do so but not everyone chooses to do so. The path is narrow and hard and it’s a choice to choose Jesus every day. Way to go. Proud of you.

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