After I quit college I jumped into full time youth ministry at a local church as the Associate Youth Pastor to the great Shane Curtis! Shane was an awesome leader and friend and would become a major contributing factor to my forthcoming recovery. After about 2 years under him, God called him away to Dublin, Georgia to try on a new role as the Executive Pastor and not long after, I followed him to become the College Pastor.
This was a great change for me. I got a fresh start in a new city where no one knew me. Fresh starts are great because you start with a clean slate and you can determine from day 1 who you are going to be. I was 23 years old, preaching and leading worship for the entire city’s college students. It was amazing. The ministry that I was able to do there was completely unique and quickly growing! And yet, before too long I was back in the cycle. Three girls in one year were promised the world and had been left wanting.
It was time to take a good hard look at myself and figure out what was wrong. I had begun to feel that “flight” instinct but honestly, I was tired of running. I asked for the weekend off and borrowed one of our church members cabins to do some soul searching. At first I thought I was there to figure out what God wanted me to do with my life. I wondered about music, and preaching, and missions, and waivered and tossed trying to figure out what God had for me.
I called my old friend Steve Janicello and began to rattle off my discontent to him, seeking some guidance on which way I should go. To my surprise God had decided to use Steve as His mouthpiece that day but not in the way I was initially looking for. After laying out my lamentations Steve responded with a simple question, “Scot, what’s going on?” Confused I began to restate my original worries, and the Steve interjected, “No, I mean what’s going on with you? What are you running from?”
For the next hour I divulged to Steve the secret sin I had been fighting since I had left his ministry four years ago. He told me to spend some time reflecting on what got me to this place and encouraged me to look in the mirror and get honest with myself about where I was and where my choices were taking me. I spent that night and the following day digging into my own soul and asking God to help me see the damaged places. I began to pray Psalm 139:23-24 over and over again.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
It’s odd really, this type of introspection can be insanely painful, but it’s a necessary part of the journey. The moment you look in the mirror and get honest about who you’ve become is the very moment that you begin to be someone else.
I left that weekend broken and somehow whole at the same time. I was broken over my sin and the consequences of my choices but I was fully aware and empowered to do something about it. It was time to fully and finally come out of hiding so that I could gain healing.
My Dad had this old guitar that was stored in my bedroom closet for the longest time. I remember looking at it from time to time and thinking about getting fixed up. It was a solid guitar that was in decent shape and would have been playable with a little work. But sadly, there it sat in the dark closet, gathering dust, unable to fulfill it’s purpose. But one day, just before Father’s Day, I finally decided to bring it out and see what it would take to fix it. I dusted it off, cleaned it up, and took it to a guitar shop for repairs. About $100 later it was like new!
That’s what I mean when I say that broken things can’t be fixed in the dark. I had to bring the guitar out to mend it. It’s the first step. If you can take the first step, the rest will unfold in front of you.
So, what’s in your closet? Are you ready to take the risk and shed some light on it? How long has it been since you’ve prayed Psalm 139? What do you need to look in the mirror and get honest about?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.