Last December, Willow Creek Community Church teaching Pastor Steve Carter did a sermon titled, “Can You Name Your Mountain?” In that message, Steve’s challenge was to identify the thing, the issue that had plagued us or haunted you. That thing that has been dominant for awhile, the thing that we wish didn’t exist or wasn’t our struggle. It's the thing you know about and even your friends and family can identify with you. Instead of dealing with the issue, you've been like the Israelites that circled the mountain for 40 years. Steve wrapped up his sermon citing Deuteronomy 1:6 “You have stayed at this mountain long enough--now move”
That sermon on December 27th 2015 was the beginning of me addressing my mountain. It was easy for me to name my mountain. I told close family and friends that in 2016 I was going to put my time and effort into conquering my mountain of “Anger”.
Prior to Recover, I had blindly told close friends: my men's group and our couples small group, “Anger would always be a part of who I am”. I suggested that, “my anger may get better, but angry is always who I will be.” Well, God has truly made me a believer in Him! A believer in His power to break chains and change lives if I would have a little faith and put in some effort.
Today, the daily anger I carried, battled and lashed out to others is basically non-existent. I still get triggered, but now I am educated on how to handle my frustration, instead of reacting. My response when I'm triggered is now much healthier and doesn’t dominate the rest of my day, my thinking---it doesn't dominate me nothing like it used to.
Along with setting me free from anger, some of my other issues God has used Recover to help me with: people-pleasing, low self-esteem & low self-worth, co-dependency, controlling tendencies and overcoming fears. Prior to Recover, I and some close to me believed I was fearless. I used to laugh and poke fun of people that struggled with what I called irrational or silly fears. But Recover revealed the truth that I also had fears and they weren't silly, but just differed from those other people struggled with. My fears were centered around control and pain: fears of not being in charge, fear of myself failing, fear of the possibility of seeing loved ones fail, and my fear of getting too close to other people--because I also battle co-depency. Meaning when I get close to people, I would want to "fix" them, tell them what they should do, etc. Today, I know that I don't need to be in control, it's ok to fail and it's not my job to try to fix anyone because I can't.
Today, I’m so thankful and very humbled that God has taken away the demons of anger that haunted me daily and has made me into a man that has more joy, more peace, more acceptance, is more realistic, more graceful, less fearful, less controlling, a totally happier person and to quote my wife, “Certainly more loving.” Certainly more loving is what she sees, but the beauty of Recover is "certainly more loving" is what I now feel on a daily basis. I tell people that the decision I made to come to Recover, I put in the top 2 best decisions I’ve ever made. And here’s why I say that: when I came to Recover, my anger prevented me from loving my family remotely close to how I am commanded to do or even close to how I wanted to. Because before going to Recover the truth is I didn’t love myself, therefore I couldn’t love others. Imagine living everyday not loving yourself, who you are, living with what you’ve done in the past define you are. It's depressing and tiring carrying all that shame and carrying all the anger I had to others due to how I had been hurt by them. Hurts they may be aware of, most hurts they probaly aren't even aware of. Yes, angry at others, bitter towards others and unforgiving is who I was and who did it hurt? Me! No one else, just me. Why would I want to bring that upon myself? Today, I'm living daily with a new mind, set free from all the garbage I carried and having the ability to love myself is why I make Recover one of the best decisions I have made.
Now the best part: God took down and broken Chris, and made me new. That would have been enough. If that’s all God did for me on this 11 month old journey--I would have been grateful. But He’s blessed me more! My wife saw the improvements God was making in me, so she chose to start attending Recover. She is now in a step-study, working on her inventory and I have gotten to witness vast improvements God is doing in her, which has lead us to having the best relationship we ever thought was possible.
And with that, I’ll pass!
Chris & Jenn live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. They were high school sweethearts, marrying in 2001. They are parents to one son, Luke (born November 1999) and two loving pups: Miley & Elsie.