So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality. Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.
I was brought up in a broad-minded community of church people. The Lutheranism of my church family was a faith of tolerance and compassion for fellow mankind. We had a few quirks, but most of them could be dismissed with a smile and a touch of humor. We learned not to take ourselves too seriously.
Subsequent addictions severely tested that innocent faith leaving a young man rudderless and questioning. The questioning was probably a good thing; however, being rudderless was not. Not until completely shattered and disillusioned did I reach out from my alcoholic depths to the foundations of my youthful convictions where goodness and mercy still dwelled. There is where a physical, emotional, and spiritual road to recovery began.
That recovery was a long, arduous journey filled with heartbreak and joy. Today, having been reconciled with who I was and what I did in the grasp of addictions, I hold on to elements of the faith walk that nourished and encouraged me as a young teen-aged boy. The 23rd Psalm was a favorite passage which has comforted and stayed with me.
“…yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”
When my world rocked with fear, when my mind went haywire with depression, when staying sober another day seemed impossible, I repeated Psalm 23 because it ends with these words:
“…surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
In that valley which I sometimes walk even today, the path can be tortuous and difficult walled by mountain peaks of disillusion, pain and suffering. But, there is always a gap in the high walls just ahead. There is always a beautiful sunrise over the far mountain peak. Today I know I will not be in this valley forever. This too shall pass. My challenge is to learn the intended lessons from the current sadness or despair and hold true to the person the Creator intended me to be. My heart can then rejoice and sing….“surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
I AM LARRY – worthy, unique, loved