I lay across my brother’s body, begging him not to leave me. In just a matter of minutes he was gone and his body lay lifeless. I was too young and not ready to take on the responsibility that he had left me with. How am I suppose to be strong for my parents and my newly wedded wife? The solution seemed to come in the form of sneaking into the living room in the middle of the night to burying my face in the sofa pillow while I unleash screams and sobs; a hidden sorrow. That wasn’t the only thing I buried. I buried my emotions and my weakness. I buried my vulnerability and in the end, ability to heal. Like a dormant malignant tumor, eventually it was sure to rear it’s ugly head. Ten years later to be exact. It came as unsuspected as an ice bath and in a most inappropriate time. I was busy with life, successfully planting and leading an amazing church. I was innovative and full of energy. “The next high impact missional pastor”. None of that stopped me from hitting the wall and burning myself out, all the while secretly dealing with resurrected, unfinished grief.
In a matter of a few short months grief, laden with stress, sent my life reeling in a direction I never thought possible. I had become virtually non-functioning. Depression was full on. Not only was my body in excruciating pain form having twisted and kinked my spine into scoliosis from internalizing the stress, but my heart was black and suffering. I think of the words to Metallica’s “One”…
“Darkness imprisoning me. All that I see
Absolute horror, I cannot live.
I cannot die.
Trapped in myself, body my holding cell.”
I remember lying in a tub of water, sliding down to allow the water level to envelope my face thinking, “one deep lung full, and all this could be over”, or driving down the road thinking, “one whip of the wheel and ‘it’s finished.” Yeah, that dark.
I wonder if you’ve ever felt this kind of pain. I will spare much of the detail for now only to say that miracles ensued, healing eventually took its effect, and this experience left me with a life purpose to return the healing to those others who may feel as trapped or burdened by life. I’ll touch on those details later on. My ministry now is to enact triage to the bleeding, recovery to the lost, and optimization and prevention to the high performer. Those that know me today, who knew before then, know a completely different person and can attest to a holistic, identifiable change. I want to share the two greatest concepts that I came to terms with as a way to encourage you and point you in a direction of hope.
1. ‘Who’ I am is not ‘What’ I do.
I mistook my identity in what I did. I was a “church planter”. With that identity I believed more lies, like ‘how I perform’ or ‘how well my church functioned’, was a reflection on who I was and how pleased God was with me. Every day I awoke with a pressure to perform. I had to be reminded that ‘who’ I am is a child of God. That He just loves me. Period. He’s my Father that loves me without me having to perform at a certain level. He wanted to be close to me, and care for me, and shepherd my heart regardless of my weaknesses and depravity. I realized I was loved.
2. I didn’t need what I thought I needed.
I was seeking and needing acceptance from critics and enemies. I was needing affluence and applause from friends. I was needing a successful church. I was needing everything that I didn’t need. As a matter of fact this revelation of what I actually needed came by a book that I’ve never read. The cover was enough to bring a life changing epiphany. The book is called “Jesus+ nothing =everything.” I thought I needed Jesus + lots of other things. I realized,though, He was enough. His acceptance, His applause, His strength in me was enough. His love was enough. His fellowship was enough. His grace was enough. And I already had all those things!
My delayed grief from my brother’s death was enough to trigger a severe power outage in my life for some time. We may never know or be prepared for what knocks us off our game. However, I have no doubt now what or WHO has the power to reconnect the power source and give life back; not just to live, but live with abundant life. If you’re struggling, don’t give up. Give in to the One that desires to sustain you, and heal you. He is Faithful and He is hope. And so, this is the primary role of Trent Holbert Fitness, to be a help to you to discover the healing you need, both physically AND physically.