Slaying the Giant of Me

This article I wrote in July of 2015. I’ve come to realize that my heart was in a rough place and I was on a slow downward spiral. This was a moment of clarity. I like to look back at who I was.

I wrote this during a lesson at the Campus Ministry United workshop.

God of Abraham
remind me of who I am;
Not of who I was
but of who you want me to be.

Please ignore my punctuation and my grammar. Sometimes, things need to be let out. I have struggled with a lot of things in my life. Many of these things were giants. Huge ideas and images that had permeated my heart, and crushed me. I was nothing but a small child standing at the foot of Goliath. I could not move. I struggle with insecurity, passivity, passive aggressiveness, and many other things. I have spent most of my life crippled by fear of disappointing myself, my family, friends, and others. I have been afraid of doing things that come so simply to others. Like jumping off a cliff into water. Or asking a girl on a date. Or even telling your best friend that they’re being crazy. Even sharing the truth that Jesus Christ died for me,for you, and especially you who doesn’t think that he’s God in the flesh.

Campus Ministry United’s 2015 workshop was not like any conference or retreat that I had ever been on before. I’ve not been on many, but something really resonated with this one. These lessons were told by many of the same people that I have come to trust as true fighters for the faith. People I regard as friends, brothers, and people that I look up to. So I already had a disposition to what they had to say. My struggle’s haven’t changed, so what happened this time? I’m not sure, but God softened my heart in a way that was unexpected.

There are a lot of things that I don’t talk about. Things that I keep from most of my the people that I am acquainted with. Things that I have talked about in public on occasion at Lindenwood (typically during the LU Monologues). To my family, this may be hard to read, and I want you all to know that I do not blame you for anything. If you think you have caused this, then I want you to know that I have forgiven you. Many people would not believe them when I tell them that I am a recovering alcoholic. I am a year and a half sober, and while I didn’t drink everyday I had a strong dependence on the substance. I let it destroy me in a lot of ways, and it only heightened other issues that I had. For two years, it would have been no doubt that if I had gone to a psychologist, I would have been diagnosed with depression. I have self-harmed by mutilating my mouth, and still struggle with doing that to this day. I would also not be surprised if I would have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder. (That one, I could probably be diagnosed for today.) That depression manifested itself in extreme laziness, hours of playing video games, looking at porn, and thinking what life would have been like if I had of been born a woman. Not only did my alcohol dependency heighten my depression, it heightened my hatred of myself. A struggle that I had, for many years. One that I have written of, many times before, and have been trying to chronicle in a collection of poetry (1, 2).

I have had an affinity for cross-dressing, as a way to connect with those feelings, my wanting to be a woman. My life as Devin was not what I had hoped for it to be. In one of my weakest moments I had my house to myself, and I had alcohol. Having planned on going and staying with some old drinking mates, while my parent’s were out of town, but they bailed on me. I decided to spend the evening pampering myself, drinking, and working up to when I would finally get dressed up. It was okay, until I had finished most of my alcohol. I snapped. I had moments where I was two different people. All I remember is a blur of emotions, screaming, frustration, and fury that is beyond anything I had ever felt. I knew hatred and I was burning seething hot pile of rage. I have flashes that night of my looking in this giant mirror in my old house, screaming at myself. I said the meanest of things, that I was nothing, that I was a faggot, that I was nothing but a piece of trash that deserved to be dead. No one loved me, and that I should either get a sex change, run away, or die. I remember pacing frantically as I put so much makeup on my face, that it was a grey mess, there was no since of color. I felt like nothing. In that moment. I told myself I was nothing. I cried out in frustration on tumblr and tried to get in touch with my ex-girlfriend, and made a fool of myself, and the pit in my stomach was only worse. I had become everything that I said I would never be. I became that guy.

I called the only friend that I could. There was only one person in my mind that I could call in that moment. That was Mareva, my only real friend that I had. I called her crying, belligerently, stupid, drunk. While I don’t remember much of the conversation, I know that she was there for me. She was angry, she was sad, she wanted to help. There was two hours between her and me. In hindsight I’m really glad there was distance between us, because I could not stand her having seen me in that state.

I surrounded myself with people who encouraged that behavior, and didn’t expect anything from me. They didn’t want anything for me, and that’s how I got to here. I moved to St. Charles Missouri for school. I got baptized. I fell of the sober wagon when I came home for winter break. I have struggled with porn, and lying, and fear, and trust since then. I have fought a mediocre battle. Then CMU comes, and Teen Camp is coming. We are fighting a war. A war with our culture. A war against Satan. A war against our very human nature and the struggles that cripple us. I am fighting a war of passivity that binds me to sitting by because there are too many people who won’t accept the truth, too many obstacles getting in my way. I am at war with my passive aggressiveness, and my sugarcoating of the truth, and my spineless way of handling things. When I am told no, I sit down. I am caught up in my own laziness and addictions, I am insecure and need constant praise to do what’s right. I have refused, and refused, and refused to do what is right. I have sat by and watch my friends step into the furnace, and watched as their souls have start to boil. I’ve seen alcohol addiction, divorce, and abuse ruin people’s lives. While I sit silent.

What was different about this CMU Workshop, was not the information that they were delivering, but the circumstances of which they were released. I have been baptized again for almost two years. Yet there is not much to show for the work that people have put into me, while we’re losing battle after battle, while I’m succumbing to sin, fear, and pain. I forgot where I came from, and when Lynn Stringellow brought attention to the fact that it had been 10 years since they had really started working, ten years since CMU started kicking and screaming to fight for the souls of college student’s like me. I looked around the room and saw the faces of people who led to me getting out of my alcohol and weed addiction, who fight beside me as I try to get out of my addiction to porn. I saw the faces of people who believed in the man that God had created me to be, when inside thought that I was a woman. I saw Wes Woodell, and I saw Kerry Cox, who helped bring T.C. Brown, who helped with Mitch Heady, who both helped Max Miller, who had a hand in bringing Mareva here, who convinced me to come and visit St. Charles, mere days after I had ended a relationship that I had been in for so long that I didn’t know what to do anymore. God opened doors, and set a time for me to come back into contact with him (Acts 17:24–28).

If it weren’t for that I know where I was headed. I spent most of Friday, being close to tears, or being brought to cry by the enormity of the weight, work, patience, and grace it took to get me to this point where I could see where I’ve been, where I am, and where I need to go. I struggle with being strong, and taking a stand. There is so much at stake, and there are relationships that are suffering. People that if I don’t speak, will never have a chance to know Jesus. To know the truth.

That’s why I have to slay my giants. I am weak. I have not gotten this far by myself. I can’t live on bread alone. I found God’s kingdom, and they took me in. They have spurred me on, and showed me a God that has slowly chipped away at a person filled with regret, to make me appreciate the things that I have, as no one has my story. There are people who will be able to relate to the pain of suffering, and to the pain of feeling worthless, but there’s hope in God! There is hope, and I see it when I see my friends marriages that are strong. I see it when their kids smile, and they sing praises to God. I see it when new people come into the church and start talking about themselves. I see it in the way that even when the world is starting to become more hostile to Jesus, that they still stand firm in the faith. I want to fight. I’m not going down without a fight. God will slay these giants just as he always has, by using weak and unsuspecting men and women to move mountains. I just pray that we can be willing, and let him use us as intended.

I can’t help but just be so thankful for who I am now, from who I was a month ago, 2 years ago, 5, and even 8 years ago. God has begun molding me into a person that I can be proud of. I am not perfect. I am not close. I will not tell you that I don’t struggle. That I don’t kick, bite, and scream. I get mad at God sometimes. I get mad at life, I hate things, but I don’t want to live like that forever. I don’t have to. I have a choice. I choose people. I choose hope. I choose to care. I choose community. I choose family. I choose sobriety. Most importantly I choose God.

If you want to learn more about Campus Ministry United and their work check out their website. The lessons from Slaying Giant’s #CMUW15 can be found here, once they are uploaded.

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