For years I was experiencing trauma that I was unable to recognize. My world had created an environment that was not strong enough, or simply in order in a way that could sustain the event that I was setting into motion. As I read the book ORDERING YOUR PRIVATE WORLD by Gordon MacDonald I have become aware to much of my past that I have just either let go of or just forgotten. Rarely in my life would I have considered myself a " driven" individual. A term or title that I would associate with a business man, scholar etc. Yet in all reality I was driven, just in a direction that was for years, driving me into a depression that I had skillfully began to hide behind with a false perception of myself Being the runt of the litter, small kid, truly wild in every sense placed me many opportunities to be abused both physically & emotionally in ways that few will ever know by folks outside of my home. I always felt defenseless as time and time again it felt like my world was swallowing me up. So how was I driven? Was I successful in my ability to rise to the occasion over and over again? I sure was. My drivenness manifested in another fashion and before today I had never processed it in this manner. In my depression, fear, shame and guilt I was driven to be the kid that everyone liked. The guy that could disrupt a class and create chaos in every home I entered. I was driven to be the guy that would pull off wild stunts, engaging in truly life threatening situations that could have ended my life in a multitude of ways if the love and hand of God had not be on my life. Running from my problems that I had created myself, you see my entire life my earliest memories were trauma, death and sexual addiction. All 3 began to weave together a constant state of FIGHT or FLIGHT, coping and feeding addictions. To sustain this constant need from and early age I began to lie, cheat and steal. They are like the 3 amigos, one must be used to sustain the other. In this cycle of life I realize how " DRIVEN" I was in creating a climate that fed my hunger and addiction and simultaneously was destroying my relationships of those that were closest to me. In a fear to break away from the risk of being vulnerable and letting my guard down I went the "safe" and cliche route and took off and joined the ARMY. This would begin a 21 year falling that nearly destroyed me. I have often times shared with my wife that when I do finally write my book it will be called ALL THE PLACES I DIDNT DIE. Over my lifetime Ive had at least a hundred near death experiences. All along the way there is evidence of just how much God the Father loves me and pursues me to this day. Once in the military, after returning back to Germany from a tour in Bosnia and Slovenia my drivenness began to shift into warp speed. As I entered into the rave culture of Europe that leads to Louisiana & Texas I was being driven to once again become a new person. The party guy, drug dealer, the guy who could get you what you need etc. I had to be the life of the party. The amount of narcotics that I consumed over the next 21 years should have killed me time and time again. Ive since seen pictures where half of my body was yellow, the other half purple. I was dying right before peoples eyes and didn't even know it. I was trying to kill myself, yet the love of Jesus just would not let me die. One of the greatest moments of relief for me was the moment that I was called in for interrogation a few weeks before my reenlistment. No longer being able to hide behind the mask of the party guy who maneuvered between rival gangs, dope dealer, risk taker and outlaw. They had 2 years of evidence and I was caught, in my own trap. I was sitting there by my own doing. I was the reason....... and for the first time in years I was both terrified and relieved. Did this change my ways? certainly not. You see in these moments we all have the choice to be honest with ourselves, or twist the words to justify our drivenness. I spent the next 16 years in fashion or another riding life until the wheels fell off. I hurt a lot of people, I ruined relationships, some that I have tried to repair and made them worse in the process. Each moment of desperation I had parents that would bail me out. My drivenness to keep up the image that I felt I needed to be cost my parents not only lots of money. I cost them trust, heartache and tears. Yet more than all of that I cost them relationship. Over 2 decades of running, hiding, using and projecting cost me the chance to really get to know them and live life with them. My parents to this day have always loved me. They loved me in prison, jail, homelessness, addiction and being a constant ghost in their lives until a moment of desperation would show its face. Even then they opened their arms. I burnt a lot of bridges in drive to not be the runt & the weakling. I had the opportunity to make it right and failed miserably when I continued to speak Half truths. In my drive to hide behind this image I had created for myself I created a lot of backstory along the way. Partial truths, complete lies that began to build up. The toll that keeping up with these lies for years pushed me into addiction and alcoholism at a rapid pace. The fear of being exposed, even the fear of apologizing and seeking forgiveness terrified me in a way that I would spend every dollar I had to try and numb myself to the point of near death and a lot of empty word that I could not take back. Why do I write this today? Perhaps you identify with this version of drivenness, perhaps you are ready to let go of what feels like death. Did I do this in my own power? Certainly not. 6 years ago I had an encounter with the love of Jesus. My shame, guilt and fear in that moment could not occupy the same space as the love of Jesus. Was I healed, yup on the spot. Since then I had to daily make decisions that strengthen, renew and repair my life. As our creed at school states I have a choice in everything I think say and do My future is not determined by my past.... Today you have a choice. As Morgan Freeman says in The Shawshank Redemption, " GET BUSY LIVING, OR GET BUSY DYING" I had experienced a lot of what I though living really was. Yet the moment that I not only encountered and trusted Jesus, the moment that my old self truly died...... did I finally began to live. All is redeemable. Minute by minute, trusting and seeking the love of the Father instead of the applause of man can, does and will turn things around. But it begins with us.