Because I said I would.

This will be a long rambling personal post but read on if you’re bored.

I love January.

I believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I believe in doing things differently. I believe in trying something new. I believe in goals. I believe that things can change. I believe that everything I’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. And every year I strive to mow down the fears that keep me from being who God has created me to be.

On December 27, 2013 I created this VanzSetFree blog. This blog was created to document my journey in my Christianity because I was fairly new to doing things in a Christian-way. My mindset was beginning to change and I began to realize that there really is a power out there that has a better handle on things than I do. As a new believer, I rested comfortably in that faith.

But, I was skeptical. Truth be told, I sometimes still in. I hated the hypocrisy in the church, the judgment, the stereotypes, the bigotry, the closemindedness. I didn’t like people, I didn’t like myself, I didn’t like my life. My first post (all of which are now archived and will probably never see the light of day again) was dripping in expectation for the miracles that inviting Jesus into my life was going to bring.

In January 2014, I began a fast and had an amazing spiritual experience that rocketed me into another dimension of faith. Things that I couldn’t explain were happening. Miracles left and right. Answers to long-held questions. I was on fire.

Fast forward, drinking and ego overcame me and I made idols of money, career, and relationships and I praised God on Sunday but acting like a raving lunatic every other day of the week. I was the Queen of the Double Life and it was exhausting.

You know if you know that I hit rock bottom quite a few times and struggled with sobriety but I don’t think I emphasized enough how much I struggled with my faith.

The politicians waving flags and hating “fags” in the name of Jesus Christ made me want to vomit. The wealthy pastors in mansions hoarding their riches and shutting their churches to the poor made me ashamed. The lack of faith I experienced in my life being surrounded by negative people in self-propelled situations made me want to be alone forever.

My last drink was on October 7, 2017. I had spent my entire summer relapsing, causing chaos, and renouncing God and flaunting my experimentation with other religions right in front of him. But He kept meeting me wherever I went. I couldn’t read a book, draw a picture, chant a chant, or light a candle, without remembering the peace and serenity I felt when I was near Him. When I woke up from my blackout on that October evening, he made it clear to me he would meet me wherever I was as long as I promised to keep faith in Him. I got my ass into church the next day.

After the church service, the hangover and the high from being in church began to dissipate and as I walked back to my car I committed to drinking again. How quickly the evil one strikes has always astonished me. And how briskly God reclaims his own never shocks me. When I got to my car, it didn’t work. The battery was dead. Long story short, I got a jump from a nice guy and it could have been anyone maybe, but in that moment I saw and I felt God in other people and I just felt that reassurance that He isn’t going to leave me as long as I really try to follow him.

This year, almost 4 years after my last DUI, I’ll finally be completing my 18 month DUI program. I went to one of the groups tonight and the instructor asked us, a group of about 35-40 people if anyone had ever lost someone to drugs or alcohol. Everyone except maybe at most 5 people raised their hand. We went around the room and did a ‘roll call’ naming the name of each person we had lost. It was sad and emotional. Afterward, we were shown a video testimony of a real man who had driven drunk and killed a man. He was able to hire some pretty high-powered attorneys who could get him off the hook with a technicality on his blood alcohol level if he agreed to lie.

He fired them and pled guilty.

He pled guilty because he was. He pled guilty because he owed it to his victim and his family. He pled guilty because he told his victim’s family that he would.

We were encouraged to take a business card size piece of paper and write a pledge. Sure, about not drinking and driving. But what else? We don’t have to share it with anyone, it is important only that we keep our word to ourselves.

That is important to me. To keep my word. I have written some things down. Three things. I will tuck that card in my wallet and be reminded that I am doing these things sure because of all the reasons: a resolution, a goal, to abide in God, etc etc.

But really, after looking at my very first blog post — because I said I would.

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