Circa 1984 – As noted with the Disappointment with God article, there was no perceptible change in my life after the Lord regenerated me. Prior to salvation, I had tried many things in my short twenty-four years of living. I smoked pot, drank beer, hung out with fun and not so fun people. I planned to make a million dollars by the time I was thirty. I landed in jail at fifteen-years-old.
I went to work when I was twelve—hauling hay and busing tables— and was “self-sufficient” before I became a teen. I moved out and began living with my grandmother at fifteen and was determined to set a different course that would make me happy. I was in search of something better than what I had, but clueless as to what I needed to do.
If someone were to ask me what I was searching for, I could not tell them. Other than I wanted a break, something better, a kinder life. I was determined, disciplined, but had no plan to get out of personal and familial prison. By the time God saved me, I had a wife, two kids, 3.42 acres of land, a double-wide mobile home, a 24 x 24 concrete-floored workshop, a John Deere riding mower and seemingly most anything I wanted.
But I didn’t have a vision; I was living one day at a time. These new things did not bring the peace that I hoped would happen. Maybe I needed to take a risk to be successful, but, again, clueless. Ignorance is not bliss. I tried Amway. That didn’t work. I began selling Aloe Vera, Forever Living Products. That didn’t pan out as well.
Inwardly, I was unhappy. Even though no one was perceptive to my plight. I was secretly frustrated.
Then Came Success
As I remember it, the time was March 1985 when I noticed something coming over me. I was changing inwardly but it was so gradual that I didn’t perceive what was happening. The Lord saved me six months earlier. I was initially disappointed because I couldn’t feel it.
The changes were similar to the growth of a child; you don’t see it happening. And then six months pass, and you see it. I began to experience the “thing” that I had been hoping would happen for so long. It was surprising on two fronts: (1) I didn’t know what I was looking for, and (2) the thing I didn’t realize I was looking for was gradually happening.
For the first time in my life, I was experiencing peace. I was becoming “soul-settled.” It was an incredible experience. I thought “success” meant money or fame. I was wrong. Being successful took an unsuspected turn. Real success is knowing God.
Mercifully, I realized at a relatively young age that what I needed more than anything else was “soul shalom.” I had found it, or it might be more accurate to say that it found me.
He found me.