Last year – 2019 – was a bit of a rough year. I don’t think people like to talk about the times in their lives when things aren’t going well… me included. But, what I learned last year – through the struggle – was that I felt much more at peace by letting people see behind the curtain. And, what I ultimately hope to accomplish this year is to rip the curtain down entirely.
Let me step back, though, and be open and real about what happened.
Just as I type the word, I’m already unsure of whether or not I’ll hit “Publish” on this article. In the spirit of openness, I’ll press on for now.
In early May, I was (and still am) in a Bible study group that was reading books about relationships. We’re all married and have children. We were close and still are, but we hadn’t known each other all that long.
One of the chapters of one of the books was the author’s (a married pastor) story about his struggle with pornography. He admitted that he would settle into his hotel room when away at speaking engagements and.. well.. lust over women he wasn’t married to who were not of the clothes-wearing variety.
This brought up conversations between the husbands and wives in our group about sexual addiction. (Sounds fun, right?) We each had conversations with our significant others (in private) where I admitted that I had struggled with pornography addiction for years.
Without traumatically reliving each moment, I can assure you that this revelation hurt my wife. I hurt my wife. She deserved to have my whole heart and I was giving part of it away elsewhere.
The good news is that I took some steps to make this addiction a thing of the past. I re-commited myself (mind, body, and spirit) to God and to my wife. I put safeguards in place on my devices to keep me accountable. And I found a couple of friends on the other side of this struggle to encourage me and keep me on course.
But that’s just the first half of the year.
Employment (and Finances)
While the struggle with porn addiction is in the rear-view mirror, this one is pressing down it’s thumb on me and our family at this moment. Let me explain.
I used to work at a company called… well, that’s not important. It was (and still is, so far) a full-service marketing and branding agency. I was the lead web designer and developer. I started there right out of college and was there for over 10 years.
A couple of years ago, however, we started working with a client on a new project. They had been a client with a previous company, so we knew each other well. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t end well and we took a pretty big blow as a company.
I’ll spare the details – I don’t really want to relive them anyway – but, we ended up mostly working for two and a half years for free – on one really large website project and several smaller-scale projects. We were paid, then asked for repayment, then told we still owed them out of our pockets. It was not good.
Needless to say, our company suffered incredibly from this arrangement. Late last year, my best friend and coworker was laid off due to lack of funds and I left the company the following week. That was mid-December.
So, here I am. It’s now the beginning of February and I am still looking for work. I’ve applied to a dozen or so positions – and have a very short list of who I’d love to work for! – but have yet to find my next chapter.
I’m an optimistic person, though, so I can’t leave all of the above as is. Reading it back, it’s a bit grim for me, but I realize that these are minor by comparison to what some people have to face.
At the end of the day, I still have a roof over my head and food and a family that loves me. I’ve been able to land some freelance work to provide for my family in this time. I have a beautiful wife who, despite her anxiousness about my unemployment, is willing to stand by me while I find the next right thing. I have two amazing daughters that just want to spend time with their Mommy and Daddy (and we with them!).
Last year also helped me re-prioritize some things in my life. I was – at best – a lukewarm Jesus follower. I’m still far from perfect, but my Bible [app] has gotten much more use this year and each day is filled with worship and prayer. Not just prayers of help, but prayers of thanks. God has provided for me and our family in the last couple of months more than I could have guessed or expected.
I’ve also decided that I want to be able to spend as much time with my ladies (all 3 of them) as possible. If that means I make less money than I did before, that’s okay. I’ll never wish that I had more money over having more time with them.
2020 will be a good year. I don’t know how – and that’s what makes life interesting – but I know it will be.