As I write this I am sitting outside. Why is that important? For the most part it isn’t something that you should ever need to care about. Today however, it is important.
It is important because I don’t really want to be sitting out here. I live in Duluth MN and even though this is the first day of Summer I have a blanket over my lap because it is cold out; cold enough for me to need a blanket anyways. My home is close to Lake Superior which makes for some beautiful scenery but when the wind blows off the lake I get to enjoy the air conditioning effects of water with an average temperature of really really cold.
I’m more of a southern kind of guy. I like hot weather and sunshine, not 9 months of winter. I really want to live in southern California but I haven’t won the lottery so that isn’t going to happen. Florida sounds nice but everything that lives in the wild is designed to kill you. I am leaning more toward Texas right now. Near the gulf because I want the water. Ya, that sounds nice.
At this point you may be thinking, “Nate, go inside or move and quit your whining.” Fair enough. Which brings me back to my first point, I am not here because I want to be. I am here because, at least for the moment, this is where I have to be.
God hasn’t released me from this geographic location, and because of the lack of sun I am outside by doctor’s orders. Being outside and being active are a part of taking care of my mental health. And my mental health as of late has been bad. Really bad. Scary bad.
So I went to the doctor yesterday. A new doctor because my old one moved. I don’t particularly like doctors, not because of who they are as people I am fine to hang out with them all day long, but because of what is involved the job they do. They get all up in my business. I don’t like to be examined. I don’t like that I pay them to do it. I did it anyways. Because that is what living in recovery with a mental health issue is. Doing things that I don’t want to do because I know that they are good for me.
Going to the doctor is good for me. Sitting outside is good for me. Exercising is good for me. Taking my medication is good for me. Taking my vitamins is good for me. Being honest with those who are a part of my recovery is good for me. So I do it.
Sitting in my Laz-Y-Boy watching Netflix all day is NOT good for me. So I don’t. But that is what I want to do.
People tell me quite regularly that what I do, being a mental health advocate, is brave. Getting up in front of people, sharing my story, sharing my vulnerabilities. I don’t see it as brave though. I see it as a way to show people something that God showed me a long time ago. Growth only comes when I am uncomfortable. I have to be doing the things I don’t want to do but know are good for me. I have to be willing to step out of my own head and do something that is bigger than me. And when I do I reap the reward.
I love what I do. I love who I do it with. Being on the Celebrate Recovery National Team is amazing. The opportunities I have had are incredible. I have been able to hear on multiple occasions “You saved my life.” Something many people don’t get the chance to hear once. I don’t take for granted the opportunity that God has given me. And it is from Him. I know this. I am not where I am because of me.
Living in Duluth I have met some amazing people who will always have a special place in my heart. People who have walked this road with me and helped carry me through the times that I couldn’t carry myself.
And I have been blessed with a wife who loves to exercise so when I go for a walk I have someone to come along with me. Sometimes she kinda has to drag me. But either way I get to be with her.
Recovery is not about making life easy. Managing your mental health is not about making life easy. “Easy Living” is an oxymoron. Recovery is living on purpose. Letting God guide you in a way that makes the life you experience an adventure, and not feel like a punishment.
I am still cold. I am still struggling. I still have stress. I still have debt. I still have days when giving up seems like a viable option. I still have all of the things that make life hard. But the thing that I do have-that I didn’t have before-is HOPE. Jesus gave me that, He uses the world to shape it. I am on a path He is directing. And that is right where I want to be.
National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery