Celebrate Recovery® at CRBC

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Testimony (Steve)


My name is Steve and I am a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with anxiety and codependency among other things.  I was a happy child growing up and my parents took good care of me.  We went to church as a family every week, but there was little mention of God during the week apart from our time at church on Sundays.  

Everything about life seemed right until my teenage years.  As a high school student, I was occasionally picked on because I didn’t look cool, act cool, or talk cool.  I didn’t have cool friends either.  Basically, I was not cool.  

When I started dating in high school and college I began to associate love with pain.  My whole identity became wrapped up in my relationships.  I lived with a great deal of self-hatred and I changed many things about myself in an attempt to please others.  Basically, those around me became my higher power.  

After college, my life took a turn for the worse.  I remember it vividly.  One day while at work I thought to myself, “What if I cannot make my friends laugh anymore?” and “What if I run out of things to say?”  I kept running these questions over and over in my head and it wasn’t long until my days were filled with anxiety.  I began fearing social situations because I was so concerned with what I was going to say.    

Put simply, I was miserable.  I wanted to hide from myself, but there was nowhere to hide.  I was scared of the world and I had never felt more alone in my entire life.  I felt that nobody understood me.  This destructive thought pattern continued throughout my twenties.

In 2005 I began attending Calvary Road Baptist Church.  I was especially drawn to Pastor Dave’s sermons and his “invitations” were an emotional time for me.  Finally, after months of wanting to step forward during an invitation to receive Christ, I finally did so on June 5, 2005.  I remember feeling a burden lifted from my shoulders and I accepted Jesus as my personal savior at age 29.  I was told that to grow as a Christian I should begin praying and reading the bible.  I remember thinking that I had no interest in either, but I went home and fell in love with God’s Word almost immediately.  

The last five plus years have been an amazing time in my life.  God began bringing about changes in my life and changing me almost immediately.  I had been listening to angry and aggressive music since I was a teenager, but shortly after receiving Christ I remember feeling convicted whenever I would listen to that type of music.  I quickly went out and bought some music produced by Christian artists to replace my old collection.    By God’s grace, I have also been able to stop some other extremely destructive and selfish habits in my life.  

Shortly after becoming a Christian I attended my first Celebrate Recovery meeting at this church.  I made some friends quickly, but my biggest struggle continued to be with anxiety.  I prayed for healing, but it wasn’t coming fast enough.  I continued attending Celebrate Recovery meetings, studying God’s Word and praying.  Were it not for our Celebrate Recovery leader, George Boals, repeatedly saying, “Don’t quit before your miracle happens,” I may have quit.  I also felt like I was one big disappointment to God.  I knew that as a Christian I was supposed to have “joy” and “peace”, but I couldn’t understand why I continued to struggle.    

A time eventually came in early 2007, however, when God showed me that, although I was spending a lot of time in His Word, I was not applying what I was reading.  It was in the application of His Word that God would begin to deliver me from my fears and anxieties.  

The first verse I memorized was Philippians 4: 6-7 which says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  I have begun using the weapons of praise, prayer, and God’s Word when engaging in spiritual warfare and God is slowly delivering me from my fears.  I realize now that I have the power to choose faith-filled thoughts right out of the bible.

The last year of my life has been the most exciting year of my life and probably the most challenging as well.  I still struggle with anxiety and it is a daily battle for me to trust God with my life.  In January of 2010, my boss at work offered me a promotion.  I did not ask for the promotion, nor did I want the promotion because I do not consider myself to be a leader, but I accepted the promotion, trusting and believing that it was God’s will for me.  

In March of 2010, I received a call from George, the ministry leader and founder of Celebrate Recovery at CRBC.  George explained to me that God had called him to plant a church in North Carolina and he asked me if I would take over the reins at Celebrate Recovery.  I told George that I would pray about it and, after praying, I felt that God was once again testing me to see if I would obey Him.  Of course, my answer to God was “Yes” despite my fears and feelings of inadequacy.  Now, with the help of a great team of CR leaders and volunteers, the Lord is using me to bless others at Celebrate Recovery like never before.  

At this point in time, I am so far out of my comfort zone it is not even funny.  I firmly believe that God is healing me while at the same time using me to help others down the road to recovery.  I used to wonder when and if my miracle would ever happen, but I have come to realize that my miracle has already happened.  The miracle is that God’s grace is sufficient for me and His power is made perfect in my weakness.  The miracle is that, although God has chosen not to remove my “thorn in the flesh” – anxiety – He is using my weakness to bring about a greater dependence upon Him.  I am even able to thank God for my mental and emotional struggles on occasion because they serve to draw me closer to God.    

Thanks to God my life is fantastically different today.  The scripture 2 Corinthians 5:17 comes to mind, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away behold all things have become new.”  Put simply, I have been reborn and I will not bow down to fear.  I am not perfect, but I have found myself sinning less and my relationships with my family, friends, and coworkers are blossoming.  Faith, hope, and love are my new values and my goals in life are to walk daily with God and to become more like my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It seems there is no end to the closeness we can have with the Lord and another one of my goals is to remain in His presence at all times.

To the newcomer my advice is keep coming back.  Jesus said, “Come to me” and He meant it.  Come as you are and marvel as the Lord changes you.  I encourage you to make a conscious decision to put the Lord first in your life and make attendance at recovery meetings a priority.  When you put your recovery in God’s hands, He will bring about changes in you and all of the glory is His.  As one of my favorite Christian authors says, “If we do what we can do, God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”  Let me encourage you to do something – keep coming.  The good Lord made you, He loves you beyond measure, and He can save you.  Please know this as well, I care about you and I would like to be your friend.  


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Last updated 4/14/11