I grew up in a normal household. My parents worked hard, they provided for my sister, two brothers, and me. One of my brothers is a family man and conservative in his lifestyle. The other brother is fun and adventurous, which is the type of lifestyle I liked. I wanted to do things my way, in my timing and to have maximum fun at all times. This leaves little room for school work, work in general, and the things of God.
I started cheating in school around high school. I wanted good grades without effort, so cheating seemed the path to take. That will not help you in the long run though, which Christ has shown me of late. I started to drink and use drugs at the age of 19. I used to be the designated driver, then I would drink a beer for a few weeks, which progressed to getting drunk. A short time later I smoked marijuana and right after that tried cocaine. I did not become an addict overnight, but that snow ball started to roll down the hill and the pace quickened very rapidly. Before I knew it I could not quit. I tried to quit for about seven years, but was never successful. Overall I was addicted for 10 years and was a degenerate gambler in addition to the drug use. I loved sin more than God, more than my family and more than anyone else.
Around 26 I started to go to an Evangelical Free church. The pastor had a big heart for addicts and we began a one on one Bible study for about six months. I went to that church for three years. Pastor Craig is the one who told me about Heartland. It took me approximately three months before I was ready to come into the program.
I would like to say I hit the door running for God when I came to the Men’s Recovery Center in July of 2010, but that is not the case. I had a lot of issues that I never dealt with for many years, namely, trying to impress people and giving in to my feelings instead of the truth. God has shown me that His forgiveness is instantaneous, but the sanctification process takes a while. It started with baby steps. I started with achievable goals. I obeyed the little rules; for example, shaving, making my bed and turning the lights out when I was not in the room. However, the little rules add up to being obedient to the authorities God has placed in your life.
I found one thing to start out with. I gave God my best effort at work, which is something I never did before. I missed 40 plus days of work the year before I came into Heartland and when I did actually make it to work I slept through my shift; I loved doing my own thing. However, when I came to Heartland I made a choice to give God everything I had. I had given the world everything I had and things did not work out as I planned, so I put that same level of intensity into serving God.
Then I started to let God help me with my poor attitude. I was a pretty nice guy until somebody disagreed with me, then I would argue with them until I was blue in the face. Not too many people listen to you when you are like sandpaper. The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NASB Proverbs 15:1). So I started to apply that principle in my life and amazingly my relationships started to improve. Doing things God’s way works!
Now I am learning to wait on the Lord, however, it is not happening quickly enough for me (smile). This is a process that requires a lot of trust. Having faith and trusting in God for every area of your life is difficult because I want to help God. However, I know this would be a mistake. God does not have a plan B, so I can be confident and let God work out His will in my life. One thing you will not hear from God is “oops.” God knows what He is doing and can be trusted! The enjoyable thing about letting God move is to see how He will accomplish His plan. I guarantee it is not how I would do it. The Bible says “His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts” (NASB Isaiah 55:9). Therefore, I will continue to fear the Lord as I walk out this life. When I used to play poker, I put all my money into the middle of a table when I thought I had the best hand. Now I have put everything in the middle and trust that Jesus will never put me to shame!
Scott is on staff at the Heartland Men’s Recovery Program and is studying a bit differently these days. He is enrolled at Heartland Christian College, where it’s not just good grades he is after, but being equipped and ready for whatever God calls him to do.