The man I hated doesn’t know me…
I doubt he even knows I exist. But, for a long time, I fantasized about meeting him. And when did, I figured I would punch him in the face.
I’m not going to tell you his name. That wouldn’t be smart. Let’s just call him Mr. X.
If I told you what he did, I think you might understand why I hated him. But let’s not go there. Let’s just say he hurt someone in my family—and leave it at that.
Somehow, I couldn’t get Mr. X out of my brain. Day and night I thought about what he did. It played over and over in my head. It was tearing me up inside. I couldn’t sleep. My wife thought I was going crazy. I couldn’t hardly think straight.
Logically, I knew this was stupid. I knew my mind was stuck on a self destructive loop. I even said to myself, “Dwight, snap out of it.”
But somehow I couldn’t snap out of it.
I was trapped. Prayer didn’t help. Trying to forgive didn’t help. Long conversations with my wife in the middle of the night didn’t help. Those conversations went no where. There was no reasoning with me. There was no consoling me. She tried her best, but like me, she was exhausted. All she wanted to do was get some sleep.
She kept falling asleep in the middle of these useless discussions (who could blame her?), and I finally stopped waking her back up. I just sat up in bed and stared at the clock, watching the minutes slowly tick by until sunrise.
I was so sleep deprived that I would catch myself dreaming as I drove down the road. Have you ever experienced that? Micro-dreams, I think they call them. I knew it wasn’t safe. I knew I shouldn’t be driving in that condition. “You gotta wake up,” I told myself. “Dwight, you gotta wake up.”
On top of this, we had four little children who needed my presence in their lives. Every night, I sat them down to read them a bedtimes story. And almost every night the same thing happened. Before I reached the end, they were jabbing me in the arm. “Daddy,” they said. “Daddy, wake up and finish the story.”
Finally, after much prodding from my wife, I found myself sitting in the office of a Christian counselor.
That didn’t go well. Mr. Christian Counselor started things off by handing me a questionnaire asking for all kinds of personal information like how often I had sex with my wife. I’m like, “Buddy, you haven’t established a right to know any of this.” Then he sat me down in a low chair while he sat in a great big chair towering over me, and from there he looked at me like I was his latest specimen. I guess you could say there was zero chemistry in that relationship.
He said he could teach me to forgive, but it would take about 15 sessions. He was giving me his discount rate of $120 per hour. So do the math. $1,800.00. And I didn’t even want to forgive. I just wanted somebody to change the past, but the past couldn’t be changed. I was stuck. This was going nowhere.
Did you ever have problems that just won’t go away?
Ever try to solve a problem over and over again, but nothing you try ever works? I sure have.
Mr. X was just one of my problems.
• Three different businesses failed. One time I worked an entire year without making any money.
• One of those business failures left me homeless with a wife and a little child.
• That same child was born with birth defects and I had no health insurance to pay for the needed surgery.
• Someone who was like a mom to me died of cancer.
• Someone I loved was raped.
• I went bankrupt.
• I couldn’t sit at a kitchen table without shaking. I couldn’t relax, like ever, even when I slept.
• Things were not going well in our marriage.
• Even my childhood was a mess. I got bullied at school. I got bullied at home. And I got bullied on the way to and from school. It felt like there were no safe places.
• On top of all of this, my wife started experiencing crippling panic attacks.
It started when she was pregnant with second child. One night she woke up at 2:30 in the morning and said to me, “Dwight, I can’t breathe.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, trying to wake up.
“I can’t breathe,” she gasped. I could see the panic in her eyes. She tore the blankets away, jumped out of bed, raced down the hall, and pressed her face up to the window air conditioner in the living room. She stood there for a long time with her chest heaving as she forced oxygen into her lungs.
Okay. We went back to bed. Hopefully, this is a one-time thing.
Hopefully, this will never happen again.
Pretty soon she was having these episodes night and day. She couldn’t stay inside because it was too claustrophobic. But she couldn’t go outside because she couldn’t stand to have miles and miles of atmosphere pressing down on her.
The doctor gave these experiences a name: panic attacks. And, without medication, Kim’s panic was almost 24/7.
Can you see how we’d be desperate for solutions? So search we did, even though our friends and family didn’t understand. We looked everywhere, and tried almost everything…
Want a list of what we tried?
- Pretending everything was okay. (Isn’t that what most of us do, I mean, if we’re really honest?)
- Christian counseling. (Where we go when we Christians have problems we don’t want anybody to know anything about)
- Prayer. Why does God seem to ignore so many prayers? (I later found answers to that question, but I sure couldn’t figure it out at the time.)
- Positive confessions, affirmations. “Say it like you mean it!” I guess that was the trouble. I didn’t. Mean it. How could I? My world was falling apart…
- Primal therapy. I could write a book about that experience.
- Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). Seemed like it really ought to solve everything, but it didn’t.
- Hypnotherapy. “Just relax…” (I’m laughing out loud as I write this.)
- Medication. (Maybe it’s brain chemistry.)
- Personal prophecies. I gotta say that was fun. Not sure I recommend it—it has the potential of going wrong in a big, big way, but it was fun.
After decades of searching, we finally experienced our breakthrough…
Everything we tried helped a little. But we never experienced our big breakthrough until one of our old therapists mailed us a cassette tape. And that little cassette tape changed our lives.
I’m not sure we even listened to it at first. It might have sat around our house for months. But one day Kim was doing some housework, and she popped this cassette tape into a player and started listening. By the time it finished, she was begging me to listen to it too. (Sometimes the answer you’re looking for is right in front of you!)
Wow! If even half of what we heard on that tape was true, we had to check it out.
The tape said that God could change our core beliefs, those things that felt true, deep down, those things that control how we experience life. The tape said Kim could be free of panic. I could be free of the mind trap I was in—in the place of anger and anxiety, I could have peace.
It involved some kind of prayer, but different from any kind of prayer I had ever tried or experienced. We needed to find someone who knew how to do it. So we started our search.
A couple weeks later, we found Steve. Two days after the 9/11 attacks, we sat in his office. I spent the first hour grilling him. I wanted to make sure he was the real deal. When I decided he was safe, I stepped out of the room so he could pray with Kim.
A half hour later, Kim’s panic was gone. She didn’t have another panic attack for months, and has had only a handful in all the years from 2001 to present. Her need for medication went from a 9 to a 2.
This half hour on September 13, 2001 started a journey for us. We started meeting with God in a way we had never experienced before. In those meetings, we discovered a God who really, really likes us. And every time we meet with Him this way, we go away changed—stronger, healthier on the inside, more at peace, more whole, more put together.
What’s the result?
• Mr. X no longer bothers me. At all. In fact, I hardly ever think about him. When I do, I’m okay. I don’t need anything from him to be deeply at peace inside. And, no, I have no desire to punch him any more. I understand why he did what he did. Who knows? If I were in his shoes, I might have done the same thing. Or worse. That doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t make it okay. But I’m okay.
• Kim almost never experiences anxiety or panic attacks. Never say never, but the difference is night and day.
• I almost never worry about money. I even did a real estate deal that everybody thought was impossible. Without having a dime, I bought a million dollar property. Later I sold it. And no, I didn’t get rich, but I walked away with enough money to get out of debt and to put a substantial down payment on a new home.
• Our marriage is like 600% better. Wow. We like each other so much. We love hanging out together. We respect each other. We trust each other. More than ever before, we understand and love each other.
• I don’t shake any more when I’m sitting at the kitchen table. In fact, I’m so much more relaxed, at peace, okay inside. Again, night and day.
• My anger dissolved. I used to get angry a lot. I was always trying to control my anger around my family, often apologizing to my kids and my wife for losing my temper. That completely went away. I don’t need to TRY to control my anger any more. It just isn’t there. It’s gone.
• My relationship with God has come alive. Years ago, God felt remote, aloof, uncaring, unfeeling to me. That has totally turned around.
I have a name for all of this. I call it INNER WEALTH.
I’ve experienced INNER WEALTH, and you can too. I’ll show you how.