Monday, October 24, 2016

All Fired Up

         Jeff* always wanted to be a firefighter. His Dad was a firefighter and inspired Jeff to make that his life’s goal. He grew up going to church with his grandparents. He remembers a sermon on John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world, that He sent his only Son, that  whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

He responded to that message by getting baptized and he thought everything was good for his life and eternity. He thought he could do whatever he wanted and every time he got in trouble, he would remind himself of that verse, and felt like he was okay.

         He lived however he wanted to. He partied, drank and smoked weed all the time. He was pulled over by the police four or five times, but was never given a ticket. They made him get out of the car and called someone to pick him up. He knew what he was doing was wrong. But he kept going back to John 3:16. He believed in God, so he was good. He went to church at Christmas and Easter.

         After high school, Jeff attended the community college. He passed the firefighter test but was never selected to join the Fire Academy. It seemed like only those who           
had a connection were selected, and Jeff’s father served in another state and was retired due to an injury. He became angry at God, for not giving him what he wanted in a career, and turned away from Him.

         In his early 20’s, he started fighting for money. He went to underground street fights and used the anger he had at God and his life and took it out on his opponents. After five years, He was finally chosen to go into the Fire Academy. He attended for ten weeks, then tore his ACL and had to drop out.

         This made him more angry, and he started partying and fighting again. He had a lot of rage inside him and this helped when he fought. He heard they were hiring in Los Angeles, so he moved there to see if he could get hired. Before he moved out of state, he met a woman, named Anita, at a wine festival. Only she did not drink. Her friends drank, but she told Jeff alcoholism ran in her family, and she knew she needed to stay away from it.

         When Jeff did not get hired in Los Angeles, he decided to move back home to date Anita. When he returned things were very different. Because she owned her own house, it was the place for people to hang out and party. Jeff noticed right away that she was drinking with her friends. He really liked her, so he moved in with her but she drank more and more.

         He tried out again for the Fire Academy, and a Commander told him he was going to be selected. He knew it was his last chance to accomplish his dream, and he could not get in any trouble. A rough crowd was hanging out at the house, gang members and drug dealers. When Jeff found cocaine in the house, he knew it had to stop. He stopped partying and tried to keep dangerous people from coming into the house.

         Anita started drinking more and would come home drunk with her car dinged up. Jeff tried to get her to stop drinking. He finally made it into the Fire Academy, and Anita was waitressing at restaurants and bars. Many times she didn’t come home and Jeff would get paranoid that she was dead and go out late at night looking for her. Several times she was passed out in her car in the parking where she worked. He told her she needed to stop drinking or he was going to leave. 
         The final straw happened when he picked her up passed out and drunk. When she woke up in his car she wanted to go back to the bar. He told her no, and she opened the door at an intersection and ran out of his car. He moved out of her house the next day. Within the week a neighbor called 911, because they thought she was dead in her car in the driveway. The fire department was the first to help her. Jeff knew he would never get hired, had he been living in the house at the time.  He decided to stay away from her because he didn’t want to get in trouble and blow his chances of accomplishing his goal.
         Two weeks after he graduated from the Academy, and four weeks after moving out of her house, Anita called and told him she was pregnant.

 Have you ever relied on a verse or the fact that you believed in God, to live anyway you wanted? What changed you?  

(Click here for Part 2)

*Names changed. 

This is part of a series called 31 Days of Change. To read others in this series, click the links below. 
Click here to read about Hearing God.

Day 1:   He Did What?!
Day 9:   Depression to Joy
Day 12:  Holding His Hand
Day 13:  Changed
Day 17:  Never the Same
Day 18:  The C Word
Day 19:  Punk to Pastor
Day 23:
Day 24:  All Fired Up
Day 29:  Brian Singing "Worn"
Day 30:
Day 31:


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