Finding Courage and Finding Purpose
In with the in-crowd - check!
4A-state championship golfer - check!
Winning golf championships across the country - check!
Growing up in Edmond, Oklahoma - check!
Son of a two doctors, brother of another doctor - check, check!
Went to college - check!
Excelled in college - check!
Graduated from University of Arkansas - check! (For all our UA fans, don't hold back. We know you're already yelling, "Woo Pig Sooie!")
By the looks of it, it's the recipe for success.
If anyone seems to have it all together, it's Jordan.
All the tournaments won. All the grades achieved. All the degrees earned.
All the boxes checked.
...If only that's all that mattered.
Sometimes the surface is not a true reflection of the person. Sometimes, often times, it's a mask, hiding the inner struggles and matters of the heart.
Sometimes there's a lot more beneath the surface if we dare have the courage to look.
As you already know, Jordan grew up playing golf in Oklahoma. He had a supportive family and resources to help him chase after his dreams.
But somewhere in the chase, his passions were derailed.
His passions were derailed because his focus was deflected.
It started early for Jordan. What began as a desire to be "in," quickly took him out of the running for everything he really wanted.
Trapped by peer pressure and seeking validation, he found himself experimenting with drugs as early as middle school. Smoking marijuana as an 8th grader, soon, the reputation of the "bad boy" followed.
Six months out of high school, he found himself dependent on opiates.
Some time passed and he was doing better in Arkansas, but returning home with the pressures of how success was measured, he felt he just couldn't live up.
It was a matter of time and he was dependent on opiates again.
In 2019, things began to change for the better. His focus and the vision of the life he wanted to live was renewed. He told his parents he was done with this lifestyle.
After treatment, he was led to Wichita, Kansas and hope entered his life with Hope Is Alive.
Ever found yourself going through the motions? That was Jordan. Sure, he was attending the meetings but not really there. His body was there, but his heart was not.
He was caught in the trap of justification, believing somehow his drug addiction was "fancier and more sophisticated" than that of the men around him and convincing himself he had a "high bottom." He admits,
"[I'd] show up but not really standing in my shoes...Not really having conversations with people. It was all small banter talk. Not deep, meaningful conversations of how I’m really doing."
How often do we hide behind small talk? We're afraid to go deep. We're afraid of what they might find there. We're afraid of what we might find there. We're afraid someone might see the real us.
Then, again, his focus shifted. Looking around, he noticed how some were staying sober while he was struggling.
Within Hope Is Alive, he noticed something else. He noticed a sense of brotherhood. He was invited into this community. He was invited into this band of brothers, but the choice remained his to make.
Would he let them love him?
Would he be vulnerable?
Vulnerability is such a scary word. Just attempting to say the word itself can leave you pale with cotton-mouth; no voice, let alone words to speak.
He found the courage and took the plunge, slowly but surely building a sense of community with these guys. To his surprise, the days in the house seemed to fly by.
For a recovering addict, it's common for days to feel like months - the mental strain to seek out something for relief, the physical toll on the body. Seeking relief in a substance, it's an unending and time-consuming strain.
Thoughts and worries consume you. How do I find relief? Where will the money come from?
Then, he noticed yet something else. The days were flying by and his relief was not coming from a substance but from substance itself.
The relief he was desperately seeking was found in connecting and talking to people, even if all he could muster were a couple words.
Jordan reminds us,
"It's an essential, basic human need. Get real for 10 seconds - if I can be open for 5-10 seconds, that's all it takes."
Seeing his mom walk in her own path to sobriety and find God, he saw the dynamic of his whole family change. He experienced the impact one life can have on the lives of others.
"It rubs off. It's like tracking mud through the house."
You can't ignore it. You can't unsee it. You can't just let it be.
When you come close, you get it on you, too. It rubs off on you and everywhere you go, too.
Growing up in Catholic schools, He knew of God, but he admits his faith was mostly a crutch that looked good on the outside, a "Rockwell-esque status quo."
"It wasn’t until Mom got sober that she found faith. I saw her change completely. It took me awhile to come around to it. I think I was more resentful, maybe even envious of seeing someone else doing good. I was not sure how to digest what was going on yet. I thought, 'Wow. This person has really changed. Maybe I can do that.' I was always looking for God but looking for a miracle. I needed to see it. Then, I got to see it ...in my mom."
The HIA house in Wichita not only provided the routine he needed but hosted the same guys in the house for the seven months, which is very rare. He experienced radical change in his own life.
"You definitely are not the same person you were the first month you were there."
During this time, he was able to step into his faith, doing Bible plans and reading scripture. One word to summarize his experience - Challenged.
He remembers feeling challenged and truly a part of the brotherhood.
"They were seeing something in me that I didn’t see myself. I fell into the groove of sobriety, and the obsession left."
Jordan knew he wanted to return to Oklahoma at some point in his life, but he had no idea what God had in store for him. With his story of addiction to freedom, God was going to use him for greater things.
A door opened for an HIA internship program which would lead him back to NW Arkansas, this time dealing hope.
And, he just knew.
It was not only where he wanted to be, but it was where he was supposed to be.
In that moment of peaceful certainty when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is what God has for us, we can be certain of something else, too. The enemy is going to pounce!
That's just what he did to Jordan, too.
The thing the enemy hates most is when we trust God. It sends him into a ravenous rage, throwing every sharp, pointed, fire-y dart our way.
If you're stepping out in faith, you're going to be attacked. It's as simple as that. But, let us remember our God is greater than any tactic of the enemy.
Often, the enemy's most strategic ammunition is disguised. It doesn't sound like fear at first. It sounds ...well, it sounds like us!
The lie Jordan kept hearing was,
“That's weird. You’re not qualified.”
That's why we have to take these thoughts captive. It's not us, and it's definitely not God speaking this to us. It's the voice of the enemy lying and trying to distract us from the path God has prepared uniquely for us.
Jordan spoke directly to the lie, repeating truth as many times as needed, until the voice of faith became louder than the voice of fear.
"I’m sober because of HIA and God. I AM QUALIFIED."
His qualification for this new purpose for his life did not come from his own doing. It came from God and the blessing of HIA in his life.
Armed with truth as his focus and the message of hope in his heart, he is now returning to NW Arkansas to help expand the ministry of Hope Is Alive and opening a new sober-living community.
He's excited and looking forward to seeing lives changed and introduce Arkansas to the culture of HIA - a culture rooted in constant encouragement and showing up.
Victories, big and small, are celebrated. When a 20-something gets a bank account for the first time, the men rally together and celebrate positive achievements and forward steps of progress.
"Small life goals such as these allow us to share victory and give us opportunities to feel good about ourselves."
The culture of HIA is contagious - you're surrounded by people who are working on themselves and walking out the gospel together. Thinking about this next adventure, he said,
"We have a lot of hope for Arkansas."
Why Now? Why Us? The timing of this couldn't be greater.
In the midst of the pandemic, there has been a huge influx of people struggling with addiction.
And, this makes sense.
Whether it's psychological or related to losing income or enduring a relationship strain, the reasons are easy to see. Maybe our eyes are opened and it's surfacing from close living conditions and quarantine. We're noticing behaviors that were previously easier to hide and were left unseen or not wanted to be seen. Now, they can't be denied.
In short, the pandemic is something we’ve never faced before. We're all feeling weary and burdened in different ways, wondering, "How can I deal with this?"
And, we all reach for something in these hard times to cope. For the addict and alcoholic, the most familiar way to cope is reaching for relief in the form of a substance or a drink.
Why is Hope Is Alive and ministries like it so important? Why shed a light on this?
It affects me.
It affects you.
Not one of us is above or left unaffected by addiction. Whether we ourselves struggle or it's someone we know, our world is craving relief. Our world is craving Hope.
And, my friend, Hope is alive. HE is alive!
He's in the business of restoring lives. If He did it for Jordan, He'll do it again. And again!
I'll leave you with a few more thoughts from our new friend, Jordan.
Find strength to take the time to put in today. Take the time to make the phone call; take the time to have the conversation. It will have an exponential impact on tomorrow. A lot of us live for tomorrow, some of us live for today, but none of us are promised those.
Find joy in freedom! Being as laid back and easy going as he is, Jordan was convinced he wouldn't - and couldn't - have fun sober. He said,
"I'm having SO much fun now!"
Find peace in being who God made you to be. Before, he thought he needed to be something or someone else to fit in. Now, he has the courage to be himself - fitting in without needing a drink.
Find rest in the victory that is already our's in Christ Jesus!
"...despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." - Romans 8:37
Let's claim this victory today and share this hope with those in our lives desperately looking for relief.
Want to learn more about Hope Is Alive?
Check it out here!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!