Winning at the Wrong Things


Video Caption: In this episode of the Two Equals One Podcast, Jimmy is telling his story. As a pastor who from the outside was winning in every category, inside he was empty and hurting, unsure if he could really be honest about what was going on. If you are winning at the wrong things, then you are losing at the right things.

Video Transcript:

What no one knew was that although 555 people got saved, there was one who was still lost. It was me. Mm-hmm no one knew that the first time I saw you that Easter that week was at church because I was staying in a hotel because of our fighting mm-hmm. no one. And I remember walking off the stage, everyone’s winning, let’s post the numbers.

Let’s da da, da, da, da. And I went back to the green room and I cried my eyes out. And I said, I can’t do this anymore. We believe that the best gospel that you can live and exemplify is one that is of a healthy, thriving.

But that has not always been our story. I couldn’t keep up with who I pretended to be the shame overshadowed in masked reality, this marriage is off. I want a divorce. I began to abuse alcohol. I was overwhelmed with rage here. I am a pastor preaching sermons that are supposed to set someone free, but yet I felt bound myself.

You don’t have to live in the pain that you’ve been living in help was so close. It was so close. Join us. We unravel our story of addiction, redemption and triumph in our marriage. This is our story.

I mean, it all started from a very young age. Mm-hmm . My dad was the prison warden at the Maryland state penitentiary. So, you know, he ruled with kind of that iron fist, like you didn’t cross him, you, you know he was at work all the time. Mm-hmm and we used to go down to church in an area that was like in the inner city, if you will, and do.

A lot of street ministry, and a lot of you know, helping the poor and helping you know, those who were less fortunate mm-hmm . And I remember my parents having this thought of being called the full-time ministry mm-hmm and I literally was like, We’re in church already all the time. Yeah. Like what does full time ministry mean?

And I had no idea that God was writing on their heart, a vision for what became their church, living waters, worship center ministry. It was almost like back then to me, what I made up is ministry was more important than family mm-hmm and it’s not that we didn’t have a good family life, but ministry and family life were just.

Yeah. So I thought that that’s the way it’s supposed to be. When our ministry was winning, our family was winning mm-hmm when our ministry was losing, our family was losing. So I grew up with this now that I know false expectation. Mm-hmm that ministry life meant you didn’t deal with real life until real life started happening.

And I remember kind of real life happening for my parents. Mm. but they kind of shielded us from fights mm-hmm they kind of shielded us from dysfunction, if you will. Mm-hmm , you know, we were so busy helping everyone else. Now that I know we were neglecting us. Yeah. And I think that started me down this path of perfection.

Hmm. When brokenness started to be revealed on us, both mm-hmm I didn’t know how to fix it because the first thing of fixing it is being honest. and how are you going to be honest as a pastor, people who were honest, got in ministry trouble. I remember asking you, like, you mean, you would say this out loud, Jimmy, like you’re gonna get fired.

Aren’t you like? That was something that, yeah, I just thought would happen if we got real. I was hurting. Yeah. I was broken. My insecurities showed up in our family. My insecurities showed up and then when I am. Medicating with food. Mm-hmm my weight went out of control. Yeah. Remember it went from like 300 to three 50 to 400 in a matter of like a year.

Yeah. Gain a hundred pounds in a year. I was unhealthy. And the crazy thing is is church. People were telling me, I looked good. It, they remember how mad you get. I would get so angry. I’m like, why are they lying to you? Like trying to pump your head up, trying to validate you when that wasn’t even the truth, like you weren’t in a healthy place and it broke my heart to see the impact that your relationship with your mom had on you.

Like the manifestation was your anger, your mood. And you’re beginning to medicate with more with food, the more unhappy you got with your emotional connection with your mom, the more weight you gained. Yeah. And it went unaddressed for so long and just watching you self destruct. Yeah. For lack of a better word was really painful.

And to be. I felt like me and the kids got the brunt you did, of your anger, about your inability to meet your mom’s expectations, the you guys and the staff. Yeah. Everyone who was close to me. And I, and I, I just had this thought we had no fun. Yeah. It, it’s no fun being 420 pounds. Right. It’s no fun, you know, not being able to take off your shirt in.

Mm-hmm like, I couldn’t take off my shirt in public, cuz I couldn’t be real with myself in private. Yeah. I didn’t like me. Mm-hmm but I wanted everyone else to like me. Mm-hmm. I think a lot of guys were born with this thing to conquer and were born with this, you know, it can be equality in some areas, but to win mm-hmm

And because I felt like I wasn’t winning. mm-hmm I started overcompensating. So I’d find the areas that I would was good at and just I’m gonna crush it in those areas. Mm-hmm so I don’t have to acknowledge the areas that I suck at mm-hmm or the areas that I’m bad at mm-hmm . And so I overcompensated in church.

I was winning there. I could preach to thousands, but couldn’t talk to the four who lived in my house because when I would come home, I would have to face the reality that I wasn’t winning at the right thing. Mm-hmm who wants to face that? That was me. Mm-hmm and my medicating became success. My medicating was food.

And I wanna pause right here because this food addiction thing is real. It is. And I remember you asking me on Fridays, where are we going to eat? And what you didn’t know was me growing up. Mm-hmm we had nothing and Fridays was my dad’s payday. and Friday was Chinese food night. Yeah. And it was shrimp, egg Fu young.

And it was just like shrimp and this egg with this gravy. And I don’t even like eggs. Right. What I had no idea is I would crave that same thing. Mm-hmm every Friday, especially when I was losing, cuz Friday was like payday mm-hmm and I remember after preach. It’s payday. Let’s get shrimp egg for Y Hmm. I remember after, you know even getting tax return, what are we gonna eat?

Shrimp egg for Y I was trying to feed something mm-hmm from who I used to be. And the external weight was an indication of the internal weight. Mm-hmm emotional trauma, emotional issue. You know, growing up with a D D let me let, lemme throw that. H N a little bit about like a, I had to be doing so. and that showed up even in our marriage, trying to fix everything, trying to, I could not rest and have peace that God was in control.

I had to be in control because I didn’t know who I was when there was not a crowd. Right. I didn’t know. Who I was when there wasn’t a congregation or there wasn’t a staff. Mm-hmm I think it was toxic mm-hmm I think the success and the crowds mm-hmm and the accolades. Yeah. And the followers mm-hmm was toxic.

And this is really before Instagram and all that was really a big deal. Mm-hmm it was, you know, man, you preached a good message, pastor, can you pray for me? Yeah, it was the need to be needed. Hmm. And when I had this need to be needed when I wasn’t needed, I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t realize when you have the mindset or this ideology of a need to be needed.

You don’t know who you are when no one is around. Wow. And I would always try to avoid not, I would always try to avoid being alone. Mm-hmm cause I had to deal with the fact that I don’t know who I am. Yeah. Outside of what I do outside of what you do. I, I had this thought that worshiping God was working for God and I didn’t really have a true intimate relationship with Jesus leading a church.

Right. It’s even embarrassing to. Hmm. I CA I got caught up in the profession, not the presence of God. Wow. The profession of doing things for God. Mm-hmm so this occupational hazard of a bad marriage, I didn’t know who I was. And I remember saying, okay. if I leave Irene, I lose my job. If I stay married to Irene, I’m gonna lose my mind and then I’m gonna lose my job.

So, which was I going to do in my mind? I would rather leave ministry mm-hmm than work at family. it’s crazy. Mm-hmm , it’s crazy. We, we always say this that, you know, when someone is dealing with an addiction, the whole family is dealing with the addiction. Right? Right. I, I had addictions mm-hmm I was addicted to negative thoughts, resulted in negative words and negative words resulted in me walking out things that I was speaking over.

yeah, this marriage, ain’t never gonna work this. You’re never gonna change. I’m never gonna, I am who I am, who says that, right. I just got so tired of being fake and phony. I can’t do nothing now, but be. real mm-hmm and I think where things started to go wrong is this thought I was so busy trying to not be something that I didn’t know what God was calling me to be.

And so here I am. not knowing why, how didn’t know how to say I need help. Mm-hmm and the same thing was playing out in our relationship. Yeah, the, the go-to was anger. Yeah. I’m just gonna cus. I’m just gonna punch a hole on the wall. I’m just gonna drive fast. I’m just gonna leave the house. I am gonna take my kickball and go home, so I don’t have to deal with me.

So here we are hurting. Internally, our emotions are all over the place because we are in pain from the wound of the relational issues with your mom. Then we are leading this church. We have our own issues where we’ve introduced alcohol and compromised. Our value system relationship is deteriorating at this point.

It’s Easter Sunday. Talk a little bit about the. Dichotomy of Sunday, Easter Sunday. And what was really going on behind the scenes? Well, my relationship with my parents were, was fractured. My relationship with you was fractured. All at the same time, the church is exploding. We do a huge Easter 2012. Yeah.

It’s the first year of being a lead pastor. Our church grew from 250 people to over 1200 people. We’re gonna do, we’re gonna do it at the high school. We do it. The high school, 3000 people show up another 3000 outside at this Easter egg. That I was told that that’s what I should be doing. And here I am, I’ve reached a pinnacle of success.

What no one knew was that although 555 people got saved, there was one who was still lost. It was me. No one knew that the first time I saw you that Easter that week was at church because I was staying in a. Because of our fighting. No one knew it. And I remember walking off the stage, everyone’s winning, let’s post the numbers.

Let’s da, da, da, da, da. And I went back to the green room and I cried my eyes out. And I said, I can’t do this anymore. And that was when I sent our pastor one of our overseers, a letter and said everything. And I. It was the first time I was a hundred percent honest and real with anybody mm-hmm including myself.

What was the outcome of that? I found that being a hundred percent honest, resulted in a hundred percent grace. Wow. And that’s when we landed on the ideas that I would always be as sick as my secret. . And I remember having the biggest speaking opportunity like of my ministry career. And I was so tired of being of pretending and being phony.

I called and said, I can’t come. Yeah, that was pastor Rick’s church. Yeah. And I remember calling him and saying, Hey, things are bad. And he says, oh, I know. And he is like, Jimmy, you’re always complaining. He was like, Jimmy. And I was like, whoa. And he said this, he said, I’m tired of hearing you complaining about things.

You have the ability to fix. Hm. And he said to me, you will never have the wife you want until you learn to love the wife. You have. and I just paused and I said, well, how do I do that? How do I love this person? And I started going down all the things that you were doing. Mm-hmm and that’s, when, if I’m honest, I started to get this idea of maybe I’m the blueprint.

for your healing. You’ll never have the wife you want until you learn to love the wife you have. Wow. Mm-hmm . I have to love our marriage, right? Where it is. I have to love you, right where you are. I have to love me right? Where I. The preacher in me was now gonna live out the greatest message he’s ever preached.

it’s called a healthy marriage. and that’s when we began the road to repair, we were going to counseling, you know three times a week. Mm-hmm we went to two weeks of an intensive that we had one of the biggest fights yeah. That we’ve ever had marriage intensive marriage intensive. And remember, I, it was so bad.

I went and got another hotel room. Yeah. And we had no money. Like we had nothing. I remember calling my dad, like this is over. And he’s like, no, this is a part of the process. Right. And so going through that sabbatical, I started getting hope mm-hmm that maybe we can recover. Yeah. Going through that sabbatical, I started not to miss ministry.

Mm-hmm going through that sabbatical. I think God. begin to change my appetite. Mm-hmm for what I lived for. Didn’t live for the applause of people. I remember you saying at one of the counseling sessions, you says, no one is a man of God until their family can say it. I’m telling you. I remember that moment.

I remember I was like, no, literally until I can say and speak to your character. and who you are at home? Yeah. Like that’s don’t believe any, all, any of the hype. Yeah. Don’t believe what you hear on stage or what anybody else tells you until you hear me say it. It’s not real. Yeah. Because I’m the one that lives with you.

Yeah. And so I remember going through all of those sessions and. Dealing with my stuff. And you know just really trying not to medicate mm-hmm, going on a fast, you know, to fast, you know, looking at anything on my phone or fast my phone period and not having meetings. And, and it felt, it felt like freedom and I started to get.

You know, started to get hope when you know, you, you didn’t drink for a while. Well, I didn’t see the symptoms, so I didn’t see, see the hazy eyes or the, you know, or the slurred language, you know, for a couple months. And it was gonna culminate with this trip to Hawaii. Like, we’re gonna put a period on the end of this.

We’re gonna stamp this with the seal that we are ready to tackle marriage and, and now ministry and our kids. And I’m gonna preach a word about rest. When I come back to our church about soul care and it was. I just couldn’t wait for this trip. It was like an culminated all, and I was gonna play golf and we were gonna go to the spa and we were gonna do a luau.

And and I remember even packing for all of this trip that was gonna end this season of, of, of really just stress and strife and, and really start to thrive again. And but we found out that that was still only the beginning. It was just the.

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