by Adam Hofer
I often think of a man whom I invested in a couple of years ago. He was a Native American man fresh out of prison and was struggling with meth and alcohol addiction at a local treatment center. He came in initially for a bicycle. Yet, he kept coming back to the Center of Hope to speak with me in my office. On the surface level, he was an unemployed addict. On a deeper level, he was a man struggling with the traumas of his youth and the generational sin of addiction. He was told from a young age that he was worthless and was treated brutally by his family. He was introduced to alcohol before his teenage years began and has been struggling with addiction ever since. He once told me that he used to wake up on the streets of Rapid City and the first thought he had was where he was going to find the money for more alcohol. Thankfully, we celebrated his one year of sobriety together and connected him with full-time work. He was doing well. We spoke of his life and how he was to deal with his traumas in healthy ways. More importantly, we spoke of his walk with God. Yet, the hardest challenge for him was getting past his self-hatred. We spoke extensively about his negative outlook of himself. When you are taught to hate yourself from a young age, getting out of that mindset is difficult. He understood that God loved him deeply and that He died on the cross for him. Yet, he did not love himself. When he got out of the treatment center, he immediately fell back into addiction and disappeared from view. I was reminded that there was a vast difference between compliance and surrender.
Even though he fell back into addiction, I do not view my time with him as a failure. Ministry work is difficult. I wish the process was clear-cut. Yet, ministry work is not a sprint; it is a marathon. I am confident that when he resurfaces, he will come back to the Center of Hope to speak with me. When he does, we will begin where we left off as I do with so many other guests.
As we approach the Christmas season, I want you to remember to love yourself. You are uniquely made by a God who loves you deeply. There is only one you and there will only ever be one you throughout all of history. You were made for the times we are in now and are made for a purpose. You are to love God and others in your own way and give God glory through everything you do. In addition to loving yourself, you are to open people’s eyes to their own uniqueness and to celebrate with them their unique purpose.