Identity Found—-Day #12 of the 30 day challenge to blog

This week hasn’t been an easy one. It’s been downright painful. The visual that pops through my head is from the movie Twister. The near-end scene where Hellen Hunt & Bill Paxton are tied to a pole with a belt, as the Tornado tears through the barn, and they are holding on for dear life. It’s been crazy, confusing, and painful. Yet, do you remember what happened in the tornado? When they were hanging on for dear life, in the middle of that thing…it was peaceful, and beautiful, and the astonishing things they saw in there were jaw-dropping.

I had a few of you text me, and send me some personal messages yesterday. Thank you. Some of you made me smile, some of you cheered me up, some of you encouraged me, and some of you had words that were anointed from the Great Divine himself. One imparticular I want to share with you. It was an old friend from college who’s now a therapist, and so my post yesterday struck a chord. And her words to me, at the very least, let me know I’m not alone. But there was two things she said in her message that brought me to my knees. One when she was describing God’s love for me and to me. She said…”You were destined for his love”. You know when you hear a great line, it stops you in your tracks? That doubled me over in astonishment and awe. I could live in that sentence for a week and still not recover. Can you imagine? To be able to not just read but experience that sentence. You were destined for God’s love.

The second thing that she said was, and I’m so beyond grateful she did, she said…don’t forget both you and your dad is precious to him. I needed that. It’s so easy to only see the bad in someone who’s hurt you. Who of us doesn’t do that? And I have to admit, the last few days it’s been hard to see the good in my Dad. I’ve only been looking at the bad. And when my long lost college buddy said that…deep in my soul I went, “Amen.” And not in some some cheesy christian pious goopy gross way. Like with the deepest parts of me, my soul cried out Amen…It was almost as if the little kid I mentioned yesterday who loves his Daddy…who misses his Daddy…who used to laugh so hard with his Daddy when he’d watch “Young Frankenstien”…or when his Daddy would cook these amazing steaks, baked potatoes…and we’d eat like kings…and sip our Dr. Peppers with delight….that kid was me…who would look forward to every other weekend to see him …and even when he wouldn’t show…when he did it made it that more special…because like a shooting star…you didn’t know when you’d catch it again. So you’d savor every second of it. So when I heard…”Your Dad is precious to God”…I went Amen…or translated into my slang…Hell yeah he is….

And Daddy, if you are reading this, or if someone ever reads this to you I’d like you to know that I agree with my friend. You are so precious in the eyes and heart of God. And he doesn’t just love you when you are good. He loves you when you are bad. Because his love for you isn’t dependent on your behavior. Yes your behavior hurts me. Yes your pride & selfishness has blinded you to think you are innocent and I’m the villain. And anyone who stands against you or disagrees with you is your enemy. But no matter how atrocious you are in your heart at times in how you treat me…I want you to know…that God is fond of you. That doesn’t mean he’s fond of your sin, and how you are a meanie head to me…no he’s fond of you because he loves you…and you will always be his little boy…and if you would just drop the “I did this…I didn’t do this” routine…and lay down your life in faith I think you might come to see how loved and more importantly how “precious” you truly are in his eyes. And when you do that, oh my earthly Daddy…you will finally be free..free from always having to be right all the time…free from pretending you did nothing wrong…ever….free from declaring yourself a saint with your right hand…and with your left hand slapping your loved ones with disgrace…and by your loved ones…i mean me. As I can’t speak for your other loved ones…and truly don’t know. Daddy, I do love you. And I do want a relationship with you. And I do forgive you. But at this time it’s still not healthy for me to have a relationship with you…I need to get a little healthier first. And even when I do I need to admit to you…while I’ll always love you and pray for you…I’m not sure I can have reconciliation and therefore a relationship with you…unless you’d meet me halfway and admit to your wrongdoing and stop being manipulative and twisting and turning the tables on me. It’s just crazyville & it’s not healthy for me to live there.

But that day may never come.

I woke up at 5AM this morning and I noticed my Dad emailed me. He never emails me. The last time he emailed me. I had to erase it a few hours later. Because I didn’t want the self-hatred side of me to read that email anymore. I won’t tell you what he said in there…but I’ll tell you this …most of us would’ve been done with anyone right then and there. It was that bad. My Dad told me that he was done with me. He told me that likely because I’m an actor. I’m a fake. I’m a fake on Facebook. And that I’m a hypocrite. Because I present myself And that he doesn’t know why I’m such a bad son, and I’m mean, insolent, and despicable. He said he went to block me on Facebook, but discovered I had already blocked him.

He must have forgotten my explanation for this. I told him just this week that I no longer want a relationship with him on social media…because for him he doesn’t use it as a supplement…but as a substitute for a relationship…and I’m not going to enable that. If he wants a relationship with me, it has to be real, and go beyond looking at pictures and status updates, and commenting on threads. He went on to tell me, he stopped notifications of me…because he was…and this is a quote “I was sick of you whining about Jimmy being your Dad when you have a real dad.” For those that don’t know Jimmy was my much older cousin who committed suicide when I was nine, and I can’t help it he meant a lot to me and was like a father figure to me. I still miss him and love him. My wife and I have a picture of him on our bookcase. Because I’ll never forget him. He taught me about Jesus and how to be honest about your pain, he loved Rock & Roll & his red leathered King James Bible, which still sits on my bookshelf.

I was going to try to paraphrase something else my Dad said…but I’ll just copy and paste it here:

From my Dad:

So you embody this down to earth Cool Balanced Christian Guy that has so many friends, but is totally estranged to his biological parents , Strangers you can do , your an actor, I am sure, your playing a part, is it real , your deeds don’t match your words …

Me talking:

First let me say. Thanks Dad. Second, I smiled when I read this and went…do you read my posts? “A down to earth Cool Balanced Christian Guy”…I don’t even know what to say to that…I’m just picturing myself talking to people like that…”Hello I’m david…let me tell you a little bit about myself…first I’m cool…I’m really cool…second you should know this upfront…I’m balanced. I balance everything. I like everything to be even-steven. And I should warn you if I”m ever near a Gym I will run inside and see if the have a balance beam…because I just want to know how balanced I really am…also know this I am a Christian…but not just any Christian…I’m a “Christian Guy”…just in case there was some gender confusion there…

Second he talked about how I have so many friends. I don’t think he knows how Facebook works. For some, yes, they limit it to friends. My wife still gets on me because I don’t turn down a Facebook request. And I don’t block you…unless you annoy me…or your my father. So most are just industry acquaintances really, and even more are strangers, and some are friends, and even fewer are close friends. But we live in this weird new world called social media where tons of people spend too much time. Why not be kind to each other and shoot the shit a little bit. We put up pictures of our kid, or talk about faith & politics…and all of us make fun of Kanye West. All of us.

Third. I’m totally estranged from my biological parents. This is true actually. And you can read my last post to understand why. But for brevity sake it’s this. I want to love them well and want them to come to know the love of God.

Fourth…”strangers I can do…I’m an actor”…Again, this makes me laugh. I’m just picturing an actor at a party in hollywood saying…”No, no, no I can’t be your friend…why because I know you…I only accept friends with strangers silly.”

And finally…”your deeds don’t match my words…” When I read this…my heart responded in two ways…first…I laughed of course and again went…man, he really never did read my blogs, or words not only from recently but ever….I’m always the first one to tell everyone how I’m the biggest screw up and disgusting sinner…and I think, at least so far in life, I’ve lived up to that quite well….And the second way my heart responded was I wanted to say this…so again Daddy, if you ever read this this message is for you.

Daddy,

you’re right my deeds don’t always match my words. You’re right to think of me as a sinner, and bad…but I want you to know…I’m not as bad as you think I am…I’m much worse. If you could get a spiritual microscope into the darkest parts of my heart…you would get it…I can honestly say I think I’m worse than you, worse than most. I frighten myself to know how bad I am. One can only wonder what God my heavenly Daddy thinks of me….does he think of me the way you do. Is he wagging his finger at me the way you do…is he making fun of me for whining about missing my cousin that committed suicide…and more importantly when he looks at me…does he look at me like you do…a hypocritical sinner that should be ashamed of myself…Luckily dad, I know the gospel of grace & Jesus…the same gospel I hope and pray you come to know…that really I pray the whole world comes to know…and because of that gospel I know exactly how God see’s me…and especially see’s my sin. Do you wanna know what he see’s? Dad. In regards to my sin, he see’s nothing. Why? Is God dumb? No of course not, God is loving. But my heavenly Daddy is my hero…and sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins…and Jesus by hero and my savior went to the cross and took all of the disgusting & hypocritical parts of me with him. And here’s the good news, when Jesus was raised to life three days later…Jesus did that to bring me new life…so now when my heavenly Daddy looks at me…he see’s me pure, & holy & righteous…not because I’ve earned these titles…because I certainly haven’t…but because they were given to me…paid with the blood of my hero: Jesus.

And now, nothing stands in the way, between God’s furious love and me. Everything that stood in the way, was taken care of by Jesus. So now I’m free. I am free to bask and delight in the one who finds me precious. Daddy, I want you to know that your heavenly Daddy finds you precious too, and if you’ve accepted the fact that you’re accepted and believe that Jesus died and rose again for your ugly & disgusting sins that you’ve committed to me…even as early as last nights email…I want you to be encouraged that God see’s you that way too…because even though our sins still continue to hurt each other…they aren’t really alive…they are walking zombies…they are dead..when God our father looks at you…he’s see’s his little Phil…and he loves the hell out of you…and will love the hell out of you if you will let him. You said you were done. So maybe it’s not Goodbye for now…maybe it’s Goodbye forever. Well, if that’s the case I want you to know I love you, but I can no longer live in the reality that you want me to live in…where everything is my fault and you are innocent…because the truth his , as my friend Dave Mullins says…”Hurt people, hurt people.” So the truth is…you’re not innocent, and neither am I. And anyone who is reading this, you’re not innocent either. None of us are. If we were…there would be no need for a messiah…no need for Jesus to have come into the world to rescue us from our sins. So Goodbye for now Dad, but know my heart…I hope it’s not forever.

I want to thank my friend PC for text me this yesterday…

“In reference to your post today and whether or not you should have written about it, Anne LaMott said, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

Now to the rest of you rascally ragamuffins that are still reading this. I think I’ve had my fill for the day of opening up my heart, and spilling my emotions…so let me do a little preaching…you don’t have to read…but I think it’ll get my mind off things…So here I go.

Do you know what has been my saving grace through this shit storm of a week? Yes , you know I’m going to say Jesus, but even more specifically I mean…finding my identity in Jesus.

You see I’m not David, the actor.
I’m not David, the filmmaker.
I’m not David, the comedian.
I’m not David, the writer.
I’m not David, the cussing Christian.
I’m not David, the guy who made the movie Ragamuffin.
I’m not David, the guy that rants & raves about Jesus.
I’m not David, the guy who has a hot wife. (although I do…meow)
I’m not David, the guy who has a daughter named Lucy.
I’m not David, the guy who has driven back and forth around the country preaching Jesus.
I’m not David, the guy who was in a movie with Chevy Chase.
I’m not David, the guy who spoke to Bill Murray on the phone.
I’m not David, the guy who joked with Mel Gibson in a vitamin store.
I’m not David, the guy who got a call back at an audition this week.
I’m not David, who has a degree in Christian Ministries.
I’m not David, who speaks about God’s love at churches, camps, and retreats.
I’m not David, who wants to be on Saturday Night Live.
I’m not David, who was in the final rounds of Mad TV, as a cast member in their last season.
I”m not David, who’s friends with Dave Mullins
I’m not David, who was abused by a cowboy, construction worker, and the kickboxer.
I’m not David, who likes to be a people pleaser.
I’m not David, the liar.
I’m not David, the angry.
I’m not David, the lustful.
I’m not David, the jerk.
I’m not David, the hypocrite.
I’m not David, the actor.
I’m not David, the depressed.
I’m not David, the suicidal.
I’m not David, the too sensitive.
I’m not David, the guy who talks to much.
I’m not David, the asshole.
I’m not David, the impatient.
I’m not David, sinner.

I’m none of those things. No matter what my Dad says. I’m not the good things that people say I am, and I’m not the bad things people say I am. I shouldn’t live in the praise of others, nor the hatred of the 30 year old who lives in his mom’s basement and puts a nasty comment on Youtube on one of the comment threads under my trailers for my movies. No matter how convincing he is.

I’m not good. I’m not bad. I’m saved.

One of my favorite little tid bits I learned from Brennan Manning was…in the early 19th century in New Orleans people didn’t use the term “saved” or “born again” …they said…I HAVE BEEN SEIZED BY THE POWER OF GREAT AFFECTION.

Friends, I have been seized. Yesterday I was having a clove cigar, and crying on the porch with my wife. But they weren’t tears of misery. Yes they were tears of pain…but pain isn’t always a bad things. Like how they have to burn down forests for new trees to grow. I was burnt down to the ground this week. But I told my lovely bride…”I am hurting like hell…like I have an anvil on my chest…but here’s the thing…on the ground floor…on the foundation of my heart…I feel healthy, and strong…” And today I’ll add one more…fearless. Like I said before…or should I said my friend Jesse said…”once you stop making decisions out of fear…you become dangerous.”

I’m feeling dangerous today. But in a healthy way. In a holy way. And I can boast about it, because it has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with Jesus.

You see the ground floor, the foundation on which I lay, is not a metaphor. It is Jesus himself. And when I lay my foundation and find my identity in him I can stand up, and not be “blown back and forth as one tossed in the wind”…like the wind of a tornado…but in the furious love of God where I discover who I really am…my true identity as God’s beloved child…inside that tornado…that’s where it is peaceful, and beautiful, and the astonishing things I see in the heart of God truly are… jaw-dropping.

So I’m none of those things above. Do you wanna know who I am?

I’m the one my Daddy loves,

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 17, 2015.

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