In my late teens and early twenties I was the life of the party, It was my house that everyone wanted to come to for a good time. I had the best and biggest parties, the best weed and the beer and liquor flowed freely. I was cool and I loved it. But the feeling of “Look at me, I’m somebody” turned out to be hollow and fleeting.
Everyone wanted to hang around and party with the Bird Man, (a nickname that evolved from the Swan in my last name) but I got tired of always being hungover and tired. I got fed up with people who smiled in my face but ripped me off when I wasn’t looking. Being able to do what I wanted when I wanted wasn’t as fun as it used to be. I could never get high enough, I could never be drunk long enough, the camaraderie and friendship I longed for with my friends became more and more elusive and shallow.
I remember handing out Acid (LSD) to my friends at parties at my house saying, “Let’s go to the moon together”—yeah, that’s the kind of person I was before Jesus—my hope was that we would get really high together and find some new level of camaraderie, of revelry together. I was desperate to recreate the euphoric feelings of the first time I had dropped acid with my friends, or the first few times I had gotten stoned with my buddies and we just laughed and laughed or the first times I had gotten drunk and felt closer to my drunken companions then I had ever felt with anyone.
But those feelings would never come back, they were a lie from the pit of hell designed to keep you coming back, closer and closer to your own destruction and the people surrounding me were getting scarier and scarier also. Being wasted became a lonely and scary place but I couldn’t stop. On more than one occasion I would wake up in the morning to find that the very people who had been partying in my house when I passed out had helped themselves to my stuff.
After several years of living for the party—I had slowed down on the hard stuff but still smoked and drank myself into oblivion regularly— I started to realize that I was missing something very important, I was missing the only fellowship that really matters, the only one that somehow I knew could fulfill my desperate need for acceptance and dispel the loneliness, I didn’t know how to do that but I knew I needed to.
So one night, in desperation, I opened my long neglected Bible and started reading, And I had my own blinding light experience with the resurrected Lord. It’s as simple as that, but it changed my life forever. I am ashamed to talk about the person I used to be, at the time I was ashamed of the person I was, but I was blinded to the truth and when I finally admitted it, Jesus showed up.
I couldn’t stand it anymore and I cried out to Jesus and he showed up in my living room, grabbed my heart and made me a new person in an instant leaving me to say “wow, I don’t know exactly what just happened but I like it and I don’t ever want to go back to the way it used to be.” It wasn’t religion, it wasn’t willpower or positive thinking, it was a surrender and an acknowledgement to a God who is very real, very alive and very active today.
Jesus wasn’t ashamed of me, he was desperate to bring me back into his arms, and he did.
I then spent the next year telling all my friends and everyone else who would listen what had happened and they all thought I was crazy. Funny thing is, this was exactly why I hadn’t done this sooner. I knew all along that I needed to get right with the Lord, that the way I was living wasn’t right, that it was sinful, selfish and harmful. But I was cool, for the first time ever, the kid that hardly had any friends at school, who was terminally shy— I was popular and I wanted to stay that way.
I knew if I gave my life over to Jesus that I would no longer be cool. But it wasn’t worth my soul.
And in that night of miracles when the Lord came crashing into my life in a very real and powerful way by his Spirit and through his word one of the things he showed me that helped set me free was the words of Psalm 118
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side to help me PS 118
What can man do to me. Why was I worried about what others thought, why did I fear being called weird or losing the false friendship of those who didn’t even know the real me? If living in the freedom that Jesus was offering, if living a life that made me seem weird to the rest of the world would bring me into the glorious plan that Jesus had for my life, would invite his blessings of peace, fulfillment and bring an end to my despair—then let me be a fool for Jesus, yes Lord, I’m ready to be crazy.
Now that I’m crazy it turns out that being crazy is a whole lot more fulfilling, a whole lot less painful and frustrating then being cool. And again, it still isn’t religion, it still isn’t willpower or programs designed to help me earn my righteousness and keep my standing in the eyes of the church— it’s all Jesus.
Even the Apostle Paul was accused by the Religious and the powerful of being crazy, and he would die for it.
I am not insane, most excellent Festus,”… “What I am saying is true and reasonable. Acts 26:25
Even though the world may think so. And we may even wonder sometimes— we are really not crazy, we just know the truth and unless you see and accept the truth with your spiritual eyes opened by the power of Jesus Christ, the same power that raised him from the dead and brings life to his word, you will never understand it and it will seem to be insanity.
The world will think us mad as our thinking, our perception is turned on its head as our hearts are healed and our minds transformed. We now know truth and all they see are well rehearsed lies. So yes, we will seem crazy, but we must stand firm.
It takes courage to stand firm on the promises, to continue in the truth, to keep talking about our radical crazy sounding Damascus road experiences, but it is vital, for your own soul and for the souls of those who are still in the dark.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Cor 1:25