*I wrote this blog originally over 5 years ago. It's amazing to look back on my life and see the path after I walked it. This blog is relevant because of some decisions made this past Sunday. I'll share those in the future but for now I am reposting this blog from 5 years ago because I know there are others who find themselves at a crossroads of life decisions, or who maybe have it all...but really have nothing at all.
Proverbs 17:20a “A man of perverse heart does not prosper…”
I read this verse October 17, 2006. I was in my spare bedroom / study at my old house in the country. I loved that place. I had five acres and all sorts of wild animals frequented my land. There were deer, turkey, hawks, owls, and various turtles and lizards. I had a garden that was much too big for a single dad with one child, but I loved growing things and so I happily gave away what Morgan and I couldn’t consume by ourselves.
Describing that house is important to today’s topic because it’s part of what I had to give up when I decided to stop being a pervert.
Now, it would be a lot of fun to string this out for a while and let the gentle readers dangle, anxiously awaiting a salacious explanation for this confession of something dubious. But I won’t do that. Let’s get right after that wonderfully strange title…
Whatever night it was, I was lying on the floor of my study reading the Bible and praying. That sounds so magnificently pious, doesn’t it? Maybe I should add that I was weeping and beseeching…really go for the Holy Hat trick…but I was just reading and sometimes I am more comfortable on the floor.
Anyway, I was reading in Proverbs and came across the verse above. I read through it on my way to verse 21 and God said “whoa! Not so fast kid” I was glued to that first portion of the verse and particularly to the word pervert. “A man of perverse heart does not prosper” “Okay God” I asked, “what does this have to do with me?” He tugged on my heart a little and said “are you prospering?” Well this was a two part question and I knew it right away. Part one was “are you prospering” in the practical sense. Was I making it? Was I succeeding as we humans most frequently define success…in dollars? The answer was increasingly becoming “No”. Business had begun to turn down. The mortgage mess had hit my market and things were just then beginning to retreat. I knew that I was going to have to sell this house I loved and move from my spot in the country. I had already downsized my office and cut all staff; it was just me at the office now. I was struggling financially and the worst was yet to come.
But there was a more probing question God was asking me that night. It went deeper than how much money I had in the bank and how nice a car I could afford to drive.
He seemed to be asking my soul “are you prospering? I didn’t understand the question at first…or I didn’t want to answer it honestly. One way or the other I asked Him, “Lord what does this have to do with being a pervert?” “I’m not a pervert!” I instantly began envisioning the definition of “pervert” that I had always known and that most of us hold to. Some dirty old man in a trench coat who flashes women while they jog or leers at school children on a playground. Some white collar exec who runs up thousands a month on porn sites or who frequents brothels. You know…a real pervert.
The God does what He so famously does…makes me laugh as He teaches me a lesson.
In a flash (pardon the pun) he spoke one word to my heart. A word so full of biblical truth and so flowing with wisdom I would never be the same. He said...”Peroxide”.
Yep…Peroxide. Look it up! It’s all over the Bible. Ok…it’s not. It isn’t in the Bible at all. But here is why that word rattled me. What He did say after whispering "peroxide" to my soul, was “remember your organic chemistry classes?” I said “yes Lord…how could I forget? I had to take Chem.107 three times!” (I didn’t really say that to Him…although I did have to take Chem. 107 a third time) Then He reminded me of what the prefix “per” means. In chemistry, you can add a second molecule to certain chemical chains and get a substance that looks, smells, and acts identical to the original. The new compound, however, is very different. But there is virtually no way of knowing which is which. Here’s an example…using the word peroxide.
The chemical formula for water is H2O. Everyone knows that. Written out as a chain formula it looks like this: H-O-H. Two hydrogen atoms bonded by one oxygen atom.
Technically water is “Oxygen Di-Hydrate or Di-hydrous oxygen.
Now…Hydrogen Peroxide has a chemical formula of HO2 the chain looks like this: O-H-O. Very similar. Hydrogen peroxide is actually the accurate chemical name. It’s hydrogen with a “pair of oxygen” or per-oxide. Clear as mud? Hang in there. Pour a glass of water and a glass of hydrogen peroxide and set them next to each other. They look identical, they smell identical, and they are both inert. They have a very very similar chemical formula. But internally they are very very different. Drink the glass of water and you are refreshed. Drink a glass of Hydrogen Peroxide and you will likely die. Peroxide is a topical disinfectant. (Technically it’s an oxidizer) If you consumed it in more than a swallow it would kill you quickly. But for all intents and purposes you couldn’t tell it from water.
You can find this principal throughout organic chemistry. Perchloric acid is an oxidized version of hydrochloric acid. It looks and smells like hydrochloric acid. But it is foundationally different.
Okay…back to Proverbs 17. So I’m stretched out on the floor and I read how a man with a perverse heart won’t prosper. And God asks me if I am prospering practically…and I say no. And then He asked me if I was really prospering at all. And the knife stabbed me in my heart. No I was not. I was not happy. I was not fulfilled. I was not anything at all like I’d hoped I’d become.The picture I'd painted as a kid was not at all what was hanging on my wall.
Then He connected the dots. “Son…” He whispered,”…you are a pervert.” I didn’t recoil this time. Because I understood where He was going. I read the verse again. “A man of perverse heart…” In my mind I dissected the word perverse. Per-version. I managed to move past the seedy connotations and saw what God was saying. Just like Hydrogen Peroxide is an altered version of water, so I had become an altered version of what God had called me to be. I was a per-version. I was attending church, active in our men’s group and in my weekly small group. I had become faithful in tithing and giving beyond that. I was living right and spending time in bible study and in prayer.
But I was a perversion.
I was clinging to a plan for my life that God did not authorize. On the surface I looked like I was hitting on all cylinders and this was God’s best for me. But inside I was unhappy and unfulfilled. I used to try to imagine myself in the mortgage business for twenty more years and I would cringe. “Please God…there has to be more” was my silent prayer. In my honest moments I knew God had other plans for me. But I reasoned that I had made so many perverted decisions that I was destined to be a perversion for the rest of my life. I had decided to grow my mortgage business. I had spent money on marketing and lead development and wasted both money and time. None of those things were evil or sinful. But they were not God’s best for me. They were close to His best…they looked like His best, they made sense from an earthly, human standpoint and I thought He had authorized them. But because of the tricky nature of perversion, I didn’t think there was anything to question. All the signs pointed to me being right where God wanted me.
…Until that evening He called me a pervert.
Now I am becoming the version that God intended. I am essentially out of the mortgage business. Not by choice but because there isn’t much left of that industry. I am rediscovering the gifts God has given me and every day is exciting. I love functioning in the calling He has on my life. I have endured much heartbreak and disappointment but He has graciously allowed me the privilege of documenting my journey for others to see.
I am prospering more now than any point in the last 10 years. Not financially but internally, spiritually and emotionally. God will supply my needs as I become more and more like the person he intended and less of the perversion.
I wonder about the majority of us who wander through our lives missing God’s best.
The bible says “as your soul prospers so you will prosper”. That has nothing whatsoever to do with my wallet. It has everything to do with my heart. The more yielded to God I am the happier I will be. What about others. If you are reading this and it struck a chord…think about it. What did God have in mind when He hung that star in the heavens with your name on it? What part of the grand plan are you? Are you prospering in your soul? Are you really happy inside with who and what you are? Is where you are exactly where you are supposed to be?
Are you a pervert or the real deal?