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I was sitting at dinner with the weirdest family I had ever met. Their daughter’s name was Denise, and against all odds, we were friends. I say “against all odds” because we couldn’t have been more different. 

At sixteen years old, I was a high school dropout with major anger issues. Denise was a Christian with a major smile. My dad started hitting me when I was eight years old. Denise’s dad started every meal with prayer. 

“Do you want to come over for dinner?” Denise asked one day. 

“Okay,” I said. 

So there we were, bowing our heads so Denise’s dad could pray. The whole thing felt super spooky to me. I kept looking around to see if everyone was okay. When he was finished praying, people started talking. Like just casually talking. No fighting. No screaming. No one standing up abruptly to throw a dish across the room. No ducking when the dish shattered against the wall right above your head. 

It was totally bizarre to me. 

My eyes kept darting around the room, waiting for the fighting to start. And then suddenly, like a punch to the gut, I realized, “Oh my gosh, maybe these people aren’t strange. Maybe they’re normal, and I’m the one who’s really screwed up.” 


How to Respond to an Awakening

Every journey to freedom begins with a moment of awakening. It might be a rock bottom moment – the day you lose custody of your kids, or a police officer wedges you into the back seat of his car. It might be a traumatic event. Or it might be something as simple as dinner with a different kind of family, one whose health magnifies your own dysfunction.

No matter how it comes, a moment of awakening is a gift. It’s tempting to shut your eyes and reject the insight, but if you can resist the urge to run, this moment can change your whole life. It’s the genesis of your journey to freedom. 

When was the last time you experienced an awakening? When was the last time some friction in your life produced a thought like –

I want more than this. 

I need to change. 

Something is not right inside of me.

This is not the legacy I want to leave.

Don’t ignore that thought. Give it room to breathe. Sit quietly with it, suspend all judgment, and become curious. When we meet a moment of awakening with curiosity, we move toward … 

STEP 2: EXPOSING. Read the next article.

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