I used to believe that it’s more important to look good, than to actually be good.
My father was a well-known Christian leader, so we, as a family, were very good at looking good! I learned that perfect performance got me the affirmation I wanted so badly, so I became preoccupied with building up my “ideal Ricky” – my “glittering image”.
I worked hard to be a good Christian, a spiritual leader, and eventually a pastor. I found that people liked, admired, and were even impressed by me. I think I was hoping that God would be impressed, too. But there was a problem: I was just not the man people thought I was.
Behind the glittering image, I was a mess. I may have seemed confident, but really, I felt insecure. I struggled with jealousy because God seemed to bless everyone but me. I was angry – at God, at my family, at myself, at the church.
Deep down, as I struggled with all this, I felt like a mistake. I was ashamed about who I was. I rejected and hated myself. I was tired of living this way. Deep down I longed to be free, and I tried! But I was just stuck. Journey helped me get unstuck.
In Journey, I met real people with real struggles. And these people gave me a great gift: they showed me a new way of being – that I could just be who I am, warts and all – before them, and before God. And as I learned to trust this, as I stepped out and confessed my struggles and my secrets, I found that I wasn’t rejected. I didn’t lose everything – and my life didn’t end.
In fact, in some ways my life actually began. I experienced a new depth of love, and acceptance, forgiveness and grace. Through Journey, I met Jesus in a real and life-changing way.
Life goes on, and life is not perfect. But I can say Journey has impacted every part of my life; every part of who I am. I am not living that split-life anymore, I’m living in freedom and connection with Jesus like I never have before.