If the Prodigal Son had Xanax…

By Steve Austin | faith

Mar 03

If you are here from The Mighty, welcome! Here’s three other stories you might want to check out:

  1. The Psych Ward and the Church
  2. Living Through the Aftermath of My Mom’s Suicide
  3. Dingy Socks & Panic Attacks


Anxiety has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember. For several years, I lived under a cloud of shame because of it. I believed I would never find true belonging if anyone knew the real issues I faced on a daily basis.

Until I could no longer hide.

A failed suicide attempt forced me to face myself. At first, all I wanted to do was disconnect from anyone and anything that seemed more “normal” than me. And everyone seems more normal than you feel when you’ve just been discharged from the psych ward. I didn’t want anyone to know my story, or the details of the journey that eventually landed me in an ICU. I didn’t want my family to know, and I certainly didn’t want to face the Church.

Like so many others, I thought life came with two choices: be a normal Christian guy, or be crazy. I felt stuck. Lost.

I wonder if the Prodigal Son was feeling like me. The parable certainly implies he was humiliated. If the Prodigal Son had been able to work through the smothering lies that come with shame, would he have come home sooner? I’ve heard others ask it this way: “If the Prodigal Son had Xanax, would he have ever come home?”

I’m honored to tell the rest of this story on Morgan Guyton’s blog.

Join me on Patheos at Mercy Not Sacrifice. Just click here.

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About the Author

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.

  • ehaaron says:

    Steve, I love to read you writing. I may not 100% agree with everything, but I do not agreec100% with lots of things. I respect that you have the courage to speak from your heart. Do not let others discourage you. I have been reading about condition vs unconditional love. Your place in my heart is in that unconditional section. You challenge me to think deeply sometimes. Like my views on church. Sitting here alone, cause R is out on pain meds most of the time, I thought of the level of involvement I have had in the church structure, times I was disillusioned with the church politics, change of congregations, personal service within the church. I determined that I have several families: my biological & selected personal family, my church family, my ADK family and my TMS family. Each one serves a different function in my life and each one is necessary in my life and fulfills a different function. I have discovered that sometimes I get get too busy with one family that I miss out on a blessing from another one. I need many areas to keep me balanced. But I also know that it is OK to step back some from one area if it begins to take over my entire life. Wow I have rambled enough. Love ya #2
    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • Steve Austin says:

      #2!
      You’re in the unconditional portion of my heart too! I love all the different “families” I have, but you’ll always be one of my favorites.

      I’m so glad we don’t agree on 100% of everything. Can you imagine how boring that would be? I’m just glad we can disagree amicably.

      I’m sorry R still isn’t feeling well. Going to come see you soon. Will text you this afternoon.

      LOVE YOU MUCHO!!

  • rtodd50 says:

    I always enjoy reading what you write and can very much relate to what you are saying through your writing. Thanks for sharing your heart bro.

  • rtodd50 says:

    Reblogged this on God's Zone.

  • vlmrhm says:

    Your sharing hit so close to home. I am sad that most people don’t know how to love as Jesus loves. His love is unconditional in His acceptance of us. I pray that we wake up the body of believers so instead of people being more hurt they would be drawn to the savior by our acceptance of them. By us loving like He does. Instead they are drawn away from our Lord. This really makes my heart hurt. I thank you for sharing. Trauma caused by the church is too real. To too many of his children. God bless you for shining His light …

    • Steve Austin says:

      Thank you, my friend. It makes me sad too, but we press on and keep exposing the pain to the Light of His Love.
      Peace to you today.

  • jjlandis says:

    Well, well. Still calling yourself a Christian, huh? (smile)As a medicated Christian with depression and anxiety, I say AMEN.

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