121 Stories - Trading 'Success' for True Peace

A man shares his story of recovery from sin and addiction.

Van Symons
Apr 4, 2020    5m
In this message a man talks about his drive to succeed, and how it eventually lead to family problems, loneliness, sin, and addiction. He shares his story of recovery, and how he found the peace of God. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Van Symons: 00:00 So when I first came to 121 we were a young family with four kids, and I was a successful business person who was a highly driven and highly motivated to move up the corporate ladder. So I was focused on my career. Our family was growing, and somewhere along the way we encountered a life event.

Van Symons: 00:26 For me, success was a good thing and a bad thing. I tended to focus a little bit more like an addict, the more success I had, the more I wanted, it was all about me. And I thought that's what I was supposed to be doing as a father, as a husband. But the more I did it, the more self-focused it became. And what I've discovered along the rise is, as I got more and more promotions and more and more awards, whatever they were, all I wanted was more. It was really like an addiction, like any other addiction.

Van Symons: 00:59 And one day I reached the top, and what I discovered at the top was there's nobody else up there, it's lonely. And the people that are up there, aren't people I want to hang out with. So I was lonely, I was bored, and I realized that what I've been seeking all of my life was a complete waste of time.

Van Symons: 01:28 Now that led me to, okay, I should be able to do whatever I want. So I wandered off into a series of addictions that were all about me, and during those addictions, it led to a complete train wreck in my life. I was personally out of control, I was wildly unhappy, to the point at the end where I finally checked into a rehab. Our marriage was a train wreck, we might've been occupying the same house, but we were barely even seeing each other. My relationship with my kids were completely zero, in fact, my daughter wrote me a letter that told me she hated me. When I checked into rehab, I read that letter, and for me, that was the worst day of my life.

Van Symons: 02:10 I checked into rehab fully expecting to be divorced, because the sins that I had committed were 100% of the 10 commandments I had violated. In fact, Ross once asked me to write down the sins I had violated, I wrote down 14 things, and he reminded me that there are only 10 commandments. So even in sin, I was choosing to overachieve. I probably cried for two weeks straight, I bled toxins out of my legs, as I was just trying to find my way back to what I would call simple sobriety.

Van Symons: 02:46 And that led me to a point in life where I wasn't sure where I was headed. I actually debated going back into the addiction, because I felt like everything, my family, my wife, that I had known was going to be gone. She started to work on whatever God was having her work on, unbeknownst to me. I did not believe in God at this point, I was just trying to just make it to sobriety.

Van Symons: 03:11 And so I decided either there is a God, or there isn't a God. And that led me on my own journey, where I discovered there's absolute proof of God's existence, I had just been ignoring it. That changed my entire view of the Bible, and the reason why we come to church and how we do life. So I didn't worry about the outcome, I just worried about the next step, the next day. And frankly, I lived day to day, just looking forward to what that day had entailed, I didn't worry about what my wife and my family were doing, et cetera.

Van Symons: 03:42 Where that has brought us now is after probably five or six years of just working through our issues, the second part of that, the growing part of that, is what does God want us to do with it? A part of that is, now I can work with other people, because I know what they're working on, I know where their struggle is. I don't really have to have the answer, I just have to be willing to listen, and have frankly, hold people accountable.

Van Symons: 04:06 Listen, my life has been enhanced by being at this church, greatly enhanced by the people. And it's not just the people in the pulpit, it's the everyday people that I do life with. And our life group is, we show up on Saturdays and we do life together studying the scripture, and we'll take weeks going through one and two scriptures. Just processing, how does that relate to our lives? How are we supposed to live different? The scripture then moves from a book, to a way of life, and teaching me how to do life better.

Van Symons: 04:34 And I've enjoyed the journey now, and frankly, the business parts have really not been affected, they've gone actually better than expected. And I'm doing less, focusing less on the business, just doing the right thing as God wants me to do it in those moments. And I find that along the way, God takes care of things that I used to try to do all myself.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051