Be Honest or Die

Be Honest or Die January 17, 2012

Have you ever found God in an unlikely place?

i didn't plan it like this, really

I didn’t plan to be sipping on orange juice, cranberry, and vodka while smoking a Macanudo  and reading Brennan Manning’s “All is Grace”.

I didn’t plan it this way. Really.

I didn’t plan to be doing all of this while enjoying a 50-degree sunset from Lookout Mountain on the eve of New Year’s Eve.

I didn’t plan it this way. Really.

I didn’t plan to meet Jesus out here. Not this early. We just arrived. Vacation has barely begun. But she is scrapbooking and Jesus, the Macanudo, and the cocktail were calling my name.

I didn’t plan it this way. Really.

I didn’t plan to have my Granddaddy’s old “Companion Bible” out here with me. But somehow, this all fits together. This jigsaw puzzle would make some cringe, but as the right side of my face curls up into a crooked little smile, I take in a deep breath, exhale some good smellin’ smoke, and watch the clouds turn from orange to red to a blazing magenta.

I didn’t plan for my drink and the sunset to match. Really.

i didn't plan it this way, really

I didn’t plan for Jesus to meet me a few years back, in a little coffee shop inside our church. He was dressed like Benjamin Norris House, Sr. (the previous owner of that old “Companion Bible”). Jesus with skin on. Jesus, with a raggedy mustache, a three-day beard, and stains on his plaid button-down. I didn’t plan to meet Jesus that way—that day. I didn’t plan for Him to rescue me from my own religious persecution. I didn’t know He cared.

I didn’t plan it this way. Really.

I didn’t plan to be called “rebellious” and “a heretic” for being more amazed by grace than scared of a fiery Hell. I didn’t plan to be introduced to “The Shack” or “The Ragamuffin Gospel” at my lowest point, after serving the rules for so many years. I didn’t plan for my Granddad to challenge me, during that struggle, to find God on my own, outside my religious bubble—outside the box.

I didn’t plan to find God that way. But I have.

His grace is sufficient. His friendship knows no bounds. His love doesn’t have the strings I once thought. He loves me. Steve Austin. The abused, addicted, anxious perfectionist. God—Jesus—Abba—whatever you choose to call Him—He loves me. He’s wild about me. And honestly, whether you get it or not—whether you agree or not—whether you even like it or not, He is madly in love with you too.

Believe me: I couldn’t have planned it this way, but it’s true.

I’m becoming more concerned with being inwardly honest, rather than outwardly polished. The Big Man couldn’t care less about my spotless exterior. And sadly, a few of you reading this are more concerned with the fact that I started this conversation mentioning liquor and a stogie than about the unconditional love of the Savior of the World.

The sun is no longer visible. Just a magenta haze, peeking over the horizon. My glass has only 1/3 remaining, and my wife is ready to chow down at the Wildflower Café.

I didn’t plan it this way, but I like it.

Be honest or die,

Steve Austin


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  • jindahouse

    I can say a contradiction hurts. I didn’t think about that alcohol or cigarettes. I thought about the inspiration that God dwell in my heart. I’ve been dedicated myself to live as inspirational Sermons books and reading the bible everyday. Some people have a perfect life. I do not. I am still a work in progress. d I am jesus is daughter.. I’ll never get up. have a testimony go drop off well. doesn’t matter about me. It has never been about me. I know that now.

  • Brenda Holcombe

    This is the kind of writing I will want to read over and over. It has so much depth, feelings and for certain truths if about God. It is obvious that Steve Austin knows Jesus. I am touched by the contents of this poem.
    Thanks Peter for sharing it with us Face Book friends.

    • I am overwhelmed at the response to this piece! I was honestly SO nervous to post this one, considering the deeply conservative area we live in. I thought for sure that folks would see “vodka” and “cigar” and just close the page. I am wonderfully surprised that I was wrong. A huge “thank you” to my Uncle Pete for sharing this with new friends and thank YOU Mrs. Brenda for you kind words! I hope you will come back again!

      And while I am on the “Thank You Train”, thank YOU Dennis Gable for opening up this honesty platform to the world. I have never felt more alive!


  • You didn’t plan it… but God did. He has good plans for you, Steve Austin. He told me so. Glad I get to watch parts of it. 😉

    • I love you, my friend. Plain and simple. You teach me, love me, and show me constant grace. You are an incredible friend and The ATTIC would be 1/2 what it is without you. Secret Place stuff.

  • Hi. Secret place stuff. That.