Struggling to find yourself while being everything to everyone else in your life is a tricky thing. Some days you feel like you know, you feel like you’re on the right path, things are falling into place nicely and then boom, blindsided by something you thought you had conquered.

I have wound up in a place where I am lost. No place feels safe, no place feels okay, mentally yes but I’m talking physically! I am under such fierce attack that the enemy is stealing my places of rest. He is trying to take from me that which I have worked so hard to get. Things that I cannot replace, like my family. New friendships. My career. My life. He has almost had that last one so many times this year.

Then, I found one! An identity I could get behind. Something I could latch onto and then hold! Something that could mould me, shape me, form me, create someone that would stick around for a while. All that encompassed in one word: Protector.

I found it, deep in my soul. I didn’t wind up latching on to it, it latched on to me. This blanket of something that you normally define as kind, gentle, warm, fuzzy… but was angry, hateful, violent and cold; but because it grabbed me… it was something I enjoyed. Because it was just that, it was something and it was something I was GREAT at. I became a hired hand for house parties at first. “Protect the people in this house” was my only mission, my only goal. From any and all threats that may come. As it turns out, when you’re 15 years old, 250lbs and have a heart full of rage and hatred, you can be the most impressive force on the planet.

I made a life and a name for myself. I was reliable, I was loyal, I had ZERO concern for my own wellbeing, but most importantly (to the people I worked for) I was violent. I craved pain. Not just dishing it out, but taking it as well. I would let whoever I had in my sights swing first, usually second, and then third until I was basically smiling in their face. Then… it was my turn. Broken bones, bruises, knife wounds, bloody knuckles, swollen eye… I LIVED for it. I could always justify hurting people by saying it was my job. By saying that I could take the beating and keep going, keeping the people inside safe. Saying my moto for life “I was built for this” because I had finally found something that made me feel. Real feels. Stuff I didn’t even know I was numb to feeling until the first fight I got in.

7 years I spent in that world, being the “protector”. It grew to dealing with… issues… that anyone who had money needed dealt with. Abusers were common, the most common, and if I am being honest, my favorite to deal with. (Can any of you guess why?) No? Okay I’ll tell you! It was my favorite because I could put “his” face and crimes into any of those situations, and well… that’s what made me good at my job.

Anyways, that was a longer side story than I wanted it to be. SO fast forward to being a grown man with the emotional stability of a 5-year-old. I need to find my own identity, and I do not know what it is. Is it “Father”…. “Partner”… ” Worship Leader”… “Loser”… “Burden”… “Death”… I really can’t tell you because I do not know. I know that I was not born to be abused. I was not born to be devastated. I was not born to be filled with hate. So there must be something else out there. Or in here *points at chest* that is being tested, and re-tested, and then re-tested so that when the time comes, and all the cards are on the table, and the war is at its peak, I will crush the enemy and his demons that have been trying to steal my life from me. I am battled tested, and approved for war by the King of Kings.

I may not always be prepared for my battles. The attack usually comes in the dead of night. The Bible says that the enemy comes like a thief in the night, to kill, steal, and destroy. So it’s easy to see why he only attacks when I am tired. When I am exhausted. When I cannot ground myself properly. He comes after us when we are weak because he knows he has no chance at victory with us at full strength, full faith, full grace. Stealing my life would bring him such great joy… that is why I have to fight everyday to make it. In this time of finding my identity, the enemy knows he cannot let me find it. The attack on my life is so strong right now, because I am closing in on finding myself, and finding myself more powerful than I can comprehend. Faith. Begin with faith. The rest, falls into place.

My story should have been over many times over, its been told from everyone else’s point of view, but I am taking the pen and giving it back to my Savior and King! He is the Author, and I am the hero.

Blog post by Ethan Nicolas, Owner of PityTheFool Fitness and Mental Health Advocate