Steve Austin

I write about the messiness of grace, finding Christ in the midst of mental illness, the struggles with childhood trauma and the ordinary, powerful ways God heals us. I also complain about how it sucks to be a Christian right now, but how I’m doing it anyway.

The One Group the Church Needs to Welcome

For decades, I lived out the expectations of performance-based Christianity. I have lived through the lies we tell non-believers. We say, "Come just as you are," but the implied rest of that sentence is, " ...and you have about two weeks to get your act together before we'll expect to know how much you'll be tithing and what ministry you'll serve." We tell outsiders, "All you must do is call on the name of Jesus and you'll be saved." (Isaiah 1:18) But we fail to tell them the rest of our story...

God Helps Those Who...

I live in the South, where "Christian" is synonymous with "Republican." My older family members always voted down the party line. I live in a place where people say things like, "I don't see how you can vote Democrat and still call yourself a Christian." Now that I'm a little older, I've realized my political views are actually pretty varied, and they don't fall along party lines. I can no longer talk about inclusion for the outcast and faith in the underdog, yet vote down the "us vs. them" mentality of a particular party.

I'll Stop Watching Porn When...

All through middle school, I thought, I’ll stop watching porn when I get in high school. I was convinced that older guys didn’t need to watch it. When I made it to high school, my plan became to no longer watch pornography once I found a serious girlfriend. In reality, I dated the same girl all through high school and that’s when porn became solidified as my escape. I went to porn when I was lonesome or frustrated with her. Even though I was a star student and a role model in my youth group, this secret addiction was my constant companion.

11 Things to do Once You Decide to Stay Married to Someone with Mental Illness

My wife spent a week on a psych ward following the birth of our first son. She had a miserable fight with postpartum depression and sleep deprivation. One year later, nearly to the day, I landed in ICU and then a psych ward following a suicide attempt. Shortly after, our marriage nearly fell apart. She left for two weeks, and they were the saddest and scariest days of my life. Once she came home, we started intense marriage and individual therapy, laying all our cards on the table. It was now or never. Eventually, we both decided to stay, fully aware of what that meant. The dust has settled on that hard season, and thankfully, our “crazy” mostly shows up on different days. I am not a professional therapist, but I have been both the one who needed support, and the one who was asked to support a struggling spouse. I am writing only from my own experience. After living through it, here’s my take on what to do when you decide to stay married to someone with mental illness.

Why I Stopped Hating the Church

When I was twelve, I fell off my bike and hurt my arm, bad. We didn’t have much money and my dad, an EMT, was from a different generation. You didn’t go to the hospital every time you took a tumble. He wanted to give it time, ice it, and keep an eye on it. “Probably just a bad fall, bud. Take a couple of Tylenol.” He wasn’t being a jerk. He was just calm under pressure, and very practical. While all of that makes sense now, then, I was pissed.

A Present For Planned Parenthood

Many of us were glued to the news last Friday, as the story of the shooting in Colorado Springs unfolded. A lone gunman killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic. This past Tuesday, my friend Sarah sent me a text that read, “I think I’m going to take flowers to Planned Parenthood.” I laughed and rolled my eyes, because this is just like Sarah. Audacious, out of the box. Maybe a little bit crazy. But then unconditional love is a little bit crazy.

It Really Sucks to be a Christian Right Now...

I don’t like being a Christian today. Actually, I should say, I don’t like most Christians today. Wait. What I really mean is, I don’t want to fight with Christians anymore. I was once a youth pastor, a speaker, a worship leader, an avid blogger, and a radio host. Everything that entered my brain was spit out in 140-characters. I remember the days of running to church, running to leadership positions in the youth group, running to conferences and conventions and choirs. I remember running to tell others of my faith. I remember running to Bible studies and opportunities to spur others on and sharpen one another. These days I run away.

From Pastor to Psych Ward: This is My Story.

They found me mid-morning, when I didn’t show up for my out-of-town interpreting assignment. My clients were concerned. When they couldn’t reach me, they called first my wife, and then the hotel. I was lying on my back, unconscious, covered in vomit, when the police and EMT’s found me. They thought it was a murder scene. Vomit covered the bed and the floor. It had projected up the wall behind me, and coated a massive picture that hung over the bed.