Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Steve Austin, Interview #214

Your Name:
Steve Austin (no, not the wrestler)

Where you live:
Birmingham, Alabama (the land of sweet tea, college football, and the largest cast iron statue in the world)

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I have a few jobs. I work part-time as a sign language interpreter (I’ve been signing since I was twelve), and spend the rest of my time as a life coach, writer, and creating online courses via the Catching Your Breath Academy.

Your two favorite books:
1) 8 Habits of Love, by Rev. Ed Bacon
2) The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young

Your two favorite songs:

1. Pills, by the Drew Hale Band
2. Weak Sometimes, by Devin Balram

Why you are interested in spirituality?
I was a pastor when I nearly died by suicide. When I woke up in that ICU hospital room, I had a couple of choices: I could bide my time until I got out of the hospital and try to kill myself again, or everything would have to change. Thankfully, I chose the second option, and I’m learning what wholeness looks like.

In recovering from the darkest days of my life, I’m learning to embrace love-based spirituality, rather than fear-based religion. I’m finding that I’m loved, exactly as I am. And my goal today is to continue to journey from chaos to calm, from performance to belonging, from striving to simply being. I’m happy to report: it’s working out quite nicely. For the first time in my life, I like the guy who stares back at me in the mirror.

Your favorite quote:
I think that answer changes, depending on the day. But right now, it’s this quote by Sarah J. Robinson:

I found a God who walks through the darkness with me. Who understands my broken pieces and doesn’t expect me to pretend to be whole. Who can handle hurt and anger, even when I direct it at him. He never forced wholeness on me before I was ready. He sat with me in the dark when I made my bed in hell. He loved me even when I cussed at him and has always been infuriatingly kind.

Your hero?
Anyone who knows what it’s like to feel completely overwhelmed by life, but chooses to keep holding onto hope, while looking for practical ways to heal. Whether that person is a suicide survivor, a single parent, a survivor of abuse, or the person who is buried under piles of shame because their brain isn’t wired quite like everyone else’s. My hero is every single person who keeps clinging to the promise that better days are coming, and doesn’t allow a bad day or a really difficult season to define the rest of their life.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
My word for 2019 is simply, “be.” I’m hoping to learn (again) that I have permission to take a deep breath and relax into my being. I’m hoping to learn to be comfortable in my own skin, and to celebrate every single victory. Humaning ain’t easy, but as we slow down and come to stillness, it becomes much easier to handle.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Two places.
1) At my Grandparent’s land, down by the pond, where the crickets play and the frogs croak and I can sit barefoot, squishing my toes in the soft and cool Alabama clay.  
2) St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. I spent a weekend there a few years back on a personal, private, silent retreat and it changed my life. I’d love to go back there very soon.

Bio: Steve Austin was a pastor when he nearly died by suicide. These days, Steve writes at and is the founder and lead content creator of the Catching Your Breath Academy. He is the author of two Amazon best sellers, From Pastor to a Psych Ward and Catching Your Breath. Steve lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife and two children.