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Outpost Stories

St. Augustine famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Zach Adams spent a decade in restlessness: chasing worldly happiness through athletic pursuits, new hobbies, relationships and career goals. The satisfaction he found in each pursuit eventually waned, and a restless sort of depression dogged the in-between times. As his loneliness and depression deepened, Zach sought frequent escape through alcohol. When a friend from the gym invited him to read Scripture, Zach surprised them both by saying yes. Read Zach’s story to see how the Lord rescued Zach from the fruitless pursuit of temporal joy – and gave him whole-hearted joy in Jesus Christ. 

Zach Adams

Zach Adams grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Church-going was a part of his upbringing – a Sunday morning rhythm that had little impact on the rest of the week. 

Zach: I was around Christians. I was even baptized when I was about 10. But I was not a believer, not a Christ-follower. When I was a teenager, both my grandma and grandpa passed away, and we stopped attending church regularly as a family. I was a normal teenager doing normal teenage life – without God. I graduated from college, in spite of following the patterns of drinking, partying, and skipping class. I was just serious enough about classes to finish well. 

Zach took an engineering job in the Nashville area.  He dove headlong into his work, eager to learn and grow and excel in his field. He took pride in his work, and, for a time, life was good. Zach was living for himself and his own success, but he was partying less and enjoyed his work. Until… he didn’t anymore. The excitement of establishing his career ground to a halt, and Zach scurried to fill his life with new “things” – new hobbies that brought a renewed sense of identity and joy. He hunted and explored the outdoors, filling his free time with a frenzied pursuit of fun. In the evening, at home, he often drank a few beers. Although he had slowed his partying, drinking by himself became a dangerous habit that would prove difficult to break. 

Zach: I started to feel like my unhappiness at work was related to place and to the activities that were available to me in Tennessee. I decided it was time to leave Nashville and find something new. I visited a friend in Casper, Wyoming, and was able to drive through Cody into Yellowstone and then the Tetons. I applied for jobs in the West, and, six months later, I landed a job in Cody. Initially, my new life in Cody was really great. But, just like before, my job and hobbies could only fill me for so long. I would go out and enjoy archery, hunting, Cross Fit, and fishing, and I would be happy for a while, but then my emotions would crash when those things stopped satisfying my heart. 

 

After 18 months in Cody, Zach moved to Salt Lake City to work for an archery company, convinced his sojourn in Wyoming had simply been a launching pad for his true career and a better future. But, very quickly, the pattern of restlessness repeated itself. Six months later, he was back in Cody, where the valleys of depression seemed lower and more hopeless with each “cycle.” Since hobbies and outdoor pursuits weren’t enough to sustain emotional stability, Zach turned more and more to alcohol. 

Zach: I began to worry that I would never find enough things or the right things to fill me. I was afraid that the things I was trying to fill myself with were going to fail me. It became harder and harder to try new things, to try to pull myself out of depression with new pursuits, because each starting part was lower and lower. Drinking and losing myself became more attractive. At 29, I was depressed, uncertain about why I was here. Lonely. I ended up in a broken relationship, and the counsel I received from friends was just, “go find a new girl tonight.” I was isolated. Suicidal thoughts crept in. I knew something needed to change, whether it was ending my life, or moving again, or somehow starting over. I got it into my head to just “keep going.” 

I began to worry that I would never find enough things or the right things to fill me. I was afraid that the things I was trying to fill myself with were going to fail me.

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That simple catchphrase became the mantra Zach spoke over his life. “Just keep going.” In an effort to improve his health and well-being, Zach began working out more at the gym. He also curbed his drinking habits and sought out the influence and companionship of a long-time friend from Cross Fit: Greg Brooks. 

Zach: One day after a workout, Greg asked me if I wanted to read the Bible with him. Both of us were shocked when I actually said yes, and Greg awkwardly said goodbye without any further explanation. But that started something. We met once a week at Granny’s and we read Scripture together. After a while, we progressed to reading John and then Acts on our own and then discussing what we had read. Eventually, I joined a men’s group. I was looking to solve my problems, fix my issues, figure out what this God thing was all about and if it could actually make a difference in my life. 

On a normal winter weekend, several months into studying Scripture, Zach was at home, half-watching a Netflix show while cleaning. When he switched off the vacuum, the word “faith” happened to sound from the television – in an unspiritual context. That single spoken word stuck in Zach’s thoughts and triggered a day-long search for clarity. What did it mean to have faith? As Zach pondered the definition and significance of “faith,” understanding dawned. 

Zach: I realized I just needed to have faith in what Jesus had done. Faith wasn’t about me or about anything I needed to do. Christianity was about Jesus getting on the cross and dying for my sins. I chose to believe in Him.  On Monday, I went back to the gym and I told Greg, “I believe now.” He kept saying, “What?” When he finally understood that I was saying I believed in Jesus as my Savior, he was thrilled. 

While Zach had placed his faith in the work of Jesus Christ, it wasn’t easy to untangle a decade of habits and hang-ups. Within a year, he found himself at the lowest point of his life. 

Zach: Shortly after I became a Christian, I met a girl, but our relationship was still a worldly one. We got pretty serious, but then broke up after a few months. Around that time, Greg left to attend Watermark training in Texas. Some other friends also left, and, as the school year started up, some of my other Christian friends had less time to invest in me. All of a sudden, everything crashed, and I felt – again – so alone. That deep loneliness seemed harder as a Christian. I didn’t think I should feel so alone, but I just felt like even God had left me. It was the darkest depression I had ever faced. I hid my pistol to avoid the temptation of taking my own life. I cried myself to sleep. I just felt so alone. 

On a Sunday afternoon, during that season of darkness, Greg called to check in. While the two men hadn’t spoken in over a month, Greg (with the help of the Holy Spirit) saw through Zach’s façade of “fine” and instinctively knew what Zach needed to hear. “Hey, man,” he said. “You are not alone.” Zach quickly agreed, but Greg pushed harder. “No, really. You are not alone.” Like a beam of light, those simple words broke through, and Zach felt their truth. 

Zach: That was a turning point for me. I had gone from being a non-Christian, to being a Christian but still living for the world, to being a Christian living for God. I understood – all at once – that I was not alone. God was with me, and His love was enough. 

As Zach practiced living by faith, the Lord worked in several obvious ways. The first clear moment of God at work was Greg’s life-changing phone call from Texas. Later, when Zach opened his hands and surrendered his struggle with drinking to the Lord, he received an immediate response. 

Zach: Drinking had continued to be an issue for me – trying to drink less but falling into old patterns. One night I had been gifted a six-pack, and I proceeded to drink all of them. In desperation I prayed that God would help me. I surrendered the habit and the desire to the Lord, and He took them away immediately. That was March, 2021, and I haven’t had a drink since. 

A third area of God’s miraculous intervention was in the area of dating. Weary of following the world’s patterns, yet desiring the partnership of marriage, Zach finally gave up chasing relationships his own way. 

Zach: I told God that if He brought me a girl who was running after Him, cool. But, it not, I would be fine. A few weeks later, I met Natalie. I saw Natalie worshipping God whole-heartedly, and I knew I wanted to be with her. 

Together, Zach and Natalie (who married in the spring of 2022) serve in Students’ Ministries, lead a Community Team, and hold each other accountable in their shared passion and pursuit of living for Jesus. When Zach is tempted to find his worth or significance in other things, he is able to remind himself of who he is in Christ. 

Zach: How good is God, that He chose to give me all these added blessings: a wife, places to serve, friendships. Those things are His good gifts, but knowing God Himself is the main thing. 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

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