I’ve been thinking of sharing my testimony for awhile now and I thought what better time to share it than on Good Friday. I’ve been hesitant to share because it is very personal and it would be a lot more comfortable for me to keep this to myself but if it could help at least one other person, it’s worth it.
In order to get the whole impact of the story, we have to go way back to my early years… Growing up, I went to church every Sunday, attended AWANA every Wednesday and eventually transferred to a Christian school in 6th grade which I attended through high school. I knew all of the Bible facts and for the most part followed all of the “rules”. You know the rules that they tell you to follow: no alcohol or drugs, no sex until you’re married, no swearing, etc. I followed the rules because that’s what I’d been taught but I never really understood what having a relationship with God meant. I was always jealous of the girls in my class who felt God speak to them, felt God’s presence, etc. Here I was following all the rules, praying, reading the Bible and I still didn’t feel like he was there, ya know?
Despite the few Christians who seemed genuine about it, there were far more people I knew who claimed to be Christians and seemed like total hypocrites. They’d do whatever they wanted Monday-Saturday and then be the “perfect” Christian on Sunday. I didn’t understand why so many people did that and being a Christian was definitely starting to look less and less appealing.
I graduated high school and was looking forward to being on my own in college, very unaware of just how different it would be. I was going from a pretty sheltered upbringing to one of California’s top 10 party colleges. I tried to stick to my belief’s but being a typical college student looked a lot more fun than being a Christian and the people were a lot more welcoming. I went through college lukewarm about my relationship with God. I believed in God and what I had been taught but doing whatever I wanted to do seemed a lot more fun at the time.
It wasn’t until a few years after college, that I was tired of living the way I had been living. I had been looking for happiness in all the wrong places, all the places the world told me to look, and it had only led me down a dark, depressing path. I looked for validation in my looks which led me to an eating disorder shortly after I started college and well into my 20s. I looked for validation in men which led me to meaningless relationships, not being treated with respect, hurting people I cared about and ultimately a very toxic relationship that I struggled to leave because of my eating disorder and lack of self worth. The thing most people don’t realize about eating disorders is that it’s rarely about food. My ED was caused by my anxiety and depression which was only made worse by my drinking and unhealthy eating habits. It was a vicious cycle that I thought I’d never get out of. Thankfully, I had people in my life who unknowingly helped me through it by being kinder to me than I deserved.
I was living an unfulfilled life and I knew there had to more to it. I decided I needed to finally figure out what I believed and stop being lukewarm. Either I believed in God and the Bible with my whole heart or I wasn’t going to believe it at all. I couldn’t keep being in the middle. Over the next couple of years, I went to church, read my Bible, prayed, met with other believers and most importantly I asked the hard questions. The questions I had unanswered for years that made me question if God was actually real. I knew all the answers Christians gave to these questions from years of church and bible classes but they weren’t good enough for me. You know, the questions like “If God is good, why is there evil in the world?” “If God truly loves all of us, why is he going to let people go to Hell?” “If God exists, why doesn’t he just write it up in the sky and make it abundantly clear that he’s real?” I searched and searched for better answers to these questions and while some answers I found, most I still have questions about. I finally realized that I’m never going to have all the answers to my questions and maybe that’s for the best. But I do know that my life is immeasurable better since reading my Bible, praying, connecting with other believers and genuinely trying to have a real relationship with God. I realized that believing in God and having a relationship with him doesn’t make you perfect. All those Christian “hypocrites” I saw were really just imperfect people trying to do their best. And just like myself, we fail at doing our best. A LOT.
I finally found my happiness in something bigger than myself. It’s hard to explain but I’m no longer lost in a world full of millions of people. I no longer find my worth in worldly things and have a peace about life that I’ve never had before. I’m not saying my life is perfect, far from it actually, but it is reassuring to know that there’s a God out there who cares for each and every one of us and has our best interests at heart. Knowing that when I die, I’m leaving behind a world that I didn’t belong in anyway and knowing that I’ll finally get to meet the Creator of the universe. I’ll be able to ask him all the questions I’ve been wondering about and finally get to see if Heaven is anything like I’ve pictured it (although I’m sure it will be MUCH better). My worries and troubles don’t seem like quite such a big deal when I know this is just the beginning.
I realized that the thing I was missing all those years of my life was hope, and now that I’ve found it, I don’t want to lose it.
So what’s my reason for celebrating Easter this year? The most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” When you realize how much God loves us and what he sacrificed for us to be with him, it’s hard not to want a relationship with him.