Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10
I had to confront my fears next. The only way I knew how to get out of the lifestyle I was living was to just stop. Stop going out, stop drinking, basically I had to start over. [I know you are probably thinking: “Yeah well you just don’t understand how far into it I am.” Well let me just say, if you keep that mindset you will never allow yourself change. That thought process is a lie straight from Satan. Soap box over] This was the hardest part of the story. I looked like a bad friend. I seemed like a stickler for staying home on the weekends, but that is what I had to do. I had to go “monk-mode”. I don’t recommend that for anybody. It was hard without community around except my family, but I had no friends that I knew I could go to and trust their influence. In the past, I blocked out anybody and everybody that tried to help me or pour into me. Now, here I was crawling back to the very people who I pushed away. Humbling, to say the least. This was about a six-month process. I never built up a huge crowd of friends, but that was because I rather quality over quantity. I’ve always had a solid group of about five friends that I was able to trust.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
I began to journal about the emotions I was feeling. I can recall thinking about issues in a new way. As if God allowed me to somewhat see things the way He sees them. It was bizarre. The first year after accepting Christ was truly a huge wake up call. I went to Ukraine that summer and became hooked on serving Him through oversea missions. It was the first time I experienced God as an international God.
I remember standing in the auditorium hearing the Ukraine kids worship along with the American team singing in English and I only heard one sound. He blew my mind. God taught me my first major lesson there. He is not just an American God; He is international. America is just a speck on the huge map of His galaxy.
Ya know the part of Aladdin when Aladdin and Jasmine are riding on the carpet and they both begin to sing “A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew…”? That’s the only way I can describe my life after becoming a Christian. I realized that I have so much more to live for. I didn’t feel the pressure of having to get drunk or act crazy to seem fun. I was just myself. Still silly, rambunctious, and at times crazy, but it was different this time around. He stamped my heart with His love and acceptance. I didn’t care about impressing the people I was around. Impressing Him was the only thing I worried about, which was easy considering His love is unconditional.
After my 10th grade year, I started to have doubts. They were out of the blue. I started debating on whether or not I made the right choice. I began thinking back on past weekends and events, reliving them over and over again in my mind. Sometimes envying my former friends. I wanted to be the center of attention again. I didn’t want to stay at home and I certainly didn’t want to run this race anymore.
I began to stray spiritually. Don’t misunderstand me when I say that. I was still doing the right things. I wasn’t drinking or smoking. I wasn’t going out. I wasn’t doing the “bad” things, but I certainly wasn’t doing the “good” things. I just existed. I stopped praying because I was angry with God. I couldn’t understand why I had such a fire in the beginning and then all the sudden felt washed out and just blah.
I wanted be awakened again. I desired to be full with Him. My prayer was answered, sooner than expected.