Me? Worried and stressed? PSSHHH!!! I got my life all under control. Family, work, and my personal life were going smooth because I knew what I wanted, and had my life all planned out. This is how I looked on the surface, but deep down something seemed to be missing from my life. Many of my dreams went unfulfilled, so I was depressed and worried about life here on earth. And though I believed in heaven, I had no idea if I was going to make it there.
At the age of six, I was introduced to Christianity and heard the Bible stories. Uninformed of what it meant, I prayed a prayer to receive Jesus into my heart because all the other boys and girls were doing it, and I didn’t want to be alone. As I grew up, my backyard games became the typical boy’s dream. To go pro! This would be the drive that would eventually lead to my own philosophy of thinking positive. I would get invited to churches every now and then, but most kids at the churches treated me and my brother like outcasts, and people would do crazy stuff in church. I thought it was nuts. In middle school, I started hanging around the wrong crowd and built a habit of drinking all the way through high school. It was the only way I thought I could fit in. Boy was I a hypocrite. Here I thought since I did some religious activities and was a “good boy”, I’d be able to help others with their problems, but I couldn’t even help myself. The fear of dying and going to hell still crept in my mind. Does God forgive everything? I thought I just had to believe in Jesus? Why do I doubt? I don’t know? I just kept looking forward and thought positive because negative thoughts don’t get you anywhere. The more feel good sermons I’d listen to, the more depressed I would get when dreams wouldn’t work out. That’s when I prayed to God to help me out only whenever I needed Him.
Throughout this time, I had something to fall back on as well – a good-paying future. Finishing up college as fast as possible with a high-paying degree would allow me to have the job and freedom I wanted, only working six months a year while making six figures. Life was fun and going great, but the feelings of emptiness and worry still kept me in bondage.
While attending our last semesters at college, my brother and I were watching YouTube and came across an interesting religious video that led us to ask questions. My brother then remembered there was a Christian guy on campus who had talked to him a while back and thought maybe he would have an answer. He answered our questions and we were later invited to Bible study, but I still had one more question that needed to be answered. People here were very kind and weren’t going crazy and acting nuts. We hardly got that from any other church. And the Bible study we attended was exactly over the last question I had. I was excited and found out I didn’t have to keep doing going deeds and get water baptized as a requirement to get to heaven. And to believe in Jesus meant more than just to acknowledge that He existed, it was to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice alone to forgive me of ALL my past, present, and future sins. That is what I’m trusting in now, not my good deeds.
Now, I have a right view of God and no longer need to achieve my dreams to get the satisfaction I need. I no longer try to be a people-pleaser by doing what they consider “fun”, but instead I have a new group of friends with whom I enjoy fellowshipping. The feelings of emptiness that come with unfulfilled dreams don’t take a toll on me because I now have a purpose in life and am accomplishing something truly important. Now, my objective in life is to share the good news about Christ with others, to build-up others spiritually, and to grow in Christ-like character myself. The up-and-down emotions of guilt and worry about my eternal destination don’t enslave me, because I know exactly where I am going. It has nothing to do with who I am and what I’ve done, but only in Who Jesus is and His finished work on the cross. As it says in John 8:36,“So if the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”