Growing up I was scared of missing out on life. I grew up in the Church and generally believed what I was taught about God and Jesus dying for my sins. The problem was that if I believed in all of that, then I would need to devote my life to not having fun. You know, can’t do this and can’t do that. Who are you kidding? I was only going to be a kid once and I had no intentions of missing out on what life had to offer. I wanted to experience freedom, freedom to act how I want and do what I want. I figured that someday I would have a serious job, get married, and have kids and that would be the time to devote my life to restrictions.
So I did what I wanted and I tried not to let anyone get in my way. I continued this way through high school and into college. I was having a lot of fun chasing whatever caught my interest. Now this was freedom…or so I thought.
In my Junior year of college at North Dakota State University I started to think about the future, more specifically about the future with my girlfriend that I had been dating for 5 ½ years. I loved this girl and I wanted her to be part of my future. The more I thought about this the more I felt the Lord pulling on my heart, saying, if you want it to last you need to live for me. I think deep inside I had always known that, but I still wasn’t ready to give up this life of freedom.
I didn’t mention any of the thoughts I was having to my girlfriend, I was scared. I had no idea how she would respond. But then strangely enough, a friend of ours at NDSU to ask us to attend a college aged church service and even more strangely, we said yes. So, for the first time while at college, we attended a church service. When we got to the church I realized it was a baptismal service. Great, I gave up part of my Saturday night to watch a bunch of kids get dunked in the water, I sarcastically thought.
Before each young person was baptized they would give their testimony of how they came to know the Lord as their Savior. While listening to these kids give their testimony of how the Lord changed their life I realized that I was living a lie. I wasn’t happy. My life was not full of freedom and gratification. As I tried to hide the tears rolling down my face from my girlfriend, I knew it was time for a change. I said “Lord, I don’t want to live for myself anymore, I am tired of doing it my way, I want to live for you.”
That night I decided to follow Christ and I felt like a weight was lifted and that I had a new life, but I also had a new problem, I had to tell my girlfriend. But how do I her? I had no idea what she would say. It took a while, but I finally worked up enough courage. I explained what had happened the night before at the service and I told her that if we were going to have a lasting relationship we both had to be living lives for the Lord. Once I had laid it all out to her, I clicked the send button and the email was off. What she replied to my was a complete shock. She said that she had also given her heart to the Lord that night and she agreed that we needed to live for Him if we were going to make our relationship work in the long run. Wow! Even as I type this, I get tears in my eyes. To know the paths that we were on, and now to look back to see how God pursued us and brought us into a saving relationship with His Son. Talk about a God moment….
After turning to Christ I was a new person. I was changed from the inside out, not by my own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. I saw life through a totally different set of eyes. I treated people better, I started focusing my efforts on things that matter, I gained a totally new perspective and my interests even changed. One of my new interests…..shooting and hunting. That’s right… I wasn’t big into shooting and hunting, my eyes were opened. I suddenly became very passionate about the outdoors and the hunting and shooting sports. Finally, with my new life I gained the freedom that I had been searching for all along.
This freedom was a weight lifted. By God’s grace the bondage created by my sinful life was wiped away. Since that point I have truly been able to experience life in abundance. It’s not that I don’t struggle with life and sin issues like everyone else, but when I am able to trust God with who I am and what He has in store, I can truly enjoy life. I can truly enjoy life through God’s gift of grace.
God has so many blessing in store for you, but if you are living life for yourself you are missing out on those blessing. It’s not until you give up your life that you find a much better one. I thank God for all that He has done in my life and the position that he has put me in. Ultimately, it’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about God. It is about doing His work here on earth. It is about living out what God has called you here to do. You were created uniquely and you have a specific calling on your life, give your life to the Lord and see what amazing things He has in store. I’m sure glad I did.
As for the girlfriend of mine….Well, realized I wasn’t getting any better looking so I tricked her into marrying me before she figured out she was way out my league. Not only is she my wife, but she is also my best friend and the mother of our two beautiful children. I have been blessed in so many ways. God continues to open the doors that lead to His purpose for my life. It is impossible to foresee all of the awesome ways that God can use you and the many blessings He has in store for you. The only way we can find out is to Trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
If you have any questions regarding my story or if you are curious about living a life of purpose, I would love to hear from you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org