Once again, all original thought has left me for today, so I will attempt to entertain you with another section of my back story.
After that Easter night when I thought about killing myself, I lived in constant anxiety that I was not giving my all to God. How I coped with my anxiety that night was to tell myself that I would try to obey every little voice that might be him, but that was not really feasible, I found out. And so I lived in immense worry. My stomach was constantly in knots, rolling with acid. Every day, it was as if it was Judgment Day - I felt that I had to decide to give my all to God at that moment or go to Hell for all eternity. And why couldn't I do it? I loved him, didn't I? I tried to talk with spiritual leaders at my school about what was going on, but nothing they said could ease the overwhelming feeling of dread I walk around with constantly.
Then, at a meeting I was attending for a spiritual leadership position I held on my hall, one of my fellow dorm leaders announced that she had given her life to Jesus for the first time, though she had lived her whole life thinking she was a Christian. She said that people at her church had opened her eyes to see that what she had before was just service to someone she didn't really know or love. Then she decided to receive the love of Jesus instead of trying to give and everything changed. She knew that she knew him and her life was suddenly filled with peace. Now, when this girl said these things, I was immediately angry. Why did someone have to come with this as the answer to my worry. Why did I have to say I wasn't a Christian for anything to change? Reluctantly, I called her to my room very late one night and confessed everything that had been going on. I told her that I thought I didn't know Jesus - and I meant it. She convinced me to start going to church with her, which began a four month struggle to give my life to Jesus, though I had already done so when I was five.
I talked with several people from the church individually, though I made little progress toward the place I was convinced I needed to go. I felt a real hole in my life, a real unhappiness and unrest, but, the more I thought about it, I didn't want to give up control of my life to Jesus. As many good things as people said about him, he just didn't seem that appealing to me. There was good that came of this time, though. With encouragement from others, I started the process of learning to just be myself and let God show me he loved me that way instead of trying to be perfect and therefore earn his love. (As you can tell from other posts, I am still working on the perfection thing.) I didn't read my Bible unless I wanted to, and stopped praying superstitiously. It felt like quite a departure from God, but it also felt freeing. I could finally just stop.
Then, on February 1, 2010, I sat during worship at a college-aged service, and wept. I thought about how awful I felt all the time and how much I needed Jesus. I realized that all I had to do was ask for him and he would do it. Seeing my tears, the friend who originally brought me to that church told me it was time to receive Jesus. She said I could have him right then if I just asked. I told her I wasn't ready. She said that she knew I was, that Jesus had told her he was faithful to save me. Another friend told me Jesus had told her tonight was my night to give my life to him. Though I felt pressured, I finally agreed to take the plunge and prayed the "sinner's prayer" that night to be saved. When we lifted our heads, everything was the same. They all started hugging me and rejoicing, but I mostly just felt confused. No lights? No smoke? Where was the life-changing moment? And yet, when they asked me how I felt, I knew that something was different. Something miraculous had happened. I felt peace. And joy. And all my questions just stopped. It didn't matter anymore because I felt loved. I had Jesus in my heart...and I knew it.
I'm sure you'll be waiting with bated breath for the next installment of this thrilling tale!