Continued from Part 1
So I became a Christian in seventh grade. I knew where I was going when I died. But it took a while before I began to see any “fruit” of the Holy Spirit living inside of me (for those who may not know, we believe that once a person accepts Christ as their Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in that person’s heart to continue guiding them in God’s truth; Acts 2:38, John 14:26). There were a few different reasons for not seeing much fruit immediately. I was not plugged into a local church (remember, I lived 40 min away from my school), and I didn’t have a personal mentor to teach/disciple me. At the same time, I was going through the teenage years in full force. Peer pressure, insecurity, feeling lost, hormonal changes, etc. – you name it, I experienced it.
Things took a significant turn at the beginning of my junior year. I got my driver’s license and my first car, and I did what many teenagers do…I wanted to fit in with the crowd, so I lied to my parents and went to places without permission. Then I was caught. The way I was caught was so comical/ironic, it had to be God. My parents were not harsh on me, but I’ve always been hard on myself. I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt and shame. I was once again soaked in self-pity. I wondered if I was ever going to be good enough. I wondered if I was ever going to fit in with my peers. I wondered if I was going to be truly happy. I was going through a deep internal downward spiral…and that’s when it happened. That’s when I finally experienced God’s love. Up to this point, I had heard about it, read about it, and thought I believed it. But this was when I experienced it. I tasted and I saw – that God is truly good. And He really loves me, for who I am. It happened through the people God brought into my life at just the right time. It happened through what I read in the Bible. It happened through the worship songs I heard and sang. It happened through the Holy Spirit overwhelming me with emotions I never felt before. I found friends and teachers who guided me in His truth, and I also started attending church regularly for the first time.
In my current study of Christian psychology, I read from author Larry Crabb that every human being has a need for significance and security. We long to find the answer “YES” to the questions: Do I matter? Am I loved? Am I accepted and safe? As human beings, we continually seek sources (in ourselves or in others) that can satisfy these needs. But only ONE SOURCE can completely and unconditionally meet those needs, and that source is Jesus.
Jesus said to the woman at the well (John 4:14):
“But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”
In the well of God’s unconditional love, I experienced true life and true joy for the first time. It’s not that everything was so horrible before then. It’s not that everything was peachy from that point on. It’s so hard to explain; it was as if a dark, cloudy filter was lifted off from my eyes…and I saw everything in clear light. I no longer was consumed with self-pity. I was excited about living and excited about how God can use me to spread His amazing love to others. For the first time since I could remember, I was thankful for my life and all that He has blessed me with. For the first time, I wanted to live my life for someone else (God) and not be so consumed with myself and my world.
I finally tasted the Living Water…and I was no longer thirsty.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
–1 Peter 5:9
Continued on Part 3…