I’ve been thinking about myself a lot lately (surprise, surprise). I have to wait an hour to sign up for my prep class for the FE exam so I might as well put some of my thoughts on paper.
I think I’m ready to restart my relationship with God.
Simple as that. There’s not much rhyme or reason to this decision, but something I just felt like I had to do. There’s so many issues there that I don’t even know where to begin, but I guess that’s why I’m back to blogging about it. I suppose I should start from the beginning.
For a loooongg time (approximately 2 years), I could have been considered to be “wandering”. I spent all that time looking for myself, my identity. I grew up in a Christian home with God fearing parents and raised from birth inside the Church. I went to a private school (HCA represent) for 8 years. I know the Christian walk. I’ve read/heard all those things associated with it. Whether it be God/Jesus/Bible, I knew that shit inside out. There were very few kids who knew it as well as I did. I memorized Bible verses like none other. I knew what I “had” to do or better said, what I was “supposed” to do. And in the midst of all that, I lost myself.
I feel like everyone has those growing pains, those moments when you stop being your parents’ child and start becoming your own person. And I guess I’ve always associated Christianity as something that was all around me, and I just kinda went along with it. I mean I truly believed, there is no doubt in my mind that what I experienced was genuine and real, but somewhere along the way, everything turned sour. I remember being really young (6?) and accepting Christ on my bed….not sure what was going through my head, but I think it had something to do with not wanting to go to hell or maybe wanting to be with my friends/family after death. Thus began my spectacularly unspectacular spiritual walk.
Things were going swimmingly, I was still just being a kid, not knowing what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t until…..8th grade? 9th grade? At my first snow camp…I remember Jason Stonehouse was speaking. He spoke about being real, being a real Christian, and I remember being so heartbroken. I felt like such a liar. I had always been an honest child, but here was this man telling me I’ve been living a lie. I want to say God really touched me that retreat, and I decided to dedicate my life to God.
It wasn’t going to be easy, and I guess I wasn’t prepared for that.
I rode the proverbial spiritual “roller coaster” for many years after that. Retreats come and retreats go. Eventually, I lost my “passion” and was satisfied with only “maturing”. I assumed the responsibilities of a small group leader and eventually, a youth group leader. I took these steps because I felt like it was only the natural thing to do. Much like school where 12th grade comes after 11th grade, small group leader naturally comes after small group member. What’s worse was that these things progressed in an annual fashion. It was only until just recently (within the last year or two) that this way of thinking was incredibly flawed. There’s no time line. There are next steps, but they’re not dependent on time. They’re organic, natural. Less like graduating. More like growing taller.
Why was I in such a rush? I ran myself into the ground. I made it all unbearable, bit off more than I could chew. Simply put, I wasn’t ready. I blame myself for ruining my spiritual walk, blinding my own eyes. I couldn’t get a clear look at what Christianity was all about because I was too busy associating it with my past. Pretty sad that I’m only starting to learn what it really means to develop a relationship with God my senior year. I guess I always knew, deep down at the bottom of my heart, that I would always return. I just needed to wait, to forget all those things I thought I knew before, and start anew. That’s why I still joined a small group every year. I wandered, but I never strayed too far away. Always waiting until I was ready. I was done forcing myself to do things because I know how rebellious I am. The moment someone tries to “force” me to do something is the moment I start second-guessing myself…even something as small as saying I “should” do something.
But here I am now, someone completely different than that freshman who stepped onto Illinois soil 4 years ago. And yet, I haven’t changed at all. Maybe I just spent this time peeling off the layers that I surrounded myself with. Looking deeper within and throwing off the chains that bound me. I was searching for the person that I had buried for the past 22 years. Maybe that’s why I haven’t done anything for the past year. I had finally become my own person, and I didn’t know what to do next.
I have always been aware of the hand that God has played in life. He’s honestly been a part of everything. I see it. From the people I meet to the school that I go to, everything has been so easy. It has always been as if God has dropped my life into my lap, and for the longest time, I fought against it. I fought against His blessings.
- I grew up in a great family.
- I have a great education.
- I can pay for college.
- I got into one of the best engineering schools in the nation (#1 CIVIL HOLLER) and it was 1 of 3 schools that I applied to. It was either UIUC or Rutgers…
- The people I met at college.
- The opportunity to retake classes to improve my GPA
- My internship was literally just given to me. 0 interview. 1 resume…
and the list really goes on and on. And I fought against it all the time. It was all just too easy. Life was too easy, too scripted, too boring. I have always felt like a puppet, like we’re all puppets, dancing in front of God for His amusement. For the longest time, I wanted to cut my strings. I wanted to stop dancing to someone else’s tune. But I guess God had different plans for me. I couldn’t ruin my life even if I tried. I wandered, but I never lost sight of my shepherd. I was lost, but I knew exactly where I was. I don’t know what it is….I think the moment I decided to take the internship, I subconsciously began to just accept God’s blessings rather than fight against them.
The internship isn’t something directly related to my concentration, but it is such a great opportunity. It’s a great experience, and it includes everything I was looking for in one. I wanted to go to Taiwan. They’re going to give me 2 weeks. Now, I can go to my cousin’s wedding in Taiwan and then to my other cousin’s wedding in Thailand. I’m back home in NJ. The pieces fit….and it’s always been like that. I was a little reluctant at first because it was so easy and a little out of my concentration. But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to limit myself to just my primary. By accepting that internship, I was accepting the fact that I may not go into something I want now, but I was gambling on the future being something better. I think that when the time comes, I’ll make the right decision. I’ll be happy with it. And in this way, I feel like I’m accepting God’s plan rather than my own. I don’t know if you guys can see this relationship or not, but yea. I guess I’m too afraid to gamble on myself, but that’s a whole other issue. Probably because I have 0 passion about almost everything.
But that’s just one of the little things that have been pushing me. Little by little, gentle prodding. It doesn’t feel like a push, just a gentle hand on my back. A nod and a smile, some assurance to take the next step. Now I’m not going to make the same mistakes again. I’m not forcing myself to do anything. I know who I am right now. I know that I’m still selfish. I know God wants my whole heart, my whole being, but that’s something I’m not ready to give yet. And for a while, this was a big reason why I didn’t come back. If I can’t give it my all…why should I even try? But it’s such, such a waste. I feel my heart softening. What was once hard, cold and sharp….is slowly becoming warm, soft, and somewhat malleable. At Sunday service, I wanted to be like who I was 4 years ago. I wanted that fervor, that passion. I know how hardheaded and stupid I was, but my heart was still in the right place. I realize now how much happier I was back then. And trust me, it’s been a VERY LONG TIME since I wanted to go backwards. I’m a very forward moving person. My mentality was to never take a step back, grit your teeth, be decisive, steel your soul, and push forward. This is probably the moment where I look back….and wonder about where I went wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting your mistakes. There’s always time to turn back. It’s never too late…
These words continue to ring my ears.
It’s such a small step, but to me….this is huge, and I don’t care what other people think. I’ll walk at my own pace, grow at my own speed. I still have my own dreams, my own desires. I’m still rebellious. I’m still hard of heart, selfish and proud. But I want to give God another chance; I want to give myself another chance. I want to come back. I hate how I’m so cold now. I used to be warm, happy, joyful. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can’t promise that I’ll come back, and I won’t say I’ll leave again either. I can only stay true to myself. I just want another chance….
With all the twists and turns in my life, maybe I’m finally taking a step in the right direction.