Hebrews 12:14--"Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord."
God wants us to surround ourselves with the truth; He wants us to walk in peace. I can definitely tell you what it feels like not to walk in peace.
You see, my story starts out like so many others. I grew up in a christian home and grew up going to church, having just about everything I needed. But you see, when I was seven years old, something happen that kinda rocked my world..my grandfather died.
And to give you just an idea of how painful an experience that first real loss in my life was for me, my own father and I were never particularly close, but my grandpa and I were. I would always assist him on whatever project he was doing, whether it would be on a car or improving our house's electrical work (mostly I just talked to him), but he never sent me away or gave me any indication that I was annoying him. He was known to sometimes drop whatever he was doing just to come and see me at my house. He taught me everything about tools and home improvement projects until I got to shop class in middle school. In short, he was my father figure.
But when he died, I was so hurt and angry at God that I began to build a wall around my heart. I thought that being close to others wasn't worth getting hurt again. I remember that I wouldn't let anybody get through. God, family, friends, teachers...I shut all of them out of my heart. I continued building my wall higher and thicker throughout the rest of elementary and middle school. I tore it down a bit in high school, but in college, it went back up to one-hundred percent.
You see, I had a "god" in my life at the time, and that "god" was Star Trek.; I was (and continue to be) a HUGE trekkie. At one point, I had twenty-four Star Trek posters in my room. I had every movie plus countless episodes memorized. I had all the main characters' action figures as well as the main ship (plus a several others) from each series. Each Halloween from the first grade on, I inevitably went as a Star Trek character.The other kids in school weren't surprised at all. Star Trek is what I placed my value in. Star Trek is what I found my identity in.But you see, all the while I was putting so much of my self-worth in Star Trek, all the other kids (both at school and at church) would make fun of and tease me for it.
One of the reasons that I put this wall up was because I was the one at school who was always picked on. I was picked on because of my trekkieness and because I was the chubby one in the class.; I won't even waste your time by telling you what kind of bullying I endured, but suffice it to say that i was beaten up more than once in grade school. All the time, these bullies thought they were being cool and they had no idea what they were doing to me. Instead of standing up to them, I let them get into my head and I believed all the lies that they told me. In short their intimidation tactics worked.
As a result of being bullied and rejected so much, by the time I was in middle school, I was constantly looking over my shoulder, thinking that somebody was out to get me. I tell you, this paranoia and self-centeredness really wears on you. It wore on me to the point that in high school, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It got a little bit better when I got to high school (probably because I switched to a Christian school).
Medication and therapy helped in the short run, but after I got into college and back into the real world, it all came crashing down again. In high school, I tried to act the good christian when I was at church and at school, but apart from those times, I wasn't fooling anybody. When I got to college, idolatry is what I became. I became obsessed with Star Trek (and also with having a girlfriend. I was so lonely by this time that I kept feeding on my own lies of worthlessness and isolation. When these feelings got to their worst, I'd turn to cutting myself. It got to the point that I tried to take my life twice.
On the last attempt, I tried to kill myself because a good friend of mine told me that he had gotten a girlfriend, which was the last straw. Long story short, if it hadn't been for my good friends Devin and Kyle (identical twin brothers, by the way), I wouldn't be here today. After ward, I moved in with some guy friends I had from my church in Fort Collins, Colorado (where I went to college).
Even though I wasn't suicidal anymore, I was still the most self-centered and uber-senstive person in that part of town. To prove it, here's some of the stuff that I used to write on Facebook: "I don’t know if anyone can feel as I do. I don’t know if anyone can feel as much of an outsider as I am to this group. I know that they try to welcome people, but I’m too weird for them. No one in the world likes doing the things I do, so I wonder, “why bother”? They say that God’s love is the only love that matters, but I do not feel His love. Feeling as much of an outsider as I have, it’s impossible. They look at me as a fly that must be squashed quickly. No one understands, even when they claim to. Why can't I join in? I feel like I'm trapped on the inside of a plastic bubble all by me, and everyone is outside having all the fun. I see people happy in love, having groups of friends who actually consider them a part of the group, and they're getting just about everything that makes life all rosy for them. I wish I could have the same freedom that they have, but I can't. There are those in bubbles like mine, but they are the only ones who I can even communicate with. I feel like I'm screaming at the top of my lungs in the middle of a crowded room, and only a handful even look up, but they do so only for a moment before going on with whatever it is they're doing. I know that there are those in the world who are in bubbles, but there is something that makes mine thicker and more unpleasant...and I can't even tell you what it is. I know what it is, but it's something for which I have been carrying the burden for many years. It's not my being a trekkie, or anything of the sort (although that stuff has added to it). I feel that this thing is what God is punishing me for by putting me in this bubble. Where to begin…this is nothing new, but why does nobody take an interest in thins I like? Why do I have to conform my interests for people to even notice me?; Star Trek and Superman are the only things that entertain me, and Chuck Norris, also. It seems to me that I am the only one in the world who likes these things. You all keep telling me to branch out more and expand my horizons, but in fact, you all are telling me to forget what I am interested in because you all think you are better than me. Let me tell you all this—I have no intention of branching out and taking an interest in stuff you all like, because truth be told, all the stuff you people are interested in bores me to tears. I would rather have my brain cells spinning because of a deep episode of Star Trek than to have to be forced to watch a superficial and empty football game, chick flick, or anime show. Until any of you start taking an interest in what interests me, I will not budge, and don’t expect me to, because your request will be ignored. I know that God intended me to be alone…I know he did."
If that doesn't say that you're not saved, I don't know what does. So here's the story about how I truly came to know Christ, the night of February 17th, 2009. I'd had a difficult day of work at McDonald's. I came home and didn't want to talk to anybody...just went right up to my room and slammed the door. In order to vent my frustrations, I began cutting my forearm, yet again, hoping that somehow the pain would alleviate the pain I was experiencing from feeling so isolated.
After about a half-hour of that, I changed out of my McDonald's uniform and into my regular clothes, ran out of the house and began driving my truck around town as fast as I could. Not two minutes later did my roommate and dear friend Matt call me and ORDER me to come back to the house. Once I got back, he sat me down and had the guts to confront me by saying, "Dude, I don't think you're really saved. You try to act and talk like you are, but when it comes to the roommates, you aren't fooling anybody! The Bible says that the Fruits of the Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faith, and Self-Control. As far as I can see, you have none of those, especially peace." I then told him that I had self-control, but he then told me that if I had any self-control, then I wouldn't be a cutter anymore. He then listed other things that I was doing and saying that no person with an ounce of peace in their life would be doing. For the first time in a long time, I was scared that I might not have eternal life...if I were to die that night, I might not go to heaven.
Anyways, to make this long story short, I got on my knees and prayed...really PRAYED for the first time since my grandfather died nearly fifteen years before. It took half an hour, but I finally surrendered my all to Him.
And in the two and a half years since, I've had peace like none other, I've felt truly alive for the first time, and God has given me so many ministry opportunities, that it's not even funny.
For those who are going through things that I used to, I want you to know that God IS out there and that He DOES care. If you don't believe me, believe Him.; Also, if you know someone who's threatening to take their own life, please don't take it lightly...get them professional help, ASAP!!