In high school, I was known to throw big house parties in our old corner block mansion, full of countless exciting memories and fun nights to remember. I had it all. I had parents who loved me, valuable close friends, and attended a private Catholic school with an average GPA and no shortage of championship titles and athletic success. I had popularity, a two-door black Ford Mustang, and I wasn’t terrible with the ladies either. But at the end of the night, these moments seemed fleeting as air. Though I was seen as confident and sturdy on the outside, I was hollow, full of insecurities, and purposeless on the inside.
High school was ‘it’ for me, and the future was on hold. My thoughts were constantly consumed with plans for the weekend, my reputation, success at sports, and having fun. I deeply desired attention from the local newspapers, family, friends, and most importantly from peers at school. Yet when the long-anticipated spotlight ever presented itself, I would push away and deflect attention as unwanted and bothersome. I wrestled about what I wanted: battling a misguided lust for praise and attention vs. my internal convictions and morality.
In my journey of faith and search for purpose, it was in church where life gained traction. I was always very interested in learning who Jesus was. Growing up, really, the only thing that was clear to me was Jesus. I would never wrestle with him in my mind; He was real to me.
I always considered one life goal:
“What if I could give my life to a greater purpose than myself?”
Like a soldier who enlists in the Army, I longed to devote my life to something great. I kept coming to the conclusion that maybe I should become a priest … Seriously! Yet, this ambition was quickly choked out. My interests shifted more towards selfishness, self-destructive friendships, a lust for pleasure and sex, and an idol of leaving a legacy in high school through sports.
It wasn’t until my freshman year in college that God became very real to me. During my first year living on campus, I met a group of Christian guys who were all-in for their faith. This group of guys showed me what it looked like to love God and to love people – to truly love anything at all. Their passion was contagious and real.
I decided I would quit smoking, drinking, and partying with my old friends because I started to see how empty these were leaving me. I felt I was on the right path of change, but I didn’t know why or for what purpose. By the end of my first semester, after having made countless poor choices in school and in my personal life that left me guilty and shameful, I was ready to go ‘all in’ with my chips, something worth all I had.
On a Wednesday night, on March 4, 2009, God broke through my walls to win me over with a brand new life through the Gospel – the truth that for every sinner, even a sinner like me, a man named Jesus died to give me not only forgiveness of sins, but a brand new righteousness and new life! At a campus outreach, when I sincerely believed in Jesus Christ, I was able to experience exactly what I heard Jesus had promised- a life giving drink to a thirsty wanderer like me.
“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
– John 4:14
Jesus came to give us life – and to have it to the full. Now I clearly see my life’s purpose is to reflect what Jesus did for me: to lay my life down for others and to give up my glory and dreams in exchange for the mission and glory of one who is worthy. For Jesus!
Do you want to know more?
If you want to know more about having a relationship with God through Jesus, check out:
Do You Know for Certain?