By Rebecca McNeil
Even though I was raised in a Christian home, I never felt very connected with the church, or to God, for that matter. I accepted Christ into my heart at the age of five, and even rededicated my life to Jesus in 7th grade. I attended church every Sunday, but I felt distanced from all of it. Growing up, I rarely prayed, read the Bible, or gave thought to what the purpose of my life was. Instead, I strove to take control of my own life and become successful at whatever I did. I got good grades, excelled in sports, got a part-time job as soon as I was old enough to work, and applied to a number of top colleges, all in hopes of not only pleasing myself, but to please others as well. I spent the majority of my life believing the lie that the more successful I was, the more people would love me. However, whenever I experienced a failure, my successes were of no comfort, and I felt utterly alone.
While I was home for summer break after finishing my second year of college, I met some new friends. These people were happy, motivated, and they weren’t lonely at all. Most importantly, they were Christians. I realized that I too had the opportunity to be living such a life, but I knew I had to place my full trust in Christ this time. I finally came to understand that I couldn’t afford to be “lukewarm” in my faith any longer, and that relying solely on myself was not the solution to my problems. This time, I knew I had to relinquish control over every aspect of my life to Him. Up to that point in college, I had been partying heavily, had been involved in unhealthy relationships with young men, and had isolated myself from my family and friends. I knew all along that I had been sinning, but it is that summer when I finally realized that Christ had already paid the price for those sins, and that all I had to do was place my full faith in Him. He would change my life for the better and repair all my brokenness.
Since I re-accepted Christ into my life, there have been a number of changes. I put an end to my previous unhealthy lifestyle, and I have become closer to my parents and siblings than ever before. I am now able to build healthy relationships with friends and feel increasingly connected to them, whereas before I often felt that I had shallow, empty friendships, which ultimately contributed to my past loneliness. Instead of trying to deal with problems on my own and remain independent, I now give my problems to God. Additionally, the love He has shown me has given me a renewed motivation and drive to show His love to others, unlike my previous tendency to search for love and acceptance in others (and feel let down when they did not give me what I wanted). With Jesus as my Savior, I am confident that I will never be alone. In the good times and the bad, in my successes and my failures, I can rest knowing that He will always love me unconditionally.