I grew up with the idea that, more than likely, I would establish a connection with God later in life. First, I wanted to have fun and enjoy life to the fullest. I wanted to experience all the great parts of life that I had heard the Bible told me I couldn’t do. You know the saying, “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew, and don’t date girls who do,” which was easier said than done in Kansas.
When I did go to church, I got the impression that being a Christian was more about what you don’t do than what you can do. Stuff like, “Don’t listen to the wrong music. Don’t have sex. Don’t dance too close. Don’t talk like that. Don’t, don’t, don’t!” When I listened to church people enough and believed them, I began to see God as just a giant schoolteacher who was holding a giant ruler ready to smack my hands, ready to judge, ready to punish, and ready to steal all joy from my life.
It never occurred to me that God wanted a relationship with me. It never occurred to me that God loved me just the way I was. It never occurred to me that God was trying to guide me to the best possible life, not keep me from it. He cared more about me as a person than I could ever imagine.
I had to learn all of that the hard way. I ran toward many things in life that God was trying to save me from. I was shady (verging on illegal) with my finances whenever I thought it could benefit me. I lied to people to get ahead. I was sexually immoral because I was certain it would bring me satisfaction and fulfillment. I abused substances and narcotics because I thought it would bring me more joy than a God I could not see. I became very good at my work, believing that it would give me a greater sense of purpose in life. I tried so hard in so many ways, but still ended up lonely (although surrounded by friends), depressed (although looking successful), and broke (although dressed in the coolest clothes). I hated what my life had become.
Then one day, I decided to give it all over to God. I remember thinking, “Why not? I’ve failed thus far.” I realized that God loved me, had a plan for me, and that living in His will would bring peace, joy, fulfillment, and purpose that I could not attain on my own. Our decision to submit to God, and honor him with every area of our life, isn’t about stealing our joy and fulfillment in life. It’s about attaining those things (peace, joy, fulfillment) in ways we never could on our own. That’s what Solomon meant when he said:
Prov. 14:27, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.”
We have been learning together throughout this journey through Proverbs that close communication with God (praying and reading His word are key) is the best possible way to live. And in that, submitting more and more of our lives to Him on a daily basis, knowing that all things are well when He is in charge.
Keep going! You’re making huge strides, even if you don’t feel it everyday.
Have a great day!