And a reason for every season under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3).
I started university with a mindset that I was reaching the end of my life. I felt so much guilt and anxiety that I got heavily into alcohol in the hope to numb the pain of losing one of my best friends on my 18th birthday, and sometimes, to never wake up again.
I spent my first year physically trapping myself in my room and mentally trapping myself within walls of false comfort. As first year finished I returned to Cardiff where I continued to live the lie that everything was fine, but my family could see that it was like a part of me died with my friend. They knew that there was only one thing that could get me out of the hell I made myself comfortable living in.
So, my sisters invited me to the cinema on a Sunday morning, which turned out to be Freedom Church. From my first time, my perspective immediately started to change. As I kept on going to church and I finally started to read my bible, something led me to read Isaiah 55:8-13 where God says “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts”. This humbled me significantly and started to bring me some peace as I looked to the night sky and saw how insignificant me and my sufferings were compared to all of creation. It was this insignificance that made me realise a measure of just how deep Gods love is for me that it was even while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8).
Then came my summer of salvation. The church had a gathering for all the men, which just happened to be called Jonathan Camp. On the 2nd August 2014, I laid my life down and decided to completely follow Jesus. There I let go of all the oppression that I had started to become comfortable with and all I could feel was a shift in my life. A happiness that I had never felt before, knowing that there was still a purpose for my life. I realised that my greatest mistake was saying that “someday God will rescue me”. ‘Someday’ doesn’t come unless you make a move for it. What I found was that in all the time I was waiting for God, He was always waiting for me.
I still have my insecurities and my anxieties didn’t just float away, but what having faith and trust in God does is it teaches me how to handle all the things that happen in life. The bible doesn’t teach me what to think, it teaches me how to think. It continues to shape me to become the person that I needed when I was younger. It has flipped the way I see life; my rejection was Gods refinement, my suffering was His shaping, my weaknesses are His strengths and in my lack of self-belief and confidence, I see His confidence moving in me.
Following Jesus has put me in places where I would have never seen myself before, but that’s because Jesus didn’t save me for the things I’m prepared to do, He saved me for the things I’m called to do. And I hope my heart will never lose the wonder of His majesty and grace.
Now, I continue to press on with life knowing that I’m on the greatest adventure. It doesn’t matter if I sink or swim, because I will always be beautifully in over my head for a reason. And, I can always hold on to the promises that will always stand.