I’d like to address some private, personal things I have never before discussed with anyone. Why? I truly hope that I will in a way relate to others out there who may be struggling with similar issues. And to perhaps encourage open communication on these struggles, inspire hope, and encourage those fellow brothers and sisters to rely on God for strength and overcome pain—however seemingly small or large that pain is.
When I was 18, I left the church I grew up in. My whole life, God was an acquaintance. I didn’t get to know Him intimately until this past year. I am now 21 years old and in the three years I chose to ignore Christ, I went down a dark road that ultimately led me back to Him and provided the opportunity for an intimate relationship I had never known was possible with Him.
For many years, I have struggled with an intense self-loathing. I was brought up in a Christian home with two parents who are still together and who still love each other. I had excellent mentors and strong friendships. I had talents that people encouraged me to use for God. And as I got older, I felt so incredibly guilty that my life was comfortable and easy when the lives of others were not. Why did my boss’ 9-year-old son have to have a lifetime of medical issues and four transplants? Why did that girl I know lose her brother because he killed himself? Why did that little boy who used to play with my brother get leukemia? Why did my Aunt lose her daughter? Why did I remain unscathed? I was very angry with myself because I was powerless over these situations. And because I didn’t know of a healthy way to deal with my strange frustration, I chose to punish myself for having it good instead of seeking ways to exhibit compassion toward those who were truly suffering.