Can you really find happiness?

  • by Sarah Templeton with Emilie Vinson
Sarah, on right, participating in a Student Life outreach. Photo courtesy Sarah Templeton.

My focus in life was on having fun, enjoying life and having the freedom to do whatever I wanted.

I was brought up in a non-Christian family and came to disbelieve in the existence of God in my late teenage years. My life revolved around partying, guys, friends, drugs and the weekends. My security and happiness came especially from alcohol, and what others thought of me.

When I got to college, I developed a drinking problem— getting smashed at least 4 times a week— whether I was alone or with friends. I would often prioritize alcohol (and cigarettes) above rent.

Alcohol was my confidence booster in social settings, and my anesthetic behind closed doors. It numbed and suppressed any negative feelings I had about life.

I failed half my papers in my first year because I’d be too hung over to show up to lectures. I was insecure about my appearance and developed an eating disorder because I thought people would like me more if I was thinner.

Then, in my second year, someone from Student Life (what Cru is called in Europe) approached me at St. David’s and showed me a short video on her iPod. I wasn’t too keen on chatting with a Christian, but I agreed since I was just waiting for class.

There were three main points that struck me from the video: 1) God loves us regardless of the bad things we do, 2) He’s always calling each of us into a relationship with Him, and 3) it’s up to us to make that decision to have a relationship with God.

She told me that it was through Jesus that we could begin a relationship with God.

I began asking a lot of questions and after exploring the answers I thought, If this stuff is true, why not give a relationship with God a go? What am I going to lose? Then I’ll know for sure whether it’s legit and can reject or accept it accordingly.

Although I was afraid to change my life, I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my life in October 2008.

At first I was anxious, thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” But remembering about how God loves me unconditionally and will never leave me helped to ease that anxiety.

Since then, I’ve seen a huge change in my outlook on life.

I know that complete security and happiness can only come from God, my Creator, who knows and loves me better than myself. I don’t have to look to what others think of me for value or acceptance. I no longer need to rely on alcohol to give me confidence or numb my problems; I don’t need to depend on an eating disorder to make me physically acceptable to others.

Looking back at my life before knowing Jesus, I never want to go back to the way I was before. My life is still not perfect, and never will be on this earth, but my motivation for life now is to enjoy it to the full, showing others the same love that God has shown me.

Sarah is now a missionary intern with Student Life in New Zealand.

Through Jesus, anyone can begin a relationship with God. Click here to learn how.

What’s your story? Did you become a Christian through Cru or any ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ? If so, tell us more at stories@cru.org.