I was brought up in a non-Christian family and came to disbelieve in the existence of God in my late teenage years.
My focus in life was on having fun, enjoying life and having the freedom to do whatever I wanted. 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.
From this, I later developed a drinking problem in college – getting smashed at least 4 times a week – whether alone or with friends, and prioritizing alcohol (and cigarettes) often above rent.
Alcohol was my confidence booster in social settings and my anesthetic behind closed doors, numbing and suppressing any negative feelings I had about life. I failed half my papers in my first year because I’d skip lectures from being hung over. 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 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 killing time waiting for class.
The three main points I got from the video were: 1) God loves us regardless of the bad things we do, 2) He’s always calling each of us into a relationship with Him, 3) but 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 then reject or accept it accordingly.
So, although I was afraid to change my life, I prayed to ask Jesus to come into my life in October 2008. At first I was anxious, thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” But thinking about how God loves me unconditionally and will never leave me helped 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 to push my problems under the mat by numbing them, or 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 God has shown me.
Sarah is now a missionary intern with Student Life in New Zealand.