Growing up in the church, I was surrounded by biblical teaching and plenty of Christian community. I was blessed in this way and would definitely not be who I am today without my circumstances. Every Sunday, I would go through the motions of what I considered to be a “good Christian.” In doing so, I would serve in areas in the kid’s ministry to make people look at me in a better light and maybe even put my hand up in worship at the annual EPIC student retreat. But deep down, I felt that none of it was really for me. Going into high school, I struggled heavily with temptation and other worldly things that would pull me away from the Christian life. Living the double life of struggling, acting on temptations, and then putting on a good act on Sunday made me realize that that lifestyle would not allow me to truly grow in my faith. I had good intentions sometimes and would go through spiritual high moments, but somehow, I would always end up at ground zero again.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
At the start of my junior year of high school, I realized how important it was to turn away from the sin I was committing and actively try and pursue a Christ-like lifestyle. I found a biblical community that would hold me accountable through rough patches I still struggle with. My community is nowhere near perfect, but I found that struggling together and helping each other through it is the most beneficial thing for my relationships. Leading a small group has also helped me in my faith because I’m able to share my experiences with younger students and help them not make the same mistakes I did. Through that process, I’m also helping myself as I continue on my own pathway to maturity.
Finally, what God has been teaching me recently is how to let go of my pride and selfish instincts. I have been praying a lot in the past year for God to rid me of my selfishness so I can focus on my relationship with Him, and by doing so, I can truthfully say that I feel less pride in my life. I owe everything I have to God and what He has done for me. For that, I could never be more grateful.