Life Story God Moments Cartoon Posted June 2, 2021

"I don't want to be here."

Thus began a cascade of emotions in my ministry class. I didn't have my homework done. I had zero faith that my life was going to get any better. I was such a mess that there was no way my teacher and his students wouldn't notice. I wanted nothing more than to stop wasting everyone's time and be booted from the program.

But nobody condemned me. Instead, everyone gathered around and prayed for me as I cried uncontrollably. There were many questions, of course, but these people could see that my overall condition was a symptom of a problem that was never fully addressed. Who said I was a fraud? What was I afraid of? And why did I feel this way? I've had a lot of time to find these answers, and one therapist that I was referred to revealed that the framework of my heavenly Father largely mimicked that of my earthly father.

It all started on the night I dropped by my father's office with a bunch of awards from band. "Finally," I thought. "He will surely be proud of me now!" But my father simply glanced over them and shrugged them off. "Is all that really going to matter down the road?" he asked. He then said that my college scholarship "should've went to someone more deserving." I became enraged and proceeded to slam my plaques onto his desk. It was probably the only time I had the sand to blow up on him. But in my anger, my mind became hijacked with a new mentality:

"Nothing in my past matters.
Nothing I'm doing now is good enough.
The future is when I can finally be happy."

I stopped being outgoing. I stopped drawing. I stopped being creative. I stopped singing, playing in bands, and doing many other things that made me feel like myself. Because I HATED myself, and all I wanted was to be a different person. It didn't matter who – as long as my life was important and in order. "Nothing in my past matters."

Of course, it's never that simple. I ended up having an anxiety attack because I was trying too hard to be somebody else. I soon found myself struggling to make it in the real world, which further cemented my present mindset: "Nothing I'm doing now is good enough."

But even when things turned around, I still wasn't satisfied. I needed certainty. The future is when everything would be fine. The future is all that mattered. "The future is when I can finally be happy." I became so obsessed that I genuinely believed my life was ruined once my grade in class slipped to a 99.5%.

So... what finally changed my perspective on life? What broke the mold for me?

The answer was an old, moldy, mouse-infested box.

As I was getting my living space ready for an exterminator, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the sheer amount of things I had long forgotten about. Crafts. Drawings. Video and music projects. My decorated letterman jacket and awards. I had so many good things going with my God-given gifts, and I made the deliberate choice to abandon them. I was so focused on tracking the changes in my anxiety and depression that I lost track of the changes I made to better myself. But most importantly... the future had already come to pass, and I still wasn't happy.

Once I realized this, everything else started to click for me. I started remembering all the times people complimented my work, and how I adamantly ignored them. I could recall when my father regretted what he said, and how I refused to believe him. Once I was able to reckon with my past, I was able to look even further back.

Way, way, way back.

"He [God] hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." - Eph. 1:4

So here's my new mentality...

"Nothing in my past matters. Chosen. Before the earth was made.
Nothing I'm doing now is good enough. To inherit Christ's righteousness before the Father.
The future is when I can finally be happy." For all time. Done.

Once I was able to rebuild my framework of the heavenly Father, I started to feel that love. I started feeling a renewed passion in many of the things I once cared about. I started to really feel like myself again.

I started drawing and hanging out with friends more.

I started to branch out, make new friends, and sing again.

Now I'm leading worship at my church.

This can be your story as well. If you find yourself not feeling God's love at all – not even a little bit – you may have some things blocking your path. You might even have a box somewhere that needs to be sorted out. It won't be easy to revisit it... in fact, this is probably the hardest column I've ever written. But I wrote all this not because everything is amazing now, but because of His amazing grace.

I once was lost, but now I'm found.

Was blind, but now I see.