Have you ever felt something pulling at your heart? That your life should be more meaningful than how it is now? That you wanted to get out of the misery you find yourself in? Have you ever felt a longing to be happy and have a real purpose in your life? I did, and I decided to listen to that longing that was in my heart…
I always knew there was a Higher Power, even though I grew up in a home where we did not speak about God. Looking back, I can see that God was always with me, working in my young heart and drawing me to Himself. Since childhood, I prayed and talked to God about things that I felt I couldn’t talk to my parents about, even though I didn’t really understand to whom I was praying.
God was with me as a child
I was an angry child in an unhappy home. Things got worse and at age 13, I had to leave my home for 4-5 months. During that time, I stayed with my aunt and uncle who were Christians. Staying with them was a good experience and I saw people who were happy and loved one another. I could see the difference between them and my own family. The main difference was that they were happy and my family was not.
After I returned home, things went well for a time. Then I became a rebellious, difficult teenager and I felt like my life was falling apart. I knew I needed help and that the only place to get that help was from God. So I started to keep a diary. Every day I would write a random verse from the Bible in my diary and then write down what I thought about that verse. Through this writing down of my thoughts, I realised that I loved Jesus and that when I sinned, it hurt Him. I didn’t want to hurt the One I loved!
A happy decision
I knew that my life was still missing something, so I spoke with my aunt with whom I lived when I was a child. The result was that she bought me a ticket to a Christian youth conference weekend in the mountains. I cried the whole weekend because I felt like I had finally found my home – this was where I belonged! I was very thankful that Jesus hadn’t given up on me and that He had believed in me, even when I hadn’t believed in myself.
That weekend, at age 17, I gave my heart to Jesus and decided to change the way I had been living up to now. I kept myself close to people who believed in God and could help me how to live for Him. I wanted to live my life together with Him. I realised that if I doubted something or had unrest about doing something, there was probably a reason for it; it was my conscience speaking to me. While I was changing outward things like who I was friends with and what I spent my time doing, my focus slowly turned from trying to control outward things to my thought life and inner life. My attitude towards everything changed.
The answer to everything is here!
At home I did not receive any support for my decision to live for Jesus, and the difference between the spirit at home and the spirit in the church became very clear to me. I realised that I could use these difficult situations I was in, either to get closer to God or lose hope in everything. I made a firm decision that I was going to give it everything and live my life completely for Jesus, so I moved out of my family home. I began to really read in the Bible instead of just picking verses here and there. The more I read, the more excited I became. My roommate came home one day while I was reading the Bible and I called out to her, “It’s all here! The answer to everything is here!”
I realised that it was through God’s mercy that I received grace to give my life to Him and become so happy. It didn’t matter what my past was or what my circumstances were, God had been calling me and had put a longing for the good in my heart. He had been there with me during the darkest times of my life and has been drawing me to Himself the whole time.
More than a one-time decision
The decision to live for Him has not been something I decided just once. I needed to continue to choose to live for Him in the small, everyday situations. Do I choose to do my own will, or do I choose to do His will? Do I choose to get angry when someone does something mean or stupid, or do I choose to remain in goodness and love? Choosing to live for God is a daily choice that I have to make every day, and this is a battle in my thoughts and in my heart. It doesn’t come naturally to be good or patient or kind. As I continue to choose the good and choose to live for Jesus every single day, I become happier and happier and those around me could see it. My parents have never seen me this happy ever before and they now accept the way I have chosen to live.
“Practice these things, and live by them so that your progress will be visible to all. Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach. If you do this, you will save yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (CEB).
If God can bring me to a happy, fulfilling life for Him, He can definitely do it for you too. But you have to give yourself 100% and love Him and want to serve Him with all your heart. I didn’t sit and wait for things in my life to change but was active in trying to find God. He helped me and gave me the power and grace I needed to live for Him and come to a happy life. And He will also do the same for you if you search for Him with all your heart. No matter what your circumstances are. (Jeremiah 29:13.)
“I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life. Love the LORD your God, obey him and be faithful to him, and then you and your descendants will live long in the land that he promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (ERV). God has given us a choice; choose life!