Done Playing Pretend

I Grew Up...

in a Christian family and my parents took me to church pretty much every time the doors were open. I volunteered with many ministries in the church so I seemed like an active Christian. But as I got older, I became lonely. It seemed like God was so far away and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t hear Him. I felt like no one understood what I was going through and there was no one else like me. I got so mad at myself and soon I started to hate myself. I tore myself down in any way I could, whether it was physically, mentally, or verbally.

I had always been told that God never left me, but I couldn’t feel Him near. The hard part was that I didn’t have anyone near my age to pull me closer to Christ. I kept thinking that I had to be this strong Christian, one that brought everyone closer to God, but that’s hard to do when I didn’t feel close to Him. I found out about a college ministry called Merge and decided I should try it out. We were going through a series about why we believe what we believe. The second week in we were talking about baptism. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to get anything out of this message because I knew about a Christian’s baptism beliefs.

At the end of the message, Brandon, the leader, asked us to really think about if we had been baptized for the right reasons or if we had even been baptized after we came to know Christ. So I thought about it, I knew I had been baptized when I was young. But God made me start thinking about my relationship with Him. I realized that I didn’t really have a relationship with Him. Sure, I knew a lot about God because I had grown up in church, but it was head knowledge, not heart knowledge. I had just been playing the game of church. I put on this “mask” to impress everyone. I had acted as if I was this good Christian who had everything together.

When I wasn’t in church I wasn’t a bad person, I just didn’t pay much attention to God. I didn’t have a personal relationship with Him. I basically played pretend. No one could tell I was fake. I started to believe myself so it made me feel better, until now. As I sat among many college students I knew I was wrong. I knew I had just used God as a way not to go to hell. Satan started telling me that I wasn’t worth anything. With all the sins I had committed, for playing pretend, for hating and hurting myself, and not caring about God, I felt like no one could forgive me. But for the first time I felt God’s peace just rush over me. Everything around me faded and it was just me and God. He told me he would forgive me; all I had to do was ask.

God opened my eyes that night. I was broken in every way possible, but God made me whole. I surrendered my entire life to Him. I was done playing pretend and now I am living out my life for Christ.