Aniston, 19, Mississippi, USA
I was a lukewarm Christian.
I “surrendered my life to Christ” at 14 at a church camp. You’d think that would’ve been my happy ending, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me. Less than two months later, I dove right back into my old lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, in the eyes of the world, I was a “good person.” But the truth is that I was living for myself, not Christ.
When I entered high school, I immediately sought out popularity. I was desperate for validation from both the “cool” girls and the popular boys. I still put up the good-girl front, but secretly, I struggled with hidden sins. Though I called myself a Christian, my identity was wrapped up in my sport (swimming) and my social status.
My freshman year of college, I fell even further away. My church-going and Bible reading were almost immediately replaced with alcohol and parties. God was very obviously on the back burner. Only a few months into the school year, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Not long after, I was diagnosed with a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, and later, an eating disorder. As the suicidal thoughts arose, I sought solace in alcohol. I was always chasing the next party.
In the summer of 2019, I checked myself into a mental hospital. After spending a day there, I was discharged. When I got home, I met a boy. I had major trust and commitment issues from my past, but this guy seemed different…so, I let him in. Unfortunately, I was still suffering mentally. So, soon after we started dating, I briefly left town for a residential treatment program in another state.
When I got back home, I found out that the boy had begun seeing another girl. I was shattered. Were it not for the efforts of my mom and two friends, I would have committed suicide that night. At my lowest point, I cried out to God, “Why, again? Why do I keep taking hits like this?” All I wanted was a stable relationship with someone who wouldn’t leave me at my worst. All I wanted was someone I could trust. Finally, it hit me: I was searching for God.
Almost immediately, I felt a fire ignite within me. Once I recognized my obvious desire for God, I chased Him down — and He began changing my life. Although I still have hard mental health days, God is now the center of my life. I am no longer lukewarm and I thank God for that, because His peace is like none other! Because of Him, my struggle isn’t in vain. He is using me, and my struggle, to share the good news of salvation with the masses!
“But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:14