What happens when you stop putting God at the center of your life

I grew up in a Christian household, went to church and Sunday School every Sunday, knew all the kid friendly stories in the Bible like Noah and the Ark or Jonah and the Wale. I knew God died for my sins because my mom and dad told me He did and they’d get emotional when they told me, so I figured it must be true, but honestly, I didn’t believe it until college.

I just didn’t understand why I should put God at the center of my life. I had so much to do (at least I thought I did, in my mind, I was a very busy individual). I had grades to maintain, deadlines to meet for yearbook and newspaper, football games to cheer at, stupid boys to impress (that was the biggest waste of energy in high school). I didn’t really have time to put God first, I thought to myself He’ll understand.

It started making sense when I got to college and no longer felt obligated to go to church every Sunday. In fact, I wasn’t even obligated to find a church home. My parents kept insisting on Skype every week that I find one, but honestly, it went in one ear and out the other.

Eventually I became very depressed, something only my roommate really saw first hand (by the way, she was a total trooper through it all). There were weeks (yes weeks) where I couldn’t get out of bed, I’d miss class consistently and I felt like I couldn’t tell my teachers because they wouldn’t understand. In fact, I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone. I finished my first semester at Mizzou with very low spirits and self esteem.

When I came back in the spring I was ready to turn over a new leaf (is that the saying?). I started going to gym, praying and reading the bible, I even went to church a few times, it helped. I got happier, healthier and for a while, things were good. But the problem with things being good is that sometimes they get so good you begin to think you got there on your own and don’t need God.

This lasted for a while, I was on top of the world and even though I hit some lows every once in a while, none of it was as bad as what I experienced my freshmen year.

Fast forward to senior year and things were really looking up. I found out I’d be graduating on time, I successfully switched schools and officially declared a major (it’s never too late I’m told) my best friend became my boyfriend and I had two jobs and an internship for the semester, among other titles on campus, I figured nothing could go wrong.

But God has such a great sense of humor and He loves calling us back to where we belong and for that, I will always be thankful.

I was sitting in my car today, tear filled eyes wondering why I wasn’t happy. Wondering why even though things were going so well I wasn’t satisfied. I was stressed about life after graduation, about my relationship, money, grades. Then it hit me, I really couldn’t really remember the last time I prayed. I couldn’t even remember the last time I opened my Bible. I was getting stressed out about things that were completely out of my control and that God would be glad to take care of on my behalf, if I let Him.

I have allowed myself to get to that point where I think I don’t need God (I don’t actually think this, I know I can’t do anything without Him, however, I have forgotten to thank Him for all He’s given me). The difference is this time I’m not depressed, things are going well, but still I’ve felt like something has been missing. That missing piece, Jesus Christ of course.

It’s cool if He’s not for you, if you don’t believe in a higher power who has control over your life, but I do and ever since senior year has started, I have forgotten that. It’s why I haven’t felt like I’ve had anything to write, it’s why my internships and campus positions haven’t felt fulfilling and it’s especially why I have been picking fights with my boyfriend David.

The awesome thing about God’s love is that it’s unconditional and He loves us in spite of our mistakes.

Two months ago I created this bucket list and I haven’t been living up to my goal of being spiritually healthy, but that ends today. I still have half the semester and another semester to hold myself to my bucket list and make my senior year worthwhile and I now know that if I don’t keep God in the center of it all, it just won’t work.

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