When I was growing up, I thought Christianity was about being a good person. I attended church with my family every week very religiously and always sat in the fourth row right in front. At school I would always pursue good grades and be a well-mannered guy. People probably knew me as the nice guy, yet they did not know me for who I was. My sports career was another main focus in my life. I worked as hard as I possibly could to try to become one of the best runners in the state as part of the York Cross Country program, a program that had won 21 state titles going into my senior year. Those are the things that I pursued as my main goals. Relationships with others were only secondary. I never really cared too much about other people. Of course, I had a few friends here and there, yet the focus was always on me. It was about being intelligent and continually trying to get good grades in the hopes that I would achieve my dreams and make a large amount of money. Also, it was about being good at sports and having everyone give me admiration of how good of an athlete I was. I always wanted the glory, and everyone to recognize my achievements. No one else mattered in comparison. This went on through out most of high school. However, I began to realize during my senior year how shallow and empty my life was, and that I had few meaningful relationships. Not only that, but the vigor and love of life had been sapped out of me while I tried to pursue the goals I had for my cross-country season and my academic career. I felt an emptiness and isolation for most of my senior year.
My freshman year of college was when my life began to change. It was the beginning of the school year and I went to Quad Day and stopped by the Students for Christ booth, among the sea of tables for Christian groups. I gave them my contact information and asked them to call me. Sure enough the following day, I got a call from a guy named Shaun. He wanted to personally meet me and give me some information on small group bible study. When we met, Shaun asked me if I wanted to see an illustration about Jesus. I was curious, so I accepted. I was awestruck to learn that Christianity was really about having a personal relationship with Jesus, not about good works or being a good person. That night I asked Jesus into my life.
This was when I noticed change in my life, however slow. It was not as if the heavens opened and the ray of light came into me. Yet, in retrospect, I have undergone a complete transformation over the last two years. My focus changed from being totally on me in my pursuits of academics, sports and career. My relationships completely changed. Instead focusing on myself, I began to care for others and to actually love and appreciated others for who they are. My relationships with past friends and with my family have gotten much better. Furthermore, I enjoy meeting new people as opposed to the years past of being fearful or shy. Another major change was my self-image. I had always had a low self-image and was about pleasing others. Jesus changed that and has established one that does not change according to what others think. I no longer have reservations about showing people who I truly am. Finally, Jesus has given me an inner peace amid all the peaks and valleys in life regardless of the circumstances!