Hey, my name is Austin. While I am a Christian today, I wouldn’t have always said that about myself.
I grew up in a family that attended church every Sunday, but always found it to be quite boring, and longed for the end of the sermons. I would’ve been thankful after I left church that I didn’t have to do anything else for God for the rest of the week.
From Monday through Saturday, I was 100% invested in my own happiness, which mostly found through the kind words of others. I was starving for the approval of others. For several years, I thought that sports, music, or being a supportive friend could win me the approval of others, but I rarely felt as though it did, and even WHEN it did, it just made me hungrier for more approval (in the same way one Lays chip inevitably makes you hungry for another no matter how mentally disciplined you are going into that bite).
Because I wanted God to make me happy, and never could imagine God being the one to make me happy, I became frustrated as the years went on and my heart felt empty. Nothing could satisfy me, and I spent a lot of time in depression. The thought of suicide was the most fulfilling thought I had, as I knew that if I died, people would at least take the time to say nice things about me at my funeral. Always feels weird to say that looking back, but it’s true.
When I was a sophomore in college, God started to pursue me through my friendships, and at a retreat organized by Cru, God began to change my life. All of the sudden, I felt horrible that I had always called myself a Christian but only cared about myself. It was pretty surreal. Anyways, I knew at that moment that God was seeking me out individually, and I recommitted my life to Him.
Although I find it hard to cry, I am brought to tears when I reflect on how personally God has approached me and led me to give up my reputation, my desire to do everything my peers were doing in college, and really my entire life plan. I don’t get emotional because God approached me personally about those things, but because in letting all of those things go, my life finally became rich. Sticking with the Lay’s chips analogy, the air in my bag was replace with substance. Stronger relationships, larger purpose, and a hope that feels naïve in today’s world.
My strongest desire now (aside from finishing up this testimony ASAP to keep it short) is to share my faith with others so they can enrich their lives and get their worlds rocked by Jesus just like I did.