I've been a Christian basically my entire life. I was dedicated into the church as an infant, I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was about four or five years old, I've gone to the same church my entire life, my grandpa was a pastor, and I've gone to private schools. Everyone in my family has either accepted Christ into their lives or they've at least known about Him. I think I relied on those things, that some way that helped me to be a better person rather than realizing it was my own relationship.
When I was little, I was on fire for God! I loved Jesus more than anything, and wanted to make Him proud of me. Everything I did in my life, I was really doing it for God. I loved praying, singing worship, reading Bible stories, etc. That was all I knew.
As I got into my teen years, that started changing. It was never that I really rebelled or went against God, but I lost that zest. Suddenly, I just felt broken, bitter, and really angry most of the time. I still went to church faithfully, occasionally read the Bible, and was praying every night. But spiritually, I was not as close to God as I would've liked to have been. I was rushing through prayers to get whatever thing I "had to do" and my heart wasn't in it. I was trying, but not enough, and I knew it. My biggest thing is I love to be the one calling the shots, and I love to argue at times. Mistakes of my past, the way I was acting, and hurt that had happened long ago was catching up to me. But, instead of working on it, I was ignoring it and brushing it aside. I based happiness on what I was getting, who I was with, and what was going on around me, rather than getting true joy from the Lord.
This past year, I've been really working on my relationship with God, and He has been showing me so much. I've been able to work through past issues by talking about them with my best friends and that's something I never could've imagined myself doing, forgiving people that have hurt me, moving on, forgiving myself for mistakes I've made (and not being so hard on myself all the time). It has been really hard, but extremely rewarding to see how I'm coming out of that darkness that I've felt. God has broken down a lot of walls I've been holding up, allowed me to be more honest about my pain and has really helped me to start feeling God's love again, and in turn, learning to love myself and others in the process. I have SOOOO far to go believe me; my attitude and life is still not exactly where I want it to be, but I guess it's always going to be a process throughout the rest of my life.
I have the most incredible friends, and today during worship at church, it hit me. All of a sudden, I just really felt God and really started taking in just how much love I have around me. I am so grateful to my best friends that have stuck by me through it all, and to the new friends that have come into the picture, who I now consider some of my closest friends, wondering what I did before they were in my life. I love all of them and I can't wait to see all that we go through together in the years to come :) God is good!!!