I have shared this part of my story with a number of people, but not a large majority of people.
Over the past 4 years, I have been on a journey; this journey has not been easy and still isn’t always easy. A lot of the story has only been revealed to me over the last year.
Let’s start in 2014. This is when my life started to change, I think a good place to start is my education. In 2014 the CGA, CMA and CA designations decided to unite under the new designation CPA. Well, I was a student in the CGA program, and when we (me and other students) tried to get information regarding the transition, we were met with answers of we aren’t sure what will all happen, just keep taking courses so that they can transfer. For some reason that I’m not even sure of this really affected me and I began to feel extremely discouraged. I kept taking courses as suggested, but the motivation was gone, and discouragement had taken over. I failed 3 courses in a row. When you are already discouraged, this does nothing but make your self-esteem drop. Let it be known, that I am not trying to blame CGA or CPA for anything, it was just a trigger.
That summer I stopped taking courses, and began to seclude myself, and start up bad old habits like a porn addiction I thought was dealt with. Satan knew my weaknesses and exploited every single one of them. Over the next 2 years, I would find myself sinking lower and lower into this pit.
The next attack came in late 2015/early 2016 when I began to obsess about my body image. I knew I was overweight, and with the added pressure of society constantly showing what the ideal male body should look like I decided I needed to change, not for God, but for me. So my new year’s resolution for 2016 was that I would stop eating sweets for 6 months. It worked! I lost 30lbs by the time my Brothers wedding came around. However, even though I looked healthy on the outside, I was not healthy mentally or spiritually. Looking back, I can remember that on a regular basis (maybe once a week) I would think about driving my car full speed into a hydro pole. I never thought of myself as suicidal and wasn’t even aware I was doing it on a regular basis, until afterward. Living life to be healthy for the sake of being healthy is not ok. Living life to follow God is the only way.
This would be the lesson I would re-learn over the course of 2017. Through all of this, I was still involved in youth ministry and Sunday school, but I had begun to distance myself from the Sunday morning service. I would use excuses like “I was too tired” or “I would watch a sermon at home”. These were lies I was telling myself and others. What was really going on was subconsciously I was too afraid to face those around me that would probably be the ones who could help me. One day though I got caught. As I was leaving Church one Sunday, I got a text from Autumn Dueck, the youth pastor at the time. It read something like “Which Church are you going to?” I replied, “I’m actually going home, I had a long weekend.”. A LIE! But man was this a wake-up call. Later that afternoon I sent an honest response, explaining things as I saw them at that time (my eyes have since been opened to seeing so much more of my story). Starting that week I made a commitment to myself. Be more intentional! I started attending church weekly, with the intention of learning. I started greeting people and actually having conversations and opening up. It has made a tremendous change in my life.
I know now that this was a valley I had to go through to re-ignite my passion for Jesus, Church, people and youth ministry. I’m not perfect and I still make mistakes (secluding myself on occasion) but things are still going up!
Two verses that have really been my internal anthem over 2017 are Isaiah 40:31 and Psalm 103 (the whole chapter). I am so thankful for the people that have challenged me and encouraged me through this time, and for an amazing church family. Can I end with a few prayer requests? Please pray that I stay strong in my faith and continue to seek Jesus every day, pray for wisdom as I mentor youth over the next 4 years, and finally for endurance to continue to be intentional every chance I get.
Thanks for reading, this has been a very hard story to write (I had planned to post this months ago)