Once an insecure, proud teen who felt he had something to prove to the world. Now a changed man whose confidence is in God alone, with nothing to prove.
Who I Was Before Christ
You’ve heard the line, “There’s no crying in baseball”, well, there were at my baseball games. Growing up, I was a bona fide perfectionist and was really fragile around failure. I would let losing a baseball game or striking out define who I was and the last thing I wanted to be was a loser. So I looked for ways to prove myself to other people, seeking their approval and recognition. Seeking my parent’s approval, I made sure I stayed out of trouble, got good grades, and went to a good school with more ambitions of achieving. Seeking girls’ approval, I strove to dress a certain way, style my hair a certain way. Seeking my buddy’s approval, I took to the gym hoping to emerge a proven alpha male. Though the more I conformed to certain expectations, achieved academic milestones, or gained feelings of acceptance the more I felt like I was running on a treadmill whose speed was ever increasing.
When I started college, I was thrust into a new environment with a new set of expectations and ideals, and still a longing for approval and acceptance. I really struggled to fit in anywhere. Going to parties felt like visiting an alien planet. Making meaningful friendships felt like an exercise in futility. I felt myself growing depressed in what others called “the best time of your life”. Thankfully, I had people in my life that loved me and cared enough about me to notice. My aunt Sue, whose faith and family I had always admired, reached out to me. She called me one day and recommended I look into joining a church community and gave me the names and phone numbers of several people she thought could help. One such person was Karl, who was leading the campus ministry on the U of MN campus of a church called The Rock. Karl, tipped off by my aunt Sue, called me, wasting no time for me to call him. Karl invited me to check out The Rock and would give me rides whenever I took him up on his invitation. We also grabbed coffee and lunch several times. It was there that I first started to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ clearly explained to me. Though I didn’t fully grasp the truth or depth of the words Karl had shared with me, he had planted a seed.
Then, one night there was a knock at my dorm room door. After answering the door, I was met by two older college students who were going through the dorm conducting a survey. The questions started out simple and benign like “What is your name?”, “Where are you from?”, and “What is your major?”, but soon grew increasingly more challenging like, “Would you consider yourself a good person? Why?”, “Who defines what is good and what is bad?”, “Do you believe in Heaven? Do you believe in Hell?”, and finally, “If you were to die tonight, how confident are you that you’d go to Heaven?”. This last question would turn out to be the most important question I would ever answer in my entire life.
I said, “85%”. It was then these two college student shared with me that I could be 100% confident that I’d be going to Heaven when I died. It was then that the gospel seed Karl had planted took root. They explained the simple gospel truth that man was sinful and that God had sent his perfect and holy Son Jesus to pay for our sins on the cross. That night, I put my faith in Jesus.
Who I Am Now
Since that night in my dorm room, God has greatly changed my life. I know now that my security, approval, and purpose in life only come from God. Though my perfectionist nature remains a part of me, God continues the work he started in me my freshman year of college. He continues to shape my mind, my heart, my priorities, and the direction of my life. I’m now a part of a wonderful church family. I’ve been married for 5+ years to my incredible wife Rachel and am a proud father of our son Wesley and one more child on the way!
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Once a lost, know it all “Christian” kid. Now redeemed by God to live by faith.
Who I Was Before Christ:
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