I was born and raised in a Christian household.
I grew up under the impression that Christianity is just a rulebook that needs to be adhered to. As far as people around me in school were concerned, Christians were just a bunch of deluded folks who believe in a God just for self-comfort.
The tipping point came in 2013. I was 16 and decided I’d had enough of being viewed like this. Christians really don’t know why they believe in God, I decided.
The doubts then came thick and fast. All my life, when I had questions that weren’t easily answered, I’d been told to “just have faith”. But that didn’t make sense! How could an all-loving God allow suffering? How could the Christian God be the only real god?
I still remember bringing my cigarettes along to church in case I got bored.
Besides, I wasn’t doing a very good job following that “rulebook” either. What did I have to lose? Nothing.
So I left the faith.
I regularly went drinking, clubbing and smoking thereafter, even though I was underaged. I was in physically intimate relationships with girls. Throughout this whole period, my parents still forced me to go to the small family church they attended, and I unwillingly obliged. I still remember bringing my cigarettes along to church in case I got bored.
I really wasn’t searching for my faith at all. But a part of me – no matter how small – still wanted to call Jesus “Lord” again.
I came to the conclusion that if I were to subscribe to a faith someday, the Christian faith made the most sense.
In December 2014, I was promised school credit if I helped cater food for a youth camp in my family church, so I agreed. God didn’t stir my heart during that camp. He moved after.
I was alone in my room, and all of a sudden, I broke down, and wept like I’d never wept before. I came to a sudden realisation that God was so real, and no matter how far I ran, I could never outrun Him. Everything revolved around Him. He created the universe. He created me.
That was the turning point for me – but not like how you’d imagine. Little did I know this was the start of a long and painful process. Because while I managed to walk away from my old lifestyle of smoking and getting drunk, I struggled with letting go of a relationship.
I tried to hold on to the illusion that it was God’s will for the both of us to be together, since she was from church.
We hadn’t thought much before jumping into the relationship. On hindsight, we weren’t ready, spiritually or in terms of where we were in life. So we grew unhealthily dependent on each other – I placed my security in her and got easily affected by our petty fights. On top of that, the physical temptation was very strong too.
When that relationship fell through, I found myself hopelessly lost once again.
Hopeless? It’s funny how God works sometimes. He reached out to me on … YouTube.
I’m still here today – back in God’s house and back in His arms.
I found my way to the church I call home today, after I chanced upon a video by a drummer, who played in church. I decided to visit that church in the August of 2015.
And I’m still here today – back in God’s house and back in His arms.
When I think back through my journey here, I’m in awe of His patience and grace. I’m aware I’m a work-in-progress, and there’s a long way to go. But I’m never hopeless – I’m not hopeless – because I now know I have a God who’ll come back for me. Through the fog of smoke, the stench of booze, the shame of breakups – nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.