I found Hope after losing myself during my teenage years.
Remember how I accepted Jesus, but forgot about it? It’s also the reason why I started to lose my sense of purpose.
Before, I thought the ultimate purpose of my life was to be happy.
It’s a simple and naive way to view life.
I believed if I was a source of happiness for my family or friends, then I’d already lived out my purpose.
If I feel happy, then I’d be just fine for the rest of my life.
So I chased things, achievements, dreams, and people who I think would bring happiness to my life.
I tried belonging in a group to feel accepted, worthy, and loved. I’ve done all of the things that were beneficial for myself, to please myself, and especially other people.
The question I’ve always been asking myself was: how can I be happy?
If I do this, have this, achieve this, reach this — then, I’d surely be happy.
Society dictates rules, steps, and guidelines on how to be happy.
I had followed a set of rules created by the world because they said you only live once.
I didn’t know that there were dangers in chasing happiness.
The pursuit of happiness and pleasure
As a kid, I already knew how I could be happy.
Watching TV after a long day in school was the best feeling ever. I dreamed of becoming a doctor when I grow up because it seems nice to help sick people.
Playing with friends during recess. Spending time with family even if they always teased me of not being a part of them. Talking to our dogs and wondering how they feel whenever I give them snacks.
Those were simple joys and pleasure I had when I was little.
Growing up — I started being curious about other people’s lives.
There were peer pressures, unstable mental health, and longing for a partner to fill up that empty feeling. I thought if I tried what others were doing, then I wouldn’t miss half of my life.
I’d thought I needed to follow the ways of society to be accepted. I even concluded that having a boyfriend would solve 99% of my loneliness.
The fear of missing out in life was winning over the values I should’ve had. I didn’t have a solid foundation about Christianity. I know I have a religion, but I wasn’t reading the Bible.
I was going with the flow because that’s what others were doing.
At least, the people who I chose to see.
Backslider = sheep away from its Shepherd
Let’s have a throwback to the year when I accepted Jesus as my Lord for the first time.
It was 2011. We were traveling for 2 hours to go to church every Sunday.
My family was also encouraging me to join youth camps because they said it was fun.
I was excited to join a camp in our local church, but it didn’t take long before I stopped going to church overall.
I was sleeping late on Saturdays that made me think of an excuse to sleep more on Sundays. Waking up early to go to church on a Sunday felt like a chore that I didn’t feel like doing.
And so the saddest thing about being a believer happened to me. I turned away from God.
They call these people backsliders of faith, those who chose their ways over the Word of God.
Imagine a sheep being away from its shepherd.
The sheep becomes lost because there was no one guiding him.
I became a lost sheep after choosing my feelings.
It was when chasing happiness all began.
My spiritual life declined, I wasn’t praying every day, and I was living as if I’d eventually figure it all out.
As I’m writing this, I still remember how it felt like to be lost. It hurts because I only relied on my strength, ego, and pride.
Heartbreak after another heartbreak
In 2017, I told one of my best friends that I felt that it was the year I’m going to have a boyfriend.
The funny thing was it came true as expected.
Fortunately, I met a guy with the same religion as me. But I didn’t become holy when we were together.
I was ashamed because he was going to their church every Sunday, yet I still don’t feel like going back to ours.
In short, our relationship wasn’t Christ-centered. I didn’t understand why we disagreed about divorce. Our values were not matching because we had different views in life.
We ended our relationship in a bad manner, and I admit it was out of my pride that I didn’t try to understand his reasons.
The break up had an impact on my studies even if I tried forgetting about it. I couldn’t focus in med school, and I failed a lot — myself included.
I looked for ways to forget, and I thought I was getting better at moving on. Alcohol was an escape from reality. And it gave a temporary band-aid to a deep-cut wound.
Until I hurt another person.
It was one of my best friends since grade school.
I had a fling with her ex because my ego says that it was okay since she was the one who broke up with him.
It was like Satan whispering, “It’s okay, it’s not your fault. Just continue what you’re doing. As long as you’re happy.”
But oh, the wheels have turned. I knew that I brought a deeper wound to somebody else because I hadn’t healed yet.
And just because I wanted the attention and the love I thought I needed from someone.
Anger, bitterness, and loss
I was angry at myself for feeling betrayed even if I was also the one who did the betraying.
Anger and bitterness lead me to hate the people who hurt me.
It felt like I needed an explanation as to why I had to experience that.
My friends were also mad at them, so I thought I was a victim who needed to receive justice.
It was two weeks full of anger and hate. I was thinking negatively about them and how they didn’t have a chance to change.
The feeling of hating other people was heavy enough to hate myself too.
I lost a best friend. I broke friendships. I realized that I still haven’t moved on from my ex. And everything I thought that was progress was just a lie.
I’m still not okay with my life. And something is still missing.
The Truth that set me free
There’s this quote that says, “just because someone carries it well, doesn’t mean it’s not heavy.”
This time, I didn’t carry the burden well.
I wanted to surrender, although I thought it was for the weak.
But who even is strong?
The president? A judge? A doctor? Ministry leader? Businessman? You?
One day, I tried to be kinder to myself. I accepted the bad things that happened. Then I started reading self-help books.
I stumbled upon Jericho (Jik) Arceo’s Facebook video about forgiveness.
He was preaching, and I resonated a lot from his message.
I felt like it was the Holy Spirit leading me back to the Truth.
A favorite quote from his video goes like this, “we forgive not because they deserve it, but because you deserve peace.”
Kuya Jik also said that our God forgave our sins when He sent His only Son to die for us.
That is how much God loves us. He wants to reconcile with us through Jesus, even if we are sinners.
After hearing that, I woke up from my life-lies.
I know I loved the people who hurt me. Now God is telling me to forgive them.
God forgave us, so why can’t we forgive others?
Regaining light and Hope
That was when I realized that I just needed to lift my head and pray to the Lord.
He was there all along, just waiting for me to come back.
He was stretching His hand to get a hold of me, but the problem was that I wasn’t looking at Him.
I was relying on my capabilities because I thought this was how life should be.
It was the time that I knew I needed to be serious with the Lord. I started reading the Bible, getting intentional with my devotions, and learning how to pray dangerous prayers.
A good friend shared the Gospel with me. So from that day, I knew I have to have faith in Christ.
My friend lead me to the Light, and I thank God it’s Jesus. I realized that He is our only Hope after all.
I joined a discipleship group after four months of hearing the Gospel. I’m still growing with them spiritually, and I praise God for their lives. I watch Elevate and CCF online services every weekend, and I also started to study the Bible intentionally.
I now know the actual purpose of my life. It is to seek to please God, not myself or other people anymore.
After re-accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, by God’s grace, I no longer seek pleasure in drinking alcohol and saying vulgar words. I also learned to forgive. And I’ve become more compassionate and loving to other people.
I’m still a work in progress, but I have our God to guide me along the way.
Thank you for reading.
All praise and glory be to God always.
Are you a lost sheep?
Or did you already find yourself in Christ?
- Writing this felt heavy and light at the same time. Praise God for letting me write this!
- Kuya Jik’s FB video lead me to forgive myself and others.
- Christ’s Commission Fellowship and Elevate community continues to help me gain wisdom from God’s Word.
- Join an Elevate dgroup by messaging me or m.me/ElevateMain.