Maybe it’s a female thing, because I know this video doesn’t have the same effect on Sean as it does on me…but seriously, I tear up every time I watch it…and if you know me well, you know I don’t tear up often. It’s just that every time the video hits the 4:33 point, I just lose it. This skit is such a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross and the hardships he endured just so that we could be reconciled with God. Well and maybe it’s more than a female thing…maybe it’s because I see myself and my own story in the girl’s character. I haven’t experienced everything she did in the skit, but the hopelessness (when she has the gun to her head) and the pain and obstacles she endures as she desperately reaches out for Christ and the freedom/relief she experiences when Christ steps in on her behalf really speaks to my heart in the deepest of ways.
Although I was raised in a family that attended church on Sundays, I always thought that Christianity was about a bunch of rules that could be summed up as a moral code we are supposed to abide by. As you can imagine, this kind of stale and lifeless religion had no appeal to me as I entered my teens. Along with my misunderstanding of what Christianity was, my family situation was difficult growing up which only served to further alienate me from God, who I felt didn’t care about me. Although I always felt like there probably was a God, I went about the first 18 years of my life essentially ignoring Him as I always felt there were much bigger priorities in my life.
When I graduated from high school in 2003 and began my first year of college at UCSB, I felt like I had it all together. I was getting excellent grades, I was dancing on a hip hop team, I had freedom to do whatever I wanted for the first time in my life, and I was in love. I was living the typical college student life, complete with drinking and partying and all the rest. As the school year went on, however, I found myself unhappy and depressed. I had everything I thought I wanted but somehow I still felt empty inside. I began to isolate myself more and more from friends and only found happiness in spending time with my boyfriend.
Returning to UCSB for my sophomore year of college, I knew something had to change. I began attending Campus Crusade for Christ meetings, and I started to hear bits and pieces of the Gospel for the first time. I was intrigued that I could (and was made to have) a personal relationship with the living God and I was floored that there was salvation through faith (instead of good works). I was told that it wasn’t about rules…it was about believing that Jesus is the Savior of the world and subsequently letting that truth transform my life.
What I was hearing made sense to me, but I needed to research it on my own as well…I didn’t want to be swept into an emotional high without studying the facts and verifying that what I was believing was real. After researching, I found that Jesus was a real man who walked the earth over 2,000 years ago. He claimed to be God and he predicted that he would die and rise again 3 days later and this prediction was fulfilled. Because Jesus’ prediction was fulfilled (and I found compelling evidence for that), it made sense to me that I should really take the things he said seriously. The most important thing being that God loves me, but I am separated from him because of my imperfections. Jesus’ death and resurrection provides the only means of reconciliation to God through belief in Him which consequently enables me to follow in His footsteps.
To be honest, choosing to follow God has not been the easiest path by any means…but it is the right path and it is the path that leads to life. When I chose to surrender my life to God, it meant giving up my own will to follow His. Letting go of my boyfriend at the time is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I still experience pain surrounding the whole situation to this day. I really did love him but I knew that the relationship was not healthy. Deciding to walk away from him and walk towards Christ was a most painful and gut-wrenching experience, but I now look back on it with an inexplicable fondness because I can see how much that experience shaped my faith. Looking back, I think the reason it was so difficult for me to let go of him was because I had made him my god – I had put my hope, trust, and faith in him rather than the true God who is the only one who will never disappoint.
I have known the Lord now for 5 ½ years and it’s so trippy for me to imagine how different my life would be if I hadn’t had the experience I had in college. I would be a completely different person…and honestly, I think I would be miserable. Life is not perfect and I experience many ups and downs in my journey with the Lord but I am truly a new person and my new life is more fulfilling, more adventurous, more edgy, more peaceful, more dangerous, more genuine, more exciting, and more loving that I ever imagined life could be. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Jesus redeemed and saved my life both on this earth and for eternity and He means everything to me. I strive to live my life every day as a testimony to Jesus’ love and in His power I plan to leave this world a different place because of my existence.