“I felt very isolated as a kid, and as I grew, I started to look for approval, value, and worth in what other people thought of me, specifically from girls and athletic coaches. Then, when I went to college, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. Many of the things I found my value in were no more; I was away from everything I knew, and I felt so alone.
“Instead of turning to Christ, I sprinted to the things that the world told me would satisfy – hookups, alcohol, etc. I was surrounded by people, but no one actually knew me. I was with different girls, but I felt so unlovable. Any time I would try to numb the pain, it just felt amplified the next morning after my poor choices.
“One day, I felt like I’d come to the end of myself. A girl I was dating thought she was pregnant, and immediately I was seeing a potential outcome of my actions and choices. While it turned out she wasn’t pregnant, this moment really broke me down. The Lord showed me my weakness. I just remember driving home from her apartment, processing what could have been, and I broke down in the parking lot outside of my dorm.
“As I sat in the car, I remembered that a friend sent me a podcast earlier in the month from Watermark. As the pastor shared his testimony, I learned about authenticity and heard the truth of Christ in a new light. The gospel isn’t about me, anything I can do, my image, or how perfect I am. It’s the opposite. It’s about God and what he has done in his love for me, despite how imperfect I am (Romans 5:8 and Titus 3:5).
“While I was still a sinner, He died for me. My sins would be forgiven and continuously forgiven. I didn’t have to try and make up for my past mistakes, but I could move forward with Christ. In that moment, I decided to follow and trust the Lord with my life completely.
“So, from that day on, I kept listening to podcasts and sermons. When I went home the next summer, I talked with my old youth pastor and confessed to him the way I’d been living. That entire summer, he discipled me and taught me how to read my Bible and what it means to truly follow the Lord. Before I came back to Dallas, he suggested I find a church that loves the Lord and that would disciple me. For me, that was Watermark!
“The Lord has been kind in my life to flip a lot of things on their head. I used to be so alone, and man, God gave me so much through a biblical community of other believers at Watermark. I began to see God for who he truly is. The more I learned about God, the more I realized each and every thing I sought from the world was found in Him. God forgave my sin. All that I felt guilt and shame about, all that had held me down and crushed me with anxiety, was gone when I believed the sentence, ‘It is finished,’ to be true (Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 10:9-10).
“If I were to encourage a young adult who was in the same spot I was, I would tell them that Christ satisfies everything, not just the promises of the Old Testament, but all your needs and desires. If you want to be loved, He died because He loved you so much (John 3:16). If you want to be secure, you can be secure in your salvation and eternity with Him (Ephesians 4:30). If you want to be cared for, His spirit can be in you and with you always (Matthew 28:20). Jesus is everything you are searching for in the world.
“I finally found the missing piece, and it wasn’t a girlfriend, a person, a party scene, a job, an award, or anything like that. I am satisfied in God. I now have the closest and most genuine friendships I could have dreamed of. I am fully known and fully loved by my community and God. There is no anxiety about who I am because I know God's love for me. I know I have life and life to the fullest in Christ, and there is nothing like it.
“My life is yet another that stands testament to the joy found in Jesus Christ. All else is fleeting and counterfeit.”