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Sustaining Peace

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“Throughout my life, I’ve not only had a continued faulty view of God, but also a faulty definition of what a man is,” said Dillon Everett. “The world told me success, athleticism, and attention from girls defined a man.

“I grew up in a house of four siblings in Phoenix, Arizona. We were raised in an all-American Christian household with the best parents. They were always there for us and came to all of our sports games. I was blessed to know about Jesus at a young age because of my parents, but I didn’t personally put it all together until my early teens. I was baptized as a baby, but trusted Christ at 14. My life as a Christian in my teens was marked by good, moral choices, but I was missing an intimate relationship with Christ.

“My siblings and I dedicated a lot of our lives to sports, and I specifically focused on baseball. I was fortunate to play at a high level, winning a couple of state championships through my high school years, and eventually received a scholarship to Mizzou for baseball.

“When I started college, I was enticed by a different lifestyle. I was partying, having inappropriate relationships with girls, and feeding my own ego. I felt myself giving into more and more temptation. I was going to Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings and church on Sundays, but also living in the party scene and being thoughtless on the weekends. I had one foot in the world and one foot in the Church; I was serving two masters (Matthew 6:24). I remember being hungover as I sat in the back of church on Sundays. A growing tension between these two parts of my life manifested in a lot of internal anxiety and feelings of unrest.

“I was starting shortstop, team captain, and was set for a breakout year my junior year of college. When I broke my hand during the first game of the season, the injury took my plans off course. I spiraled into deeper inner conflict and doubted God. This was the first time in my life I faced the reality of an enemy searching to devour us and make us second guess God’s plan and power.

“I went home that summer to Phoenix and talked with my pastor. I explained to him my anxiety and sleepless nights. He very boldly asked me questions about my spiritual life and my choices, ‘Are you drinking? Having sex outside of marriage? Are you making baseball an idol?’ My answers to all of his questions were, ‘yes.’

“This was the first time I was confronted with my sin in such a blatant way. It finally clicked, and I understood that we serve a zealous God who wants us to fully commit to Him. It was clear that if I wanted to be rescued and experience true peace, I needed to fully surrender my life to Christ. I still battled a lot of my sin habits. It wasn’t an overnight switch, but my heart posture was shifting, and I found myself craving different things.

“I was signed as a free agent with the Angels and was able to live my dream of playing professional baseball. When that ended, I wasn’t sure what God had for me next. My heart change and desire to honor Christ led me to join a discipleship program at my church in Phoenix. In that ministry, I found intimacy with the Lord and learned how to read my Bible. I don’t think there was another season when I’ve spent so much time alone with the Lord.

“I surrendered my life to Christ, and He restructured it. He broke down the foundation and rebuilt it. Everything I’d spent years building for myself was gone, but God was not. My intimate relationship with Christ gave my life new purpose and meaning.

“Now that I live in Dallas, I have the privilege to serve at The Porch and talk to guys with my previous mindset. Christ is using my past to help me connect with others. Some of the guys I talk to are chasing a false joy they’ll never find. As the Lord is growing and refining me through my experiences, I’ve learned that true joy is found by being humble and serving Christ, not through the rat race of trying to outdo those around you.

“Throughout my life, I’ve wrestled with not only a faulty view of God, but also a faulty definition of what a man is. In my heart, I thought success, athleticism, and attention from girls defined a man. But I am continually reminded of 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ‘Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.’ Because of the love and grace Christ has for me, my desire is to be a man who models His humility; the complete opposite from what the world tells us. His will for my life has become clearer: a life of love, discipline, commitment, and most importantly, a relationship with Him.”