“I didn’t want a lukewarm faith anymore. I didn’t want my life to be about my selfish desires. I wanted to follow Jesus, which is much different than simply claiming Christianity.”
“My secret life goal was to be happy,” said Alaina Haas. “There was a time when I thought I’d made it. I was living in Seattle, Washington. I had just graduated from the University of Central Florida and was getting the fresh start in a big city that I longed for. I had the ‘perfect’ guy, the ‘perfect’ job, and it seemed like my whole life was right in front of me. Everything seemed to fall perfectly into place. Why didn’t I feel happy?
“I grew up in a small beach town in Florida where the livin’ was easy. I had a ‘life is a party’ mindset, but also a desire to see what was out there in the world and a craving for city life. Pop culture also heavily influenced what I thought would bring me happiness. I loved the ‘reality’ TV shows that showed me what life could be like; the celebrities I could strive to look like; and the music that helped shape my worldview. Romantic comedies were #relationshipgoals. I dreamed of the day I’d finally feel complete when I found my soulmate.
“Although my worldview was affected by culture, I still believed that Jesus was real. Growing up, my parents took my sisters and me to church. I remember hearing that Jesus died for my sins, and if I trusted in Him I could spend eternity with Him in heaven. When given the opportunity to pray the prayer of salvation, I was more than willing and remember praying it every time it was offered, just in case the other times didn’t stick. After I prayed it, nothing about my life really changed, so I was always wondered if I was really a Christian and if I’d get to go to heaven. After all, hell seemed like the opposite of happiness.
“In college, from the outside looking in nothing about my life indicated I was a Christian, but I thought I was. When choosing a religion to identify with on my Facebook page it was an easy choice, ‘Christian,’ but in hindsight that must have been confusing for my friends watching my life play out in photos. At that time, I thought Christianity was simple: if you agreed that Jesus was the Son of God who died for your sins, you were in. I could always say sorry later for the things I wanted to do that were considered sins, and it would be all good. (Read Romans 6:1-14 to see where I was wrong.) I didn’t know that belief is more than answering a true or false question; it is accompanied by faith and repentance. I was presuming on God’s kindness (Romans 2:4).
“I was ‘living my best life’ in Seattle, and couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel happy. I was having extreme anxiety and panic attacks that made me feel like I was going to die. In case I did, I wanted to know where I was going to spend eternity – in heaven or hell. I started going to churches, reading the Bible, and doing research on world religions to find the answer. I kept being faced with the question, ‘Am I actually a Christian?’
“One day I remember sitting in church and hearing the pastor speak about James 2:19 that says, ‘You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.’ That’s when it hit me, I was not a Christian because I said I was or acknowledged Jesus as God. Even demons did that (Luke 4:33-34). I didn’t want a lukewarm faith anymore. I didn’t want my life to be about my selfish desires.I wanted to follow Jesus, which is much different than simply claiming Christianity.
“From there, everything changed. I decided I would give up anything to follow Jesus; so eventually I gave up my job, the guy, the lifestyle, and moved back to Florida to start my life over. It was really hard, but the only thing scarier than following Jesus was not following Him.
“When back in Florida, a friend sent me a podcast from The Porch. As I listened, I knew I wanted to be all-in with Christ. I got involved in a local church, continued to listen to The Porch podcast, and my faith continued to grow. A year later I came to Dallas with my twin sister and finally got to attend The Porch in person. Shortly thereafter I moved to Dallas to be a part of the Watermark Institute.
“Since then, God has used Watermark to grow my faith in so many ways. I have met amazing friends to follow Christ with, and I met my husband serving at The Porch. I never thought my life would look like this, but if given the chance to sacrifice the things I once thought I wanted in order to gain Christ, I’d do it again in a heartbeat (Philippians 3:8).
“I spent the first part of my life on a happiness journey, and now I’m on a mission to spend the rest of it on an obedience journey, regardlessof the outcome. I can say with confidence that happiness is not ultimate, Jesus is, and true joy can only be found in Him.”