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Trading my certainty for awe

Hi my name is Sam, and I’ve been around this website on and off since it came out. I guess I never made an account. I’d like to share something that changed my life.

I’ve struggled with depression/suicide/anxiety and different subgenres and disorders within these terms for over a decade.

I’m adopted. I’m loved. I was raised in the Church. I became a Christian at a young age, not because my parents wanted me to, but because I chose to.

I worked in my youth ministry volunteering and leading. I went on leadership retreats, prayer retreats, anything I could be involved in. I moved into a Christian high school and things started to change. I began being told certain theologies and dogmas I’d have to conform to in order to “maintain” my faith. These are unimportant theologies in my opinion (New/Old Creationism, Evolution, Rapture).
I watched my Church become caught up in a “Pastoral affair”.
I watched my friends come out about their homosexuality, and become disowned by their Christian family (not just their Church “family” their actual FAMILY).
I lost faith in the Church somewhere in here… not in God quite yet. I decided I would do things my way.

8th grade onward began my pursuit of whatever pleasure I could get my hands on.
(I tried any drug I could find or was offered. I began selling drugs, I slept around and went through broken relationship after broken relationship. Bought hookers, like at this point I could write for an hour of all the things I tried. I tried overdosing on sleeping pills to just get the FUCK out of my head. Anything to seperate myself from that Church and the people inside it.)

I began college in Agricultural Biotechnology.
I began learning things I was told contradicted MY beliefs. This began a 6 year struggle with the existence and validity of MY concept of God. In all these years of theories, postulates, chemistry I found myself feeling even more hopeless. There was nothing in science that ever fulfilled this longing for purpose. The purpose of science was originally to discover the nature of creation because of a belief that God is rational and therefor his creation must also be. So I’m back at square one I guess…

In all these years, my depression worsened. Every broken relationship, every gram, every Ken Ham debate… Existential dread turned into hopelessness which turned into a voice, the only voice that I heard anymore that provided me a REASONABLE ANSWER. The voice every day would tell me, “Just kill yourself. End it. You’re worthless. There is no truth, no center, no peace.”

God was packed up nicely in a box on my shelf.

Back in February, I had another break. I’d wound up at a strip club at 1pm, got black out by 5pm, missed my therapist appointment… I remember that week screaming at God at the top of my lungs. “Kill me or leave me the fuck alone” I felt like everyone else could live this “happy” atheistic/agnostic lifestyle, but for some reason I couldn’t. People think existentialism is an intellectual pursuit until… until these thoughts lead you to a hopeless place… and then it becomes a mental disorder.

I decided to go to a Church one Friday. Just a church. The sermon was on the anchors and truly it isn’t what is important. I gave up that day. I just gave up. I had searched for answers everywhere. I went back to church because maybe I had some comfort there before, but the real reason is because I truly believed in God… just not the Church. I sat alone with the same suicidal voice repeating the same lines over and over.

In an instant, the voice changed. It sounded different, but it said the same thing, “Kill yourself” but more pronounced. Kill your… SELF. Kill this self identity. The only thing the world can tell us to give us hope is this falsified identity that I’d been constructing for a decade. Just weeks before I told God to FUCK OFF… Why… Why didn’t he fuck off.

It’s now a few months past that date and I could spend 27 paragraphs and 18 more posts to explain what is different, but I could explain what isn’t different in one sentence.

I’m still struggling.

I’m no longer suicidal, but my anxiety and depression builds up and crests like waves on the ocean. I’m better, but I’m not magically “perfect”. I still fuck up. I still deal with addiction to a variety of different things. I still struggle with my own selfishness.

BUT FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE I FEEL LIKE I CAN FUCKING BREATHE!

I’m not here to tell you it gets better over night. I’m not here to tell you going to Church will change your life. I’m not here to tell you that the God I believe in will make everything perfect for you tomorrow.

I’m here to say just a few things.
I love you, no matter who you are we share the same broken heart.
You’re never too far away from God (If you believe in God or not).
I still STRUGGLE and FAIL.

We live in a culture right now that is willing to accept you up until you make a “fundamental mistake”. Love in our culture ends there. Once you’ve committed a “cultural sin”, you’re an outcast and outside of redemption (Not even a eternal redemption, a career redemption that only matters in this small sliver of time we call life).

“The only freedom is radical love”
-Sleeping Giant

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Sam,

What an incredible story, dude. Wow. To dive all the way down into that pit of despair and feel like there was just one step left to make it final…and then to be rescued…to be carried up and out of that suffocating reality…to be given a second chance at life, a new set of lungs, an opportunity to be free…man. Beautiful, powerful. Thank you so much for sharing. I pray that God would continue to bless this season of your life with rescuing connection with Him.

-Nate

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Thank you for sharing. It warms my heart to hear that you have restored hope and are working through your pain :yellow_heart:

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