What I Live For
Hi, my name is Austin, and this is my story in how I came to find my purpose and satisfaction in life through Jesus. My first year at university, I left my family and friends and home behind and moved to another state to attend college. At the time, I had a lot of knowledge about God, but I did not truly understand where He fit into my life or what it meant to follow Him. I was convinced that I could live how I wanted, and do the things that I wanted to do, and still live a good and happy life. I lived totally for myself, thinking that if I got good grades, had a strong social life, and went to church now and again I would be satisfied with who and where I was. It wasn’t until my second year at university that I realized that living for myself, my desires, and my ambitions not only left me yearning for a more satisfied and meaningful life, but it also prevented me from enjoying life and connecting with people on a meaningful level. I was working so hard to impress them, and myself, that I felt like I was missing out on something meaningful. The beginning of my second year, I remember sitting at home and questioning why I was even at the university, and what really mattered to me. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt content and happy, and was searching for something to grab hold of as I was struggling to view life as meaningful and satisfying. I sat in my room late into the night, with a gut-wrenching feeling that I was missing the whole point of life and that I had slowly let myself lead a shallow and purposeless existence. I realized that I had been so caught up in trying to follow my own desires, plans, and dreams that I could never be sure of what I wanted or even who I really was. I could actually feel the pain of my life passing me by as I sat idly toying with different ideas about how to live it. The feeling lessened the next day, but it remained a constant nagging feeling in my mind for a couple of months, and continued to haunt me and rob me of joy.
After that night, I began searching for something that could give my life a greater purpose than just partying on the weekends and working hard in class. I tried to be more involved in my business programs and thought getting a good job might make me happier. I looked into adventure sports, considered a career as a photographer, and tried really hard to get a girlfriend. The more I searched, the less hope I had for what my existence meant.
It was during that time of searching that I began spending time with a couple of friends who were involved at a Christian group on my campus. The more I spoke with them, the more I realized they were trying to show me that they were experiencing what I was so desperately looking for. After a few weeks of talking with them, they challenged me to decide what I actually believed about life and its purpose, and then to commit to actually living like I believed it. When they confronted me about this, I knew that I had no idea what I really wanted most in life, and could not understand what my purpose was, or even how to understand who I was. I decided to take faith seriously and seek to understand what it meant to live for Jesus. I had known from childhood all the stories and even some of the concepts, but I had never considered an actual personal relationship with Jesus. What I learned was that Jesus calls us not only to know about Him and what He did for us, but that a personal, real relationship with Him was the sole purpose for my life. I finally understood that simply calling myself a Christian and occasionally trying to make it to church on Sunday was not fulfilling what God had planned for my life. The sole reason for my existence was to continually pursue and serve a God who loves me, teaches me, and guides me through all of life, regardless of how easy or difficult it gets. I was meant to have a relationship with a God who cared enough about me to die for me, and forgive me of all my imperfections and selfish desires and offer me a chance to know Him personally. I was able to know a God who had a plan for my life, and was offering me a chance to start anew in Him, free from the pressure of trying to earn my salvation. After that, I was able to find my identity in Jesus and be confident about being the person God made me to be, which led to deep relationships with those around me and the lifting of the pressure I felt to succeed and appear successful regardless of how I actually felt. God provided the ultimate satisfaction and purpose that I tried to find in so many other things, and has led me on a great adventure with Him ever since.