Today in my church service one of speakers asked why did you become a follower of Christ? As I sat in the hall, I decided to ask myself this question. To be honest the reason I was baptized at 8 was because that’s what you did. I was leaning on my parents testimony, which I feel most young people do. As I grew up I had more spiritual experiences that added to my own personal testimony. I took that testimony with me to college and after praying and studying things out, I decided to serve a mission for the church.
Because of mental and physical health issues I was only able to serve 5 months of what is usually 18 months. When I came home I was devastated. I was mad at God. I didn’t understand why after working so hard He would send me home. After all of that my testimony faded for the next couple of years. Things kept happening that challenged my faith. I had failed at jobs, I had lost friendships, my whole life plan had collapsed. 2 years ago it got so hard, I was on the verge of completely giving up my life. But luckily for me I had the most incredible support system that changed all their plans (yes I’m talking about my parents) to make sure that I got the help I needed. These past 2 years have been the hardest and most humbling years of my life.
This morning when I woke up I was tempted to stay home from church. I don’t go every week but I’m trying. I’m not saying that if you don’t go to church that you are any less spiritual then me or anyone else. But for me I knew that it was important for me to get to the physical church building today as a way to do my exposure therapy. To my surprise I shared my OCD story with one of the church leaders, I had a kind woman who doesn’t know me compliment me and most importantly I had a good feeling. I still get very anxious at church, I still choose to sit in the hall and try to hide from people. But I’ve come to recognize that I don’t go because people tell me to. I used to, but now I go for me.
Now to go back to the question that was asked. Why did I choose to become a follower of Christ? I chose to become a follower of Christ because no matter what I’ve done he still loves me. No matter how many times I’ve doubted him and how many times I’ve spoken badly about Him, He has forgiven me. He understands my pain because He’s felt it. He notices the little things I do each day to try to become a better person and I know that even when it feels like I’m alone, I’m not.
Something I’ve had to learn is that the gospel won’t fix everything in life. I can’t pray away my obsessive compulsive disorder. I can’t expect my intrusive thoughts to go away as soon as I enter a church building or a temple. But the gospel can help me feel hope in the hardest of times. It can give me an eternal perspective of why I have the hardships I have in life. It provides me with people that can help. And I know it could do the same for you, if you desire it.
Sometimes you may have experiences with church leadership that might make you doubt that people care. Sometimes members of the church might say something that you don’t agree with or that you may even find offensive. The truth is we are all human. I promise you that there are so many wonderful leaders who are called to serve because the Lord knows you need them. In my experience, some people just don’t see things the way I do but that doesn’t mean that everyone thinks that way. These past 2 years I have been able to meet some amazing members that have helped me more then they will ever know. The people that I get to associate with daily have no idea the impact they have. I don’t think that the kind Sister in my ward that came up to me today realized that because of a simple compliment she made my day better.
I have a testimony of this church. I don’t share it as often as I used to. I keep it close to me. One of the reasons why I hesitate to write gospel related posts, is because I never want my readers to feel ashamed or feel like I’m trying to ‘convert’ them. I’ve felt that way before and it’s not a fun feeling. I am simple answering the question of why I choose to follow Christ. I choose to follow Christ because He loves me no matter what. I wish you all the best and as always remember You Got This!