Life is Not As Hard As We Make It: Zack's Testimony

Why do we do what we do?  Why do we go to church? Why do we love people? Why do we hate people? Why do we drink or smoke? Why do we live the way that we live, or is it even the way that we want to be living? We do what we want to and live the way we chose to live for many different reasons.  Some of us do it because we are depressed, some because we are simply bored.  I want to share with you guys a little bit about my story and how my life has began to change.
I grew up going to church every Sunday.  My parents are both saved.  I was expected to behave and treat other people with respect.  As I got older I wanted to fit in.  I started becoming a fake person and leaving old friendships for new ones.  
High school came around and I wanted to become someone that I wasn't to fit in.  I had a lot of fun doing this in the moment, but eventually I became miserable.   I began drinking.  I couldn't do any drugs in high school because the school that I went to drug tested.  
Once I graduated I began messing around with a lot of different drugs.  Pretty much anything I could get my hands on.  I started to become depressed and confused.  I was confused because I didn't want to be doing the things I was doing, but continued to go back to the same old things.  I would ask for help from youth ministers, friends, or anyone that would listen.  I would listen to what they would tell me, but I would never put it into action. When I was 19,  I remember one particular person telling me that they wish that they would’ve stopped living the lifestyle that they had lived when they were my age.  That person was 23 at that time.  I am now 23 and wish that I would’ve listened to them at 19.  Its funny how I have always had to learn from my own mistakes.  
If I would’ve listened to that person I wouldn’t have ended up in rehab, and I would’ve saved myself from a lot of other misery.  I always struggled with wanting to fit in.  I would do anything to fit in.  Deep down I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I would fight those feelings for temporary happiness.  
At the age of 20 my family moved to Spanish Fort, Alabama.  I struggled with pride a lot at this point in my life.  I thought that I was better than other people because of the things that I had.  I realized that my pride was a problem and I asked the Lord to help me with it.  Sometime after that my mom sat me down and told me that we were going through some financial problems.  I was so mad at God.  How could he do this to my family?  I started to hate God.  I wondered how my family could stay faithful to God when He did something like this to my family.  I got involved doing the same things that I was doing back in Montgomery.  That wasn't the only reason that I continued doing the same things, but it was one of the reasons.  I often would go out and do certain things because I was mad at God for the financial situation that I was going through.   
I got so caught up in the lifestyle that I started doing things that I never thought I would be doing, and I was okay with it.  Around this time my brother Garrett got saved.  I thought it was just a phase.  He got sober too.  I was proud of him, but never thought it would last.  My cousin was going to Atlanta Leadership College at the time and insisted that Garrett come tour the school.  I ended up tagging along to tour the school back in April.  I had no intentions of going to the school at all.  I wanted to come to Atlanta to party and go out to the bars while Garrett toured the school.  
God wrecked me while I was at experience.  Experience is when you tour ALC.  
I came home with the intentions of staying sober forever and living for God.   Hahaha, I was so wrong.  I knew that God wanted me to go to ALC, but after a couple of weeks of being back home I was doing the same ole stuff, and I didn’t care.  I got so far back into my old ways that I was telling Satan that I didn't care what he did with me as long as I got what I wanted.  It wasn’t until the day before I came to ALC that I stopped drinking and doing other things I was doing.  I wouldn’t have stopped then if I had had to.  
Since I’ve been here I decided to finally live for the Lord, it’s not easy, but I will say it’s better than before.  I don’t wake up daily overflowing with happiness, but I also don't wake up with a million regrets.  I’m not writing this whole message to try to convert all of you or try to push my faith on any of you.  I just want you to think.
We all go through life with ups and downs.  We wonder why life is so bad, but when it’s good we don't think anything of it.  We live our lives doing what we want when we want.  Some of you may have had similar backgrounds or stories to mine.  Some of you may have struggled or are struggling with different things.  Do you want your life to get better? Or are you happy the way it is?  God isn’t going to make you want to live differently one day.  He gives us free will.  Whether we chose to walk with him or not it’s all up to us.  All we have to do is ask, and mean it.   Don’t compare your life to others around you because you are your own person.  If you’re not happy with the way that your life is going then do something to change it, but don’t sit around like I did waiting for change to come to me because change will never come until you do something about it.
Don’t ever think that you have messed up too much for the Lord to have your back or for the Lord to want you.  If he wanted me after all of the things that I did (most of which I didn’t even list above), then he will want you too.  I was so far off that I was telling Satan to have his way in my life.  God loves us people.   He has freed me from so many things: depression, addiction, suicidal thoughts, and even more.  Yes, I still wake up and have some days where I want to do the same things I was doing before, but it's a daily walk.  I have to rely on Him daily.  God’s love is something that everyone always told me about.  I've always known that He loved me, but I never fully understood it until now.  It's almost like when you take your dog outside to use the bathroom, and then they come inside and use the bathroom.  We would punish our dog and put them in time out.   If we were dogs and God was the pet owner he would love on us when we do wrong and tell us it's okay.  Yes, it disappoints Him, but he still loves us and wants us as his.  “Who am I to accept this grace that just falls like rain?... ‘Cause we all know I chose to lay my head in this desert.”
If you guys have any deeper questions please message me. I’d love to talk to you about whatever it may be, or even share my full story with you.  If you’re struggling with anything like I was or anything else that you may keep from other people I encourage you to share it with someone.  Don’t share it with everyone, but to someone that you can trust so you can move forward, because keeping it in the dark will only torture you more and make things much worse. It hasn't made my life better overnight, but it has helped me.  Also please don’t take this as me trying to act like I have it all together now because I don’t.  AT ALL.  I just want all of you to experience.  Love you guys.  Please share this.


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