The First Steps in My Journey – By Justin Combs

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I eventually learned that God was trying to get my attention. Sometimes God will come into your life and answer your questions when you least expect it, even when you are praying to the wrong deity. In this case, the wrong deity was myself.

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  MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 2008 From Atheism to Faith The First Steps in My Journey – By Justin Combs   During my adolescent years, I used to think that my eyes were mybest friends, for I used them extensively to view what is good andwhat is bad, concerning myself and others. As somewhat of anoutsider, I saw many of my fellow classmates as better than I was.They seemed to have everything that was highly valued byteenagers of the modern era: good looks, many friends, fancycars, fancy clothes, and recognition as being superior. They hadeverything that I did not. Since I was also overweight and veryshy, my ostracism only improved. One thing that they certainlyhad that I did not was a social life that seemed to endure withoutend. I longed to have a lifestyle that was equivalent with thepopular crowd. Being that I spent most of my weekends at home,doing homework, watching television or reading, I felt as thoughsomething was truly missing from my life. My lack of socialgratification was making me feel empty, or so I thought at the time. It wasn’t until after I graduated high school and started college that my social life would turn for what I thought wasbetter.   During my first semester in college in the fall of 2003, I started tomake many new friends by learning from my previous mistakes.Aside from the new friends, I also learned to develop theappropriate social skills that would make me into the person that Idesired to be at the time. I also learned to dress in a conventionalmanner and I lost some weight, which helped to increase my self- confidence. It wasn’t until shortly after I started my college career that I tasted beer for the first time, and I would grow tolove it. I went to many social gatherings and made up for losttimes, entertaining myself and acting in ways that I would havenever acted before that time (the alcohol had a lot to do withthis). I was really changing for the better, or so I thought, and Ihad more fun in the first few months of college than I didthroughout all of high school.    I learned a great deal about human behavior during this personaltransition, which was why I declared psychology as my area of study early in my college career. Since I knew how it felt to be onthe outside looking in, I was able to walk around in the shoes of  many others, and I had much insight on the interpretation of one’s cognitive processes. For the first time in my life, I thought that Ihad all the answers I needed in order to find happiness. For thenext three years I frequently went to many parties, and I hadactually started to talk to girls on a regular basis as well. Therewas hardly a time when I would not have something to do on theweekends. Needless to say, my territory was expanding quitenicely. This would be my idea of truth and pleasure during thebiggest part of my career as an undergrad. However, near the endof that three-year period I would come to realize the folly of mynew lifestyle.   While I was still a freshman at Northern Kentucky University, I meta nice looking girl named Erin whom I frequently saw at theparties I attended. We became very close after a year of gettingto know each other, and I would grow to truly care about her.While I never officially asked her out, she would become theclosest thing to a girlfriend that I ever had. Even though I hadthese feelings for her (she had the same feelings for me as well), Idid not show her the love that I should have. Instead, I showed hergreat disrespect on more than one occasion, and we had manyarguments as a result. Out of respect for her and myself, I willremain confidential when talking about our disagreements. I willsay, however, that I would make her feel rejected and hurt. I amalso ashamed to say that I would make her feel bad in order tomake myself feel better. After receiving too much of mydisrespect, however, she would come to realize that she hadenough of me.   As her and I were talking on the phone during a rainy evening inDecember of 2005, she told me that she had feelings for me. Icould not fully understand why she was falling for me, as I haddone nothing to truly sweep her of her feet, so I rebuked her forthis. Using psychology to my advantage, I tried to convince herthat she did not know what she wanted and that she was just  opening up to me because she felt that she had no other options(which was a total lie on my part, for she was a very attractiveyoung lady who could have had any man she wanted). We thenexchanged a few harsh words. After making her feel low as I haddone, she gave up. Erin then cursed me and told me never to callher again. Because I was so convinced that I was right, I cutmyself off from her, for I thought that she was being immaturewhen she was really justified in her anger. We would not speakagain for a long time.   Speaking as one who has looked into the field of psychoanalysis, Ican safely say that, at first, I thought that I was getting what I hadalways wanted by dumping Erin. During my years in high school,my heart was broken many times. I was also greatly insulted bymany pretty girls who felt as though they were better than me.There were even times when I had hoped to date some of thosegirls so that I could break their hearts and get even. My wish wentalong with the theory of social identity, or the theory that peoplefavor their attributes over those of others in order to enhanceself-esteem. According to this theory, many people who feel athreat to their self-confidence will often find a way to counterthose who are threatening them by attacking their inner-self aswell. When this is handled immaturely, it can lead topsychological warfare in which no one wins. I did everything Icould to maintain my own self-image, but after the war betweenErin and me, it would start to break again, just as it did in highschool.   I felt as though this was a dream come true with Erin’s heartbreak, for she fit the criteria for the type of girl who wouldhave insulted me had she knew me in high school. She was thetype of girl that I never thought I would have a chance with beforemy college years. She was gorgeous, popular, and very friendlymost of the time. However, she grew up feeling like she was atthe top of the social pyramid, just like the girls who had hurt mein my earlier years. I will admit that there have been times in thepast where I had hoped to bring my popular peers down from theirhigh horse. After years of being at the bottom, I finally had mychance to live out my dream by hurting Erin as I did. I thought  that I would truly feel great by tearing down her self-image tostrengthen my own, and for a very short while after this happenedI did. Not long after I had broken it off, however, I began torealize that I would rather have my own heart broken than tobreak the heart of someone else. Of course, due to my enlargedego, I did not call her back to apologize as I should have done, andI reaped the consequences as a result.   After a short while, I started to think about what I was becoming.I was once a shy and timid adolescent who became an arrogantjerk who broke the heart of a young lady who deserved muchbetter than what I had given her. I was now the popular guy whowas attempting to break the confidence of those who I saw asbeneath me. I was becoming the very thing that I had oncedespised, and I would look at myself in the mirror and feel bothpride and frustration for who I was.   I still continued to go to parties, but I soon started to lose theenjoyment that I once had when drinking excessively. I was filledwith guilt toward the way Erin and I had separated, for it waspurely my fault. Mixed in with my stubborn pride and my need tofill the void that was sadly familiar, I was beginning to gain truesorrow in my heart because of my extreme internal conflictbetween these two variables of my character. Even though theseempty feelings were returning, I was still convinced that I had tocontinue to live in self-indulgence and self-centeredness to betruly happy. This was still my idea of truth. This truth, as I hadonce considered it to be, was coming to an end and would leaveme feeling lost for the months to come.   Christ Knocks on My Door   During the summer of 2006, I attended a very big party on thefourth of July that a good friend of mine arranged. The party tookplace in a large field behind his house. We had a large fire and akeg full of beer that quickly started to dwindle. This night,however, was different from a typical night at a party for me. Bymidnight, I was setting aside from everyone else by the fire,observing the immature behavior of my fellow college students
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