Have You Been...      Are you really, truly happy? If not, I pray my story will help you find true and lasting happiness.  My search for happiness started right after high school graduation, but, like many people, I didn’t know where to look, so I bounced from one thing to another and from one place to another.  I attended college, traveled, worked a variety of jobs, lived in four different states, as well as overseas.  I dated, owned a nice car, bought expensive clothes, attended countless parties, and even tried marriage, but absolutely nothing kept me happy for very long. 

     Throughout those years I was fiercely independent, doing whatever I wanted to do, and going wherever I wanted to go, without thinking about, or consulting with, God.  Sadly, my independent, self-directed life choices usually ended with bad results, which left me depressed and despondent. 

Prov 16:25

     My years of bad choices followed by bad results left me desperately unhappy; actually, unhappiness has haunted me ever since I was a child.  As I grew older, I became increasingly depressed by the bad results of my continuing poor choices and bad behaviors. Instead of learning from my experiences, I foolishly kept making the same mistakes, with the same bad results.  One would think that by age thirty-one, I would be able to get my life together, but this was far from reality.  

Prov 16:11

      I eventually slipped into a deep depression, due to a failed relationship and stagnant career.  I was barely able to work, and when I wasn’t working, I cried rivers of tears.  When I wasn’t crying, I just sat and felt emotionally void and lonely.  In my darkest moment, I fleetingly considered suicide, but my strong sense of self-preservation prevented me from seriously considering it.  In my desperation, I finally concluded that my only real alternative was to try God, and at that moment of realization I knelt down on the red rug by my bed and promised God that if He could help me, I would do whatever He wanted me to do.  When I made this promise, I knew intuitively that I had to be totally committed to doing anything and everything God wanted me to do.  The commitment was from my heart; I realized later that the words I said weren’t particularly important, but the commitment I had made in my heart was important.  

When You Are Going...

     The next morning, after this spiritual encounter with God, I knew something had changed in my life, because I felt lighter.  I couldn’t understand or explain it, but something was definitely different—and in a very good way!    

     Sometime during my anguished prayer that night, God told me three things I needed to do.  He didn’t use an audible voice; I felt as if a light bulb of understanding suddenly turned on in my mind.  I had spontaneous thoughts that I knew couldn’t have been my own. The three things God told me to do were:  Stop my ungodly lifestyle, attend church, and tithe.

     This “turned on light bulb” was the Holy Spirit, sent by God. As explained in 1 Peter 2:9, I was immediately called out of darkness and into His marvelous light. When I whole-heartedly made that decision to commit my life to Him that night, a powerful exchange happened. I gave my life to Him, and He, in turn, saved me and sent the Holy Spirit to help me in all areas of my life. This supernatural experience is difficult to explain because God works in the unseen spiritual realm.  When you step out to make a whole-hearted commitment to try God, you step out to trust an unseen God to save you.  Countless people have done this, and there are countless life-turned-around stories—like mine—proving the existence of a God who loves people.  He loves YOU!  He really will listen to you, save you, and send the Holy Spirit to help you.  You cannot understand this with your mind—no one can—but it is real.      

Hebrews11-1

     These three assignments were just the first of countless others; since I have begun to walk in His marvelous light, God has told me to do many other things, which I eventually saw as “assignments directly from the living God.”  In order to keep my promise to God, I grabbed on to these first three, and did what He told me to do.  I was determined to keep my side of the bargain, because I really needed, and now wanted His help. 

     After this commitment to God, I started reading the Bible—Proverbs in particular.  As I read, I often felt sharp pain in my heart when I realized I was doing the very things Proverbs said not to do.  I not only felt pain, I also felt embarrassed.  Many of my choices were utterly foolish!!  Truly, I was a fool.  The definition of a fool perfectly described me before I tried God.  A fool is a person who lacks good sense or judgment.  I would like to add, from lots of personal experience, a fool is also a stubborn person.  I was stubborn to do what I wanted to do, instead of what I knew—deep inside—I should do.  Since I promised God I would do whatever He wanted me to do, I obeyed His Word and did what Proverbs told me to do.  Sometimes it didn’t seem logical, but I did it anyway; I was amazed to discover, first hand, that obeying the Word of God works! 

On to Chapter 2