I used to party. A lot. Routinely, I would start in the afternoon or early evening and not stop until the middle of the night. Weekend antics often lasted from morning until, again, middle of the night—or even the following morning. It’s a wonder I’m still alive with all the sheer idiocy I engaged in. What should have been a wakeup call was the time I read a list of signs of alcoholism, and I had almost all of them. But I didn’t care—I was having a blast, so I kept going. Otherwise, my life might have suddenly become … boring.
Until, eventually, I experienced the same thing many others who live like this do: a growing emptiness deep inside. Every day, despite all the fun, I sensed that there was more to life, that I was missing something profound.
I needed answers.
You wouldn’t have known it from the way I lived, but I actually grew up going to church (for the most part). As I proved, though, church attendance on its own does not equal spiritual growth. I graduated from high school knowing less about God than I knew about girls (which is saying something) and with an indifference toward the Christian faith. Sure, I believed in God, but I didn’t see him as relevant enough to impact my life.
As that emptiness increasingly consumed my thoughts and emotions, though, I decided to return to church on a trial basis after a lengthy hiatus (except for ritualistic attendance at Christmas and Easter, of course), hoping I might find some of the answers I needed. Shortly thereafter, I met Jesus the Christ for the first time—because that was the first time I sincerely sought him—and surrendered my life to him.
That’s when a total transformation—inside and out—began.
It was slow at first, as I was just getting acquainted with the true God through reading the Bible—something I had never done. Furthermore, I’m a skeptic by nature, always searching for inconsistencies in anything I encounter. Knowing this about me, though, God sent everything I needed to understand the basics of what I was reading in the Bible. He connected me with Christians who not only could explain it, but more importantly, they lived it. Which made me want to live it, too. Also, I started listening to radio sermons on my drive to and from work, and it seemed like they were almost always focused on the exact verses of the Bible I had read that same day, helping reconcile any perceived inconsistencies I was spotting. I was actually shocked by the entire experience—so much that even someone as skeptical as I couldn’t deny the obvious divine engineering of it all.
Clearly, God wanted to teach me about his nature—and my own. I was getting to know my creator personally for the first time and understand that he had placed me here for a reason. That eventually transformed my entire perspective, liberating me to become who I really am and fulfill my true purpose—which was not to keep getting drunk and partying (among other things).
Over time, I stopped straddling the fence between living for myself and living for Christ, understanding how utterly empty the former is and how deeply fulfilling the latter is. Instead of dancing goofily at clubs, I started feeding the homeless and helping inner-city kids learn to read. Instead of throwing my money away at bars, I gave it away to those who needed it more. Instead of consuming alcohol, I consumed God’s Spirit, learning more about him, his world, and his people—including and especially me. Instead of slowly dying inside (and eternally), I was now bursting with the unparalleled joy and fulfillment that comes from knowing who created me, the purpose for which I was created, and living that purpose to the fullest in every step I take. And since then, I have never felt even a hint of the same emptiness and have never wondered if there was more to life.
I had found it.
As it turns out, serving Christ instead of my own pleasure is the exciting and fun life, and the life of getting drunk and stupid I left behind was, in fact, boring.