3rd Year Applied Sport Science, Uni of Edinburgh
I wasn’t a Christian when I came to university and at that time I lived only for myself. I just did whatever made me the happiest possible. It took a while for me to realize that this happiness was just never going to be good enough. It never lasted long and things always seemed to go wrong. I found myself asking: ‘is this really it? Surely there is more to life than this!’ And there certainly is.
During first year I made a good friend on my football team who invited me to church and taught me about God’s unconditional love for everyone. But I began to feel down. Why was everyone else so happy? What did they have that I didn’t have and where can I get it? That was when I really began searching for answers.
Now I am not going to stand here and tell you that from that moment I became a different person because the next six months proved to be the most difficult of my life so far. I wanted to have an ‘overnight transformation.’ I wanted to wake up and be a different, purpose driven person. Perhaps one day, I thought, I’d wake up and know the Bible off by heart and say my prayers every day…perhaps then I would be happy! But things in life don’t happen overnight.
Second year really wasn’t the best either. I felt confused as ever and still searching for an ultimate goal. Church and the Bible were still as confusing as ever and I couldn’t understand who this ‘Jesus’ guy was that everyone kept going on about! I remember having an endless number of questions and feeling completely unsure about anything.
This was when I started to regularly attend Carrubbers Church where I met some of the most kind-hearted people I have ever come across. After time, I felt like I had been welcomed into a family and that I belonged there. It was like this was the place that I had always been searching for. This was when God began to change the way I saw things. I started to want to learn about the Gospel and read the Bible for myself. Jesus changed me in a way that I can’t describe, he opened my eyes to who He really is and I found myself desperately wanting to know Him more. Although in my eyes, I didn’t think I was good enough for the unconditional love that God has given me, it was completely out of my hands! To be honest, I thought all Christians were always perfect! But during this time God revealed himself in new light to me and I learnt that everyone makes mistakes and is broken in their own way and need God as much as I do. I began to understand what true love and forgiveness is. No one in this world is perfect and each and every one of us needs Jesus in their lives. But what I couldn’t believe was this presence does not need to be earned – there is nothing we can do but accept Him into our lives! Although I have now accepted Jesus’ love into my life I don’t think I will ever have a true sense of just how much He adores us and this love is there for us all!
One of the passages that stands out the most for me is: Ephesians 2v4: ‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.’ This shows how God’s grace is not something to be earned, it is only through faith in him.
Following on from this, I chose to accept Jesus into my life. This might sound dramatic but in all honesty it occurred in a small coffee shop on the Royal Mile and at the time I thought it was an insignificant event. Little did I know that this moment would change my life forever. From then I started to see life in a different light. Every day I woke with a purpose to serve God, to share his love and my desire to learn more about his word was unstoppable. I can’t describe this change in my heart: only that it came from an all-powerful God. Over the next few months I worked on building a relationship with God and changing my life to glorify him. Prayer became something that I actually wanted to do rather than something I should do! I realized that the drive I feel for God was incomparable to any other earthly desire, be it the best job, the most money, the best goal in football. This was really what life was all about. Doing my best every day to serve him.
So where am I today? I am proud to say that I am nowhere near perfect! I still make mistakes just like everyone but God doesn’t ask us for perfection, He asks us to actively accept Him into our lives and the difference now is I have Jesus to forgive me and every day I am learning and striving to be more like Him in everything I do. One of the biggest changes I have discovered is in playing sport to glorify God. Whereas before I would play only to please myself, I can now play football whilst honoring the gifts and opportunities God has given me. This feeling is incomparable to any other and is long-lasting, it doesn’t depend on how well I play or whether my team win but I can glorify God forevermore and He will always be there to watch over me.