In 2008, I left home with absolutely no expectation of what college would be for me. I wasn’t headed to Tuscaloosa with the intention of making a lot of friends, going to parties, graduating with any particular degree or chasing any career aspiration. In a very real sense, college happened to me.
I went with the flow in most things, while holding to a faith based primarily on my bible-camp confession nine or ten years prior. And you know what? I kind of stuck with it—legalistically. I drank on occasion, went to parties and made a bit of a reputation for myself in my creative writing classes as one who humorously “told it like it is.” Through it all, I desperately clung to my reading the Bible every single day as some outward manifestation (an idol, really) of a faith that was not yet my own.
One day, I went to an event with a friend where the late night was too much for me, and I didn’t manage to read my Bible before I went to bed. That night ended a very long streak of days in a row with my bible reading. The hollowness of the ritual rung out clearly. It was obvious to me that it meant nothing to me. This was likely the beginning of my conviction.
As a part of a class I was in, I was experimenting with epistolary storytelling (telling a story through fictional letters). To look into this further, I began to read the C.S. Lewis classic, The Screwtape Letters. I was fascinated by Lewis’ way with words and his insights into the mind of man and my own heart. I wanted to read more Lewis. Sure, I had read the Narnia stories as a child and loved them, but they meant little to me on a deeper plain. In the context of a time in my life when circumstances had left me mentally exhausted and emotionally bankrupt, I began to read Mere Christianity.
God spoke to me in ways I had never heard him speak before. The theology of Lewis in that volume is not pure, 100% biblical theology, but the context of my life was just right for God to use it anyway. Rapidly, over the course of the next two years, God changed my heart and mind. He gave me aspirations for something far beyond myself. In the years since, I’ve found that I’m obviously still far from perfect, but—in Jesus—perfect already happened for me. So, now—through challenges, failures, motivational bi-polarization and the constant desire to live as he would have me—I’m just chasing him.
I’m now married to a wonderful wife and have two children, Finley and Betty-Sue. I have had the opportunity to serve in several aspects of ministry. God continues to teach me and to change my heart.