I Wasted My Teen Years, But God Gave Me Hope: Jedd’s Story
After reading so many great entries for the Do Hard Things Story Contest, we’ve decided to highlight a story on TheRebelution every week for the rest of the year. Each story emphasizes how Do Hard Things has impacted these rebelutionaries. Today, meet Jedd!
If you were to tell me half a decade ago that it would be my dream to lead students to Christ, I would’ve never believed you.
Born in a Christian family, I always attended Sunday school and was active in our kids’ choir. I was a happy-go-lucky child with a wide variety of hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I even graduated elementary at age 11.
Then, the teenage years came.
I was slowly progressing to understand what God wants me to do, even when I was still in my pre-teens during that time. But I would just say, “Okay,” not really trying to go where God wanted me to go.
When I was in third year high school, a new series called “The Rebelution” was introduced at our youth ministry called J-Zone (now Elevate). The series was about doing hard things to glorify God.
To make it more challenging, they gave us an everyday list of what we could do (i.e., saying “I love you” to your mom and/or dad, cleaning your room, etc.), but as easy as it sounds, at that time, these tasks were very hard for me.
During the series, they recommended that we read the book Do Hard Things by 16-year-olds Alex and Brett Harris. I was amazed to find out that two 16-year-olds can write a book (which was one of my aspirations during that time), so I decided to purchase the book and started reading.
In the book, they talked about amazing things – and those things would really push me out of my comfort zone.
So I tried to inspire my classmates. We created a mailing system in our class wherein we had individual pockets on the walls of our classroom so that whenever we wanted to say something to each other privately, we’d be able to use that.
I printed out a nice quote about God and asked the help of my friend, Jochelle Caryl, to distribute it to every pocket. By the time class was done, I saw my pocket; it was full of papers. When I checked, it was the quotes we gave earlier.
I said to myself, “Maybe what I’m doing isn’t right. I mean, I might lose many friends.” So I stopped after the first day.
I read the book again and told myself, “I completely agree about what they say: that the way you spend your teenage years can affect your adult life in the future, but to actually make a change? Come on, man. That’s just too hard for this guy. I’m not popular, plus I consider myself an introvert. There’s no way I can step up.”
So I graduated at the age of 15, without doing anything.
I was terrified and I really don’t know what to do, so I crawled back to my comfort zone.
I got accepted at a well-known Catholic university in the Philippines when I got into college.
During that time, I was in the music ministry, marketing ministry, and in the prayer ministry of J-Zone Main. Since my school is within Manila’s university belt (U-Belt), I decided to join J-Zone in the U-Belt area.
And yeah, I was still intact with my comfort zone, even though I professed to my block mates that I am a follower of Christ.
During my first year in college, I was exposed to different subjects like sociology, Catholic theology, but what influenced me the most was philosophy. We tackled readings like Martin Heidegger’s, “The Question of the Meaning of Being,” Blaise Pascal’s, “The Wager,” and Friedrich Nietzsche’s, “The Madman,” to name a few.
Never would I realize that this would be the start for me to doubt God and if He really was alive.
A year after that philosophy class, I decided to take a break from all my ministries and try to dwell with God. But I also cut my communication with my small group and was never heard from again.
I became depressed because I was already doubting if there was a God and if I was just living a life full of lies. I started to rebel and started to be with the world – I often judged people, cursed them, and even disobeyed my parents at times.
I also got addicted to pornography. I told God that if He really was real, He would lead me back to Him.
Then after a few months, He showed me a verse through social media. It was Jeremiah 29:11 which says: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I felt as if someone hugged me, but I just shrugged it off.
“That doesn’t count. Give me another,” I demanded. And God gave me signs. He gave me signs over and over again just to prove that He was with me the entire time. He even used my small group leader to rebuke me.
I surrendered my life to Christ again after half a year of depression and promised to obey Him.
And because of that spiritual battle, it made me stronger and I started inviting my friends to attend youth service with me. I stepped out of my comfort zone and realized that my life has been like Jonah from the Bible – that if we disobey Him, He will find a way for us to obey His commands.
I regret my high school days where I stopped sharing God’s love just because of one failure.
Currently, I am a song leader in Elevate U-Belt and will fulfill His command: to disciple young men who will follow Christ. Please continue to pray for me and my co-leaders as we continue to make a movement in our campus.
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