Unfolding Stories Podcast Episode Three: From Self-Destruction to Peace in God.
We’re excited to announce that episode three of our brand-new podcast about Christian testimony, Unfolding Stories, is now LIVE and ready for download from all major platforms!
This episode we learn how Andrew discovered the root of his self-destructive behavior and how finding God helped him find healing.
Now Andrew is on a much better path and thanks God for leading him that way. Take a listen and think about how you may need God’s help. You’ll hear in Andrew’s story how God is always in pursuit of you and how he wants to guide your life.
You can read the transcript of Andrew’s testimony down below.
Episode download links:
If you’re looking for God’s help, but you’re not sure how to ask for it, we highly recommended a couple of resources for you:
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges lays out how God’s power—not only over the world, but over your life too—can be fully trusted. This book will help you to gain a deeper understanding of his infinite love and bring his promises closer to your heart, enabling you to confidently place your trust in, and enjoy a full relationship with God.
The HelpFinder Bible makes it easy for anyone, whether they are familiar with Scripture or not, to find help in the Bible for their immediate needs. Application notes connect the Bible’s truths to today’s issues, and the extensive index points readers to verses where answers can be discovered, issues resolved, and freedom found. The HelpFinder Bible is God’s Word at your point of need.
Want to know more about God’s love for you? We have a blog post that explains it all, right here >>
Andrew’s Unfolding Story:
I come from humble beginnings and my parents did everything they could to provide me with every opportunity to succeed. Neither of my parents would let my sister or I get away with not saying please or thank you. We would attend church, say grace before dinner, prayers before bed, God was in my life but I didn’t fully know him.
I grew up active. Participated in sports, played games in the yard and had sleepovers with my friends. I was a good student with decent grades. I made the high honor roll and even earned the prized possession of a bumper sticker proclaiming this.
My athletic career was also blessed. I was the leading running back my freshman year, and by my junior year I was a star on the football team. As my popularity around campus grew, the student body voted me to the homecoming court all four years of high school.
Amid what I imagine was a life that many kids would dream of, my struggles began. I look back, and think that, perhaps, if I had known God was to thank for all that I was blessed with, would my life have been different?
In addition to my success in football and the classroom, I fell in love for the first time. I really felt like I had it all. But, in reality I was losing touch with who I was and letting destructive things penetrate my life. I was drawn to the party scene. I felt I had an image to uphold, I was a popular kid and the popular kids go to parties. I drank beer and tried recreational drugs. I experimented with sex and cheated on my girlfriend.
I was lost. I didn’t know who I really was. Although I was presented with scholarships from schools to play football, I decided that going to a larger university was the best path for me academically. But, being honest, I wanted a larger school not for the academics but for the parties and the women.
I was accepted to the University of Illinois and in the summer of 2003, I began college. I entered school with the ambition of becoming a doctor. It wasn’t long before I found more fun in the social scene. I was partying with my fraternity, meeting girls and blowing off classes to hang out at bars and parties.
My grades in college were drastically affected. I’d have a decent semester, followed by a poor one. I scored well on many of the tests and quizzes, but my attendance in class was low, often missing assignments needed for higher grades.
It began to affect me and problems were to get worse before they got better. I started fighting in bars to release my anger and discontentment.
I was aware I had problems but my life was so empty. I had nobody to pray to. No God to believe in that could get me through this. I said I was fine and made excuses for my challenges, saying I was just having fun. But I was spiraling further. God was not even a thought anymore.
After graduating from college I started getting my life together. It took a DUI, an arrest for fighting and wrecking my car while under the influence; but I eventually found solid footing, and in 2012 I landed at a company I loved. This was the place that I saw myself spending the rest of my career.
I flourished as a member of the inside sales team. I thought I was going to climb the corporate ladder and now had new aspirations to become the company’s top producing sales executive.
At this company, my mind began to shift toward God. Christianity was alive throughout the organization. I developed relationships with people who placed God at the center of everything they did. The people were so incredible. They were fun, confident, made me laugh, played sports and, with the exception of faith, were like me in a lot of ways. But all this wasn’t enough get me into a church, and hence came another downfall.
I was crushing it at work. So much so, that I won the highly coveted “Rookie of the Year” award. I was so happy and, crucially, overwhelmed. It was that night the ‘old me’ once again resurfaced. I celebrated with my colleagues and partied hard all night. Some of the company’s executives were made aware of it but gave me a “pass” given the circumstances for celebration.
With the award, I won a trip to Florence, Italy. Another amazing highlight! And of course, another setback. I drank. I celebrated. I crossed the line. I fell into and broke a $3,000 statue.
The last straw came on a night where once again the entire sales force had gathered for our sales meeting. At this point, I felt I had learnt my lesson and really focused on changing my behavior. I drank less and did not let alcohol influence my decisions. I was in a cab with a couple of my teammates and talking with our Afghani cab driver. I was asking him questions about his home country and he was happy to talk about it.
My buddy then shot off a remark that seemed to offend our driver. The man was defensive, started raising his voice and became hostile. We had arrived at our hotel and the driver got out of the cab, yelling at us, then he reached into his jacket pocket. Given this man’s erratic behavior, this startled me and I thought that he was reaching for a gun. I believed I was defending us when I took a swing at him which sent the man flailing and his cell phone flying. Apparently, we had frightened him and he planned to call the police.
At this point, it was too late. Many members of my company were around in the hotel lobby and by the next morning, everyone knew about the incident. I was fired and my dreams imploded.
I knew I needed help, and I felt that help calling loudly from God. With no other place to turn, I went to church. My mom was attending regularly and finally, after asking so many times before, I said “yes” to going with her.
This is where life began to change. This church was such a welcome place. The people were like me, they dressed like me and cared about the same things I did. They were just like the Christians I had met at my former job.
I began attending church on a regular basis. Through prayer and scripture, I began to let God in. I started to open my heart, and accepted Jesus.
I cannot say that my life has totally changed, but I now have a focus. A guiding light. An inner peace. I know that I cannot do this life on my own. Without prayer, the center of my life will begin to deviate again. I’ll lose myself. I’ve been put here on this earth by God and I still am working to discover my purpose.
There are so many books and podcasts and speakers that talk about how to be successful. They help you reach new levels. But every time I reached a new height, I’d fall back. I never developed the skills to sustain, or how to respond to success.
Reflecting on my moments of fiasco, they all occurred after some level of success. As great as they all were, I became uncomfortable. These were levels of success (on the football field and in the classroom, at work) that I did not believe I was worthy of. And new pressures, attention and responsibility all came with it. Instead of embracing them, I would press the reset button. I knew how to get what I wanted but I didn’t know how to maintain it.
I have God now and I have my faith. I have prayer and a relationship with Christ and have an ever-growing network of people in my life that will help me achieve. Now I believe that when success is achieved, I will be confident in moving forward.
There is no doubt I will stumble along the way. But, as this new season in my life takes shape, I am not afraid. I embrace these challenges and am excited to see what the future holds, now that my footing is firm.
Take a look back at our previous Unfolding Stories episode >>
If you enjoyed the episode, please rate the series and subscribe to the podcast, there will be a new episode released each week for the first season. We know you’re going to love all the amazing testimony of God’s work in the lives of ordinary people.74