A Look Inside (An article written for Red Letter Believers)
By: Jon Dudycha
I have never been grateful about anything in my life. I take things for granted, use people when it’s necessary and always blame others for my shortcomings. I am a self-centered misogynistic pig willing to objectify any in my path.
This was my story, until about 7 years ago. Growing up I don’t remember much about church except for the constant standing up and sitting down. I had no relationship with Christ or gave a second thought to my salvation, instead I worshiped sports. I was talented at anything I put my mind to, but baseball was my passion. I had success in high school, not as much as I would’ve liked, still I was talented enough to receive a scholarship to play in college. After much deliberation I ended up going to a junior college to play for one of the most talented teams in the country. In my sophomore year my only loss came at the most inopportune time. The Super Regional championship game. If we won we were headed to the College World Series, if we lost our season was over. We lost. Looking back I should’ve been broken hearted but truth be told all I could think about was a girl I met a few months prior.
From the time I was a child all I could think about was becoming a professional baseball player. Nothing else interested me. That is until I hit puberty. Taking notice of the opposite sex when you are a teenage boy can sometimes be difficult. Mainly because of the fear of rejection or what your friends might say about your latest crush. Or could it be that women are far smarter than men and we don’t know how to talk to them. Either way I got over this tentativeness with age. But with my growing interest in women came a lust for them that later controlled me.
An invite to a wedding during winter break of my sophomore season perked my interest at the prospect of meeting a new girl. To my surprise I met a beautiful young co-ed named Connie. She was a bridesmaid and yours truly was the best man. If I told you it was love at first sight I would be lying to you. As beautiful as she was, in my mind she was not my type. She was strong, brave, and very confident not something I had been attracted to in the past. She was intriguing nonetheless. Shortly into our courtship I learned she was a Christian. Another value I had overlooked in the past. She had faith stronger than any I knew. I respected her for it but in a way felt unloved because for the first time in my relationship life I was not number one. She put God first and I didn’t know how to react.
After graduating from junior college I transferred to the university that Connie attended to play baseball, but more importantly to be closer to her. The transition was almost seamless aside from the fact that my controlling attitude pushed her away, leaving me alone. Depression started to creep into my life for the first time. With the help of baseball and my teammates I got over it quickly and it wasn’t long before Connie and I reconciled. We stayed together through my final two years in the sport. At which time I was coming to the realization I would not reach my goal of becoming a professional baseball player. After four years of playing I was done. I could not go on. My baseball life was over. The sport defined me, without it I was lost.
The depression I once felt over losing my girlfriend had now shifted. The void left in my soul from baseball that I made my idle for so many years had to be filled somehow. I filled it through my other passion. Although I was engaged to be married to my girlfriend I cheated on her any chance I got. Not in the physical sense, but mentally. I struggled with pornography and compared her to all I saw. All the while without her knowing.
We got married a year after we graduated from college. Like many I was under the impression once you got married the loneliness and lust would stop. It did not, in fact it just became more intense. My desire for her never ceased, but the devil used my weaknesses against me bringing me to such a place of depression that I no longer wanted to live. I needed something, I needed God.
Throughout the years of our marriage my wife and I had been to Church many times, but I had never understood the Gospel nor did I have a relationship with Christ. Lost with nowhere else to turn I got down on my knees and wept. While crying out to the Lord it was there that I became grateful. Grateful for my wife, grateful for my life, grateful for all the wonders that I could not see. God showed up at my lowest point and pulled me out of my darkest depths. It is for Him that I am grateful.
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