Justin Nuzum: From Friendship and Football to Faith
Growing up it always felt like something was missing from my life. It seemed as if no matter what I did or thought I always felt unfulfilled. Once high school started this feeling greatly intensified until it dominated my every thought. I would always ask myself “What am I doing wrong?” and “Why do I always feel like this?” These thoughts were always on replay and kept me up every night. I had no identity at this point, I didn’t know who I was. Looking back, it’s quite obvious that I should have sought after wise council but instead I hid my struggle behind an overly-aggressive and over-confident personality. Slowly but surely, I allowed the approval of others to become my identity. I thought if I became good enough at football and got everybody to like me then I would be fulfilled. However, by grade 12 I was captain of the football team, dating the class president, and was one of the popular kids, yet I still felt empty inside. It was a frustrating place to be in and my relationships with the people closest to me suffered because of it.
In the best way I knew how at the time I prayed to God to pull me out of these circumstances, and boy did he ever. During the summer after my first year of university my girlfriend and I broke up in a horrible manner, and all of my best friends had left me high and dry. Not only that but I was finishing off my last season of football which was already heart breaking enough. God removed everything that I had spent the last five years of my life shaping my identity with in an instant. I was left more broken and unsatisfied than ever before. I took a hard look back at the last five years filled with alcohol, parties, and girls and I finally realized that none of it was what I was looking for. After three days of not eating a single thing I cried out to God saying, “God I’m yours now, do whatever you want with me.” Since that day, God has been continually showing me that he is the only one who can truly fulfill me. He has replaced every selfish desire of my heart with a passion to serve him. I was never meant to find an identity in anything of this world, but instead in the one who created this world. Nothing that I could ever have done on my own would have brought the fulfillment I was looking for. The only thing that can is God’s grace. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to make it seem like life has been a breeze since then because it hasn’t. In fact, I’ve probably suffered more loss with Christ than I ever did without him. But the difference now is that although my circumstances are always changing and sometimes things might look grim my identity is no longer found in those circumstances rather it is placed in Christ’s sacrifice on that cross and that will never change.