Updated: Mar 22
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Looking back, most of the issues I faced when I was young could've been avoided if I had someone to talk to. But being a first generation Egyptian made me feel like my parents would never understood anything I was going through. As a kid, I always had low self esteem. I was short and chunky so, physically, I was never at the same level as other guys my age. In school, I didn’t put forth much effort, so I was always just average. My parents were both extremely active at church, and, because of that, I felt like I could never live up to their expectations or the family name. My lack of self confidence plus feelings of isolation prevented me from really finding myself.
Once I started getting older, I realized I didn’t have it together like some of the other kids did. I was up against athletes, straight A students, and a brother who seemed to be able to do no wrong. I longed to be as happy as the other kids at school, but I felt like that could never be a reality. For a really long time, I was completely lost and lived a meaningless life. I was unhealthy, bitter, and lonely. I was constantly putting others down to feel better about myself and had to give myself a reality check when people finally started pointing out my flaws. When I thought about who I had become, I was disappointed and ready for a change.
Valuing myself was the first step to a better life. I thought about everything I seemed to have going for me, and the list was surprisingly long. I also thought about how lucky I was, but then I realized, there’s no such thing as luck, only blessings. All the hardships I had faced in my life couldn’t compare to those of kids all around the world. I had food in my house, access to an amazing church, and a school I got to attend every day. Everything in my life was perfect except for my attitude. I knew I needed to be more grateful. At first I tried to tell my parents “thank you” more often, but I realized I needed to take it a step further. I had to tell my heavenly Father how thankful I was. Better yet, I needed to show Him, but I didn’t know how. The one thing I remember from Sunday School was that prayer was the most important thing; I tried to make it part of my regular routine.
Everyday, I would just talk to Him. I realized prayer was never going to be this perfect process, with formulas and scripts. It needed to come from the heart. I needed to be as comfortable talking to God as I was with my best friend. I found little things to talk about, and over time I was able to start hearing him talk back. But this new relationship with Christ was going to be harder than I thought. Once I started my walk, the devil's tricks became more clever and discreet. I found myself slipping up in little ways everyday, which made me feel defeated. But I realized it’s impossible to not struggle. As long as I made an effort to get closer to God, He would help everything else fall into place. The beauty of being a Christian is how much good can come through challenging times. After going through this process, I realized how important my childhood struggles where. They opened my eyes to a whole new world, and, without them, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. My whole life, I wanted to grow, physically mentally and spiritually. I realized that in order to grow, I needed the right nourishment. I also realized that the only person who really knows me and what I need is God. Though at first I was hungry and thirsty, when I came to Him, God quenched my hunger and thirst with his Body and Blood on the Cross and every Sunday on the altar. I’m forgiven because He was forsaken. I'm accepted because He was condemned. I'm alive and well because His spirit is within me. Because He died and rose again. Amazing Love.