The choice I make daily

When I didn’t even know God, He was gently drawing me to Him. Now I choose Him daily.

Written by Charis Petkau with Alyssa Janz
The choice I make daily

Have you ever felt a tugging at your heart? That there has to be more to life than what you have? That you wanted “out” of the misery you found yourself in? Have you ever felt a longing to be happy and have a purpose in your life? I did, and I decided to listen to that longing that was in my heart…

I always knew there was a higher power, even though I grew up in a home where God was not spoken about. Looking back, I can see that God was always there for me, working in my young heart and drawing me to Himself. Since childhood, I prayed and talked to God about things that I felt I couldn’t talk to my parents about, even though I didn’t really understand whom I was praying to.

God was with me as a child

I was an angry child in a dysfunctional home environment. Things escalated and at age 13, I had to leave my home for 4-5 months. During that time, I stayed with my aunt and uncle, who were Christians. It was a good experience and I saw people who were happy and loved one another. I could see the difference between them and my own family. Mainly, they were happy, and my family was not.

After I returned home, things were good for a time. Then I became a rebellious, troubled teenager and I felt like my life was falling apart. I knew I needed help and that the only place I would get that help was from God. So I started keeping a journal. Every day I would write a random verse from the Bible in my journal and then write down my thoughts about it. Through writing, I realized that I loved Jesus and that when I sinned, it hurt Him. I didn’t want to hurt the One I loved!

A happy decision

I knew that there had to be more to life than what I had, so I spoke with my aunt whom I had lived with for those months as a child. The result was that she bought me a ticket to a Christian youth conference weekend in the mountains. I cried the whole weekend because I felt like I had finally found my home – this was where I belonged! I was incredibly thankful that Jesus hadn’t given up on me and that He had believed in me, even when I hadn’t believed in myself.

That weekend, at age 17, I gave my heart to Jesus and decided to change how I had been living. I surrounded myself with people who believed in God and could encourage me and help me learn to live for Him. I wanted to live my life with Him. I realized that if I was second-guessing something or had unrest about doing something, there was probably a reason for it; it was my conscience. While I was changing outward things like who I was friends with and what I spent my time doing, my focus slowly turned from trying to control outward things to my thought life and inner life. My attitude towards everything changed.

The answer to everything is here!

At home I did not receive any support for my decision, and the difference between the spirit at home and the spirit when I went to church became very obvious to me. I realized that I could use these difficult situations I was in, either to get closer to God or lose hope in everything. I had made a conscious decision that I was “all in” and was going to live my life completely for Jesus, so I moved out. I began to really read in the Bible, instead of just picking random verses. The more I read, the more excited I became. My roommate came home one day while I was reading and I exclaimed to her, “It’s all here! The answer to everything is here!”

I realized that it was through God’s mercy that I received grace to give my life to Him and become so happy. It didn’t matter what my past was or what kind of circumstances or situations I found myself in, God had been calling me and had put a longing for the good into my heart. He had been there with me during the darkest periods of my life and had continuously been drawing me to Himself.

More than a one-time decision

The decision to live for Him has not been a one-time thing. I need to continue to choose to live for Him in the small, everyday situations. Do I choose to do my own will or do I choose to do His will? Do I choose to get angry when someone does something mean or stupid, or do I choose to remain in goodness and love? Choosing to live for God is a daily thing and requires a battle, since it doesn’t come naturally to be good or patient or kind. As I continue to choose the good and choose to live for Jesus every single day, I become happier and happier, as witnessed by those around me. My parents have never seen me this happy ever before and now accept the way I have chosen to live.

“Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:15-16.

If God can bring me to a happy, fulfilling life for Him, He can definitely do it for you too. But you have to give yourself 100% and love Him and want to serve Him with all your heart. I didn’t sit and wait for life’s circumstances to change but was active in trying to find God. He helped me and gave me the power and grace I needed to live for Him and come to a happy life. And He will also do the same for you, regardless of the situations you find yourself in, if you search for Him with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13.)

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20. God has given us a choice; choose life!

You may be interested in more testimonies from people who have searched for and found God, including these:

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.