Stories

Casting Off Superficial Control

Casting Off Superficial Control
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/21/2019 5:44:00 AM IST

 Ashley grew up in a Christian home. Following the example of those closest to her, she asked Jesus into her heart when she was a little girl. But she says her decision was a superficial one. 

“At the time when I accepted Jesus. God really wasn't on the forefront of my mind. It was more of just a milestone to get done. I fit in with my beliefs. I would go to church. I would talk about God. I would claim to be a Christian, but I think inside I started getting kinda more rebellious. I started questioning more and more if this whole faith thing was for me and if God really was real.”

In high school, Ashley was bullied and struggled to feel accepted among her peers. In class, she became intrigued with science and the study of the mind.

“I got an interest in psychology. And I would get all these books talking about the power of the mind. And I had such a longing to understand how to control my mind and then to be able to control my reality. I didn't have a grip on my life. I felt worthless. In my opinion, like being able to control certain aspects of my life would be beneficial.”

She also began to question God’s existence. By her senior year, she declared herself an atheist. 

“And the more that I got into school and dealt with like some bullying and everything, and some of the people who were labeled as Christians, I just really started thinking, I'm like, "This – it doesn't make sense to me. One, God doesn't seem real. Two, you know, these people who are Christians, they're not – they're not acting uh in that way, and so I don't want anything to do with this faith. That’s when I decided, I'm like, ‘That's it. Like, I no longer believe in God.’ And I had this false sense of freedom. I was like, ‘I'm finally free.’ I finally felt in control of my life. I felt like I was making my own independent decisions. And I thought it-it made me intelligent. And I found all my worth in it.”

But despite her new sense of control, she couldn’t find lasting happiness. 

“Actually, when I had first left God and first became an atheist, it wasn't only but a few months after that that I was actually diagnosed with depression. I kept a really sick journal about how much, like, I hated Christianity. I actually got into some toxic relationships I also got more into partying, and just cussing, and just all these things that were never really who I was.”

In college, Ashley isolated herself from friends while she began delving into New Age practices. Looking for direction in life, she used tarrot cards and channeled spirits. 

“I was also involved with spirit guides, which– turns out are just demons on this earth. They would show me good visions, they would also show me like dark vision. The spirit guide would just show me things that I didn't want to see and that I didn't need to see, and the things that I could control, they weren't bringing my any like joy. They weren't bringing me peace at all. And so this just led me to a place where I didn't even want to live anymore. I had ruined my friendships. I wasn't doing my organizations anymore. I didn't care about class that much. And at this point, there really wasn't anything to live for.”

Ashley couldn’t seem to escape the suicidal thoughts that came to her mind daily. So, she dropped out of college and returned home. She got a job and in her spare time she posted New Age videos on her YouTube page. But she couldn’t shake depression and increasing panic attacks. 

“The New Age wasn't working, leaving college wasn't working. Like there was nothing in my life that was going right. I was outside in the midst of the panic attack. I started getting suicidal thoughts because I didn't know how to escape it.”

In that moment, Ashley realized her life was out of control, and she remembered the God she learned about as a child. 

“All I could really just say was like, ‘God, please, like-like I need you. And I called on the name of Jesus.’ Because there were times where I thought I was praying to gods during the New Age movement, but it was all false. And so, I called on the One true – the One true living God and He was already there for me. And the second that I – that I said His name, my whole panic attack just stopped.  And like, it just felt – I just felt a-a peace come over me. And I just started crying And I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, like I'm so sorry, Lord,’ because He made His presence so known. Like He touched my heart so deeply and I-I just – I knew He was real. He just quieted me. He was like, ‘Ashley, like it's gonna be okay.’”

This time, Ashley was sincere about having a real relationship with God. She connected with a local church and began studying the Bible. As her love for God grew stronger, she let go of all New Age practices.

“After coming into a relationship with the Lord,– I no longer have panic attacks. Uh, my depression has been wiped away. He's completely filled me with joy and peace. / He is enough and that He truly satisfies, and I don't need any of the New Age.”

Ashley is still producing YouTube videos, but this time it’s all about God’s love. She’s active in her church and she’s returned to college. Ashley is delivered from darkness and today. God is her guiding light. 

“In Jesus, I found the most beautiful love, the most beautiful and abundant love. Now I don't want control over my life. I don't want to make decisions without God because I-I know what happens when I make my own decisions. And the-the plans that God has for me are so much better than what I could ever imagine for myself.”

The 700 Club

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