My story starts off like a lot of people who grew up in the south. You know who I’m talking about. The people whose mom was in charge of Vacation Bible School, excelled in bible drills, went to Awana, endured youth choir, and literally had perfect attendance in Sunday School. No seriously, I had perfect attendance one year and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t one of my greatest accomplishments. When I was 11-years old, I gave my life to Christ at summer camp. I realized that although I went to church all the time, I did not have a relationship with Jesus. I finally understood what it meant to be a Jesus follower, so I prayed and asked God to come into my life as my Lord and Savior.
During my first few years as a Christian, I was in middle school, so my days were consumed with Justin Bieber, vanilla bean frappuccinos, and writing songs about my crushes in my room at night. (Yes, I did that) Middle school in general was just an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable time in my life, but I was thankful that my time in junior high was free of any true tragedy or hardship.
In high school, my walk with Christ was challenged for the first time. My grandmother, who was more like a second mom to me, died suddenly. My family struggled to adjust to the loss of the woman who held our family together. We still do. Meanwhile, I was wrestling with issues of my own. For years, I’ve struggled majorly in a couple areas, but as I look back on all that God’s done in my life, it’s evident the ways that he has used my struggles for good.
Here are some of the ways God has done that:
I’ve tried to find joy in anything but Christ. For years, I thought that I could find joy in being loved by another person. “If I could just get everyone to like me, then I would be satisfied” was my thought-process. Or the age-old, “If I could just get a boyfriend, then I would be satisfied.” I genuinely obsessed over being well-liked and loved. I searched for approval and acceptance in all the wrong places and it always left me feeling empty, hurt, and unsatisfied. Why? Because no thing on earth can bring me true joy, ultimate satisfaction and genuine contentment, except for Jesus Christ. I kept hoping that earthly acceptance would be enough. But God grabbed a hold of my heart this past summer and showed me that sin in general was like paying the fare for transportation, but it never actually taking you where you want to go. No love on earth was actually going to fill that void in my heart. Only Christ.
I’ve grappled to love how God made me. If you know me, this may come as a shock to you because I may appear to be somewhat confident, content and self-assured. At least I try to look like I am (lol). But if we’re being real, I have definitely come to hate aspects of my personality and the way that God wired me. When it comes to insecurities, I’ve got just as many as the next girl. For years, those insecurities dictated my life. They were the reason I overthought everything, couldn’t sleep at night, and constantly lived in a state of fear. And if I’m being honest, sometimes they still do. But with all of these things I’ve struggled with in my life, Jesus has brought restoration and healing to every part of my brokenness.
Today, I’m nowhere close to perfect. I still struggle and I know that I always will. But Jesus continues to unlock joy in my life, show me more of His heart, and His faithfulness proves time and time again. I’m confident that He isn’t done writing my story and He isn’t done writing yours. A piece of scripture I constantly cling to is, “And I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6. Jesus is in relentless pursuit of your heart and He’s never going to stop going after you. He won’t give up on you and He will finish the good work He began in you because that’s the kind of God He is and that’s the kind of love He has for you. I promise that a life with Jesus is the sweetest, most abundant life possible and it’s my prayer that you experience it.
McKenna Best is a Carolina girl currently residing in the Instagram influencer capital of the world. She believes in Jesus, dancing in the kitchen, and slow mornings. McKenna is an assistant youth director and spends her afternoons working with middle schoolers in West Nashville. In her free time, you can find her eating Chipotle, making an excessive amount of Spotify playlists, writing in a coffee shop, watching The Office, or spontaneously buying a plane ticket somewhere. She is passionate about equipping youth to unlock their potential and be all that God has called them to be, whether that be through teaching Bible lessons, or writing articles for a variety of online platforms