Denisa Haidau talks about her experience of being a Christian at university
MY life was a boat at university. A frail, wooden boat that slowly undocked from shore. The ocean current then pulled me further and further into a never-ending horizon.
I am a child of God. I believe in Him, always have, and always will. I’ve never been one to hide my faith. But is a cross around your neck enough to set you apart as a Christian?
In 2 Corinthians 2:15, it says that “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”, therefore we have to fight so much harder outside the church, to show to the world what God can supply.
So I started university with that belief fully written on my heart. However, I made so many mistakes as a student: shooting the arrow at the wrong targets and hoping to still score.
Student life felt endless with possibility. Everything is in your grasp. Although it may have a lot of positive effects, it can also become like a den of poisonous snakes.
Weeks and months passed. There were people around me that self-harmed so much and for so long that t-shirts were no longer an option, others using drugs, drinking alcohol excessively, and even attempting suicide.
I started my journey by telling as many as possible about Jesus and the power of the cross. But over time, it became a mere routine. One that was only there as a reason when people asked me why I don’t drink.
If someone told me three years ago that I would rebel in this way, I would never have believed them. I trusted that my faith and my relationship with God was so strong that nothing could ever stir me from Him. My mistake wasn’t my faith but my negligence and foolishness in thinking I didn’t need to do very much more because my spiritual life was solid enough.
Every time I would try something new, I kept repeating in my mind: “This is only once, it’s not like I’m ever coming back”. Then, the second time was because of a friend, then the time after that was because of something else, and so on.
I learned that when it comes to sin, there is no ‘one time’.
I allowed myself to fall and instead of repenting and escaping the pit, I constantly thought I was close enough to the top, so I didn’t need to worry yet. But I only fell further. My reasons were never adequate because I always knew what the Bible said, what God said and what was wrong in His eyes. Everything after that was just an excuse.
The saddest part is that I wasn’t even aware I was lost. I simply looked forward. Assuming the shore was just behind me, I never realised how stranded I was.
My boat eventually crashed and almost sank at the beginning of my third and final year. My face was intoxicated with acne so severe that I couldn’t recognise myself in the mirror. I hit depression. Anxiety followed every time I stepped outside. All my self-esteem and confidence was crushed.
Jesus woke me up by reminding me that without Him, I am merely a helpless speck floating in an empty universe. He helped me deal with vanity, bad habits, anger, and all the wrong people in my life that were affecting me so greatly. He finally freed me of the guilt I was carrying.
My last year was a redemptive year, one of healing and returning to the friend I left behind. God’s love never abandoned me, but offered me the mercy I’ll never deserve.
His beautiful cross led me safely back to shore.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)