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The Hard Path To Freedom (Bullying And Sexual Integrity)

Pastor John talking about his hard journey to freedom..
John enjoying the breeze at Pensacola Bay (January, 2019).

The following is a guest post submitted by user John David Contreras Abello.

Achieving personal goals is a big deal for many people, because in order to get them they have to go through a hard path. The same truth applies when you want to be free from any kind of addiction or curse you have been dealing with for a lot of years. In my personal life I have gone through many tough times. As any normal human being, I have experienced ups and downs, successes and setbacks, but it has been in those moments of great breakthrough that I have realized who I am and what I need to change.

I grew up in a small tiny town in Colombia called Simaña. I was raised by a single mother, my grandmother and my aunt. My father abandoned us when I was one-year old and my brother was in my mother’s womb. I was raised in a Christian home. My mom and grandma made sure that I was taught the Bible and all the stories of the heroes of faith that are written in that wonderful book.

But as time passed by, I got exposed to a wicked world. I was bullied in school and that made me become a kind of bitter boy. It was during those times that my sexual area was exposed to different situations that affected me later on in my life. 

Although I never had sex when I was a teenager or a young man, many evil seeds were planted in my mind that, when their due time came, produced a painful life experience. 

These seeds were insecurity about who I was, rejection and depression. In my life I had the trauma of questioning all the time who I was and letting external people try to define who I was. Even though I have always had a strong personality, I used that as a shield to cover one issue I was struggling with: “not knowing who I was”.

John preaching at a church in Pensacola, Florida (January, 2019).

The seed of rejection was the most painful one. I was rejected by my father when I was a baby, but I also got rejected by women. I still remember the first girl that rejected me. I was in 10th grade and I liked a girl from 9th grade. She was beautiful, but I was so scared of telling her what I felt for her, and every time I saw her my heart started beating so hard. One day, one of my classmates, whom I had told what I was feeling for this girl, pushed me to talk to her and tell her my feelings. He told me to write a letter and send it to her, so I bought his idea and wrote that letter. 

I was nervous and with a lot of expectation of what could be my first relationship. She read the letter and answered me by sending me one with a friend of hers we had in common. I received it but did not read it right away. During break time, I went to a lonely place and opened it. The message was not the one I was expecting. She said and I quote, “We will never be in a relationship. I am not interested in you.” Those words were like a sword in my heart and that was the starting point of a series of thoughts that were destroying my self-confidence in that area. 

Little things like that can become the starting point of destruction in many people’s life, and I am pretty sure that many of you who are reading this article have gone or might be going through the same experience. After this experience, 3 other girls did the same thing to me and I questioned myself and asked God: am I a bad person that you are not allowing me to be in a relationship? Do I look that ugly that no girl wants me to be close to me? Am I a terrible person? 

All these experiences fed the seed of rejection in my life which led me to experience the next seed, which is the seed of depression. This one is really horrible. I have experienced depression many times in my life. It has not always been that hard, but at times it was painful enough for me even to ask God to take me to heaven because I did not want to be alive anymore. 

Let me clarify that I have never intended to commit suicide, but I have asked God to take me with Him because I was experiencing so much pain in my life due to the rejection I had suffered that I did not want to continue being alive, I wanted death.

When people go through hurtful moments, they tend to seek help in others or just get quiet and not tell anyone because they feel embarrassed. Let me tell you all something, it is part of life to suffer. What it is not okay is to get yourself drawn into those moments. 

Everything in life requires hard work and being free is not the exception. Dealing with your emotions is not an easy job. Being free from a dark past requires to fight the good fight. Therefore, I want to share a couple of things that will help you go through this hard path towards freedom.

  1. Rely on God. I know for some of you it is really hard to believe in the goodness of God when all you have seen is darkness after darkness in every step of your way, but the Lord said through Jeremiah “I know the plans I have for you, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” Hold God’s hand. Do not pretend that God is walking with you. Instead, you walk with Him. Follow His steps, He does not have to follow yours. He has got a future and a hope for you.
  2. Surround yourself with people that make you better and that see the best in you. Break up any kind of relationship that is drowning you. The Bible says that “a friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Get new friends if it is necessary, but surround yourself with people that encourage you, not that discourage you.
  3. You have God’s power inside you to overcome any crisis. God created you in such a way that He put everything we all need to survive any difficult situation. God has given us the power to choose–what we call the free will. God does not control your free will, will much less Satan. 
  4. Learn to say NO. You do not have to say yes to everything. If whatever is being offered to you will harm you, then say no. The scriptures say that the wise man sees danger come and steps aside from it. Learn to say no to your friends, learn to say no to temptation. In fact, the Bible instructs us to run away from temptation.
  5. Find your purpose and live by it. A life without purpose is meaningless. We all have a great purpose in life, and we have to discover it. Ask God to show you His purpose for you. Pay close attention to the skills you have. If you are good at sports, then be an excellent sport guy. If you are good at teaching, then teach. Take a closer look at your life. Do not wait for others to tell you what you are really good at. Look at yourself and I am pretty sure you will find something.

I want finish this article by telling you that you are valuable, you are precious, you are God’s creation. Do not let anyone define you. Let God who created you define you. Maybe today you are not in the place you expected to be but keep working hard, make the adjustments that need to be made, and keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

God bless you!

 -John David Contreras Abello

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).


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