I have been Seventh-Day Adventist my whole life, at least by name. I was baptized at the age of 12, but didn't feel a true conversion experience until this past summer.
When I was baptized I didn't really do it because I had fallen in love with Jesus. In reality, I just got baptized because my friends were doing it (it may sound weird but baptism peer pressure is real). Sure I thought Jesus was cool and I wouldn't really be around if He hadn't died, but I hadn't ever had my heart broken by the gospel. I grew up with an autoimmune disease and always had this, "Why me, God?", attitude that made me generally unpleasant person to be around. My negativity overflowed into every part of my life until I was a perfectly rounded little electron.
One of my greatest regrets is how poorly I treated some of my friends in my underclassmen years of high school. I was selfish, mean, cruel, and I damaged some friendships so badly that they will never be exactly the same. But I am so thankful for the healing I've experienced and the promise that "if anyone is in Christ, [s]he is a new creation". 2 Cor 5:17
After my bad underclassmen years, I ended up going to academy in Portland, OR for my last 2 years of high school. It was a beautiful experience to have a new start in a new place and an opportunity to change my attitude. I was still negative and selfish, but wasn't nearly as mean and actually ended up with some life long friends.
After graduating from high school I spent my freshman year at Union College in Lincoln, NE. I made a few good friends at Union and one of my great friends encouraged me to sign up for Youth Rush in the Central California Conference (CCC) of Seventh-Day Adventists. I had always considered canvassing, but never really thought I would actually do it. About a month later I was interviewed over the phone and a short while later received an acceptance letter. I flew to CA in early June and spent 10 weeks canvassing and by the grace of God, had my first true conversion experience.
Up until that point the past 6 weeks had really been a real struggle, I didn't really enjoy canvassing, my heart wasn't in it, I struggled with negativity and complaining, and hadn't fully surrendered all my worldly desires and tastes to the Lord. I was however convicted by the Holy Spirit that I needed to give these things up before trying to reach SF. I had a good pray/cry decided to try it just for a week and even promised one of my leaders I wouldn't be negative all week. At the end of the week I felt for the first time in my whole life that I was fully surrendered to Christ. I decided to rededicate my life to Him and was re-baptized at iShare on August 16, 2014.
My heart had finally been broken by the gospel, I finally realized the seriousness of my sin. That it was my sin that had crucified Christ, that the selfishness and cruelty with which I had treated my friends was the reason that Jesus died of a broken heart. "He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for YOU" 1 Peter 1:20. He would have died for just one sinner. He would have died if it had only been me, if it had only been you.
I praise the Lord for the work He has done in my life. It is my prayer that my life can be a witness to others in everything I do, say, eat, watch, listen to, post, laugh at... and that I may do ALL to the glory of God. Jesus "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb 4:15). It gives me hope that I can overcome sin every day through Him. Each day brings new challenges but Jesus promises us that, "He who overcomes shall inherit all things." Rev 21:7. It breaks my heart at the thought of not seeing my family and friends in heaven. Are the things of this world of more value than a heavenly crown*, a harp of gold*, and never-fading flowers*? Heaven is cheap enough!*
*Early Writings Chapter 1