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TJ (right) and his brother

During grade school I made a decision to give my life to Jesus during a summer camp, but when I got back to school, I fell into my old ways. I wanted the acceptance of my classmates and I wanted to be the “funny guy,” but since I didn’t talk that much, people made fun of me which drove me back into being silent again. This led me to be depressed. It was hard to be happy because I couldn't be who I wanted to be and I was always wary of how others saw me, so I found happiness in my sin instead. This carried on into my sophomore year of high school until my parents made me join a Christian school. There I learned that God sees me as He sees His son Jesus Christ, as perfectly righteous and fit for a relationship with Him. I don't have to worry about what others think about me, or have to measure up to their expectations, or to be something I’m not, but I can rest on God's promise that He sees me as His son. It was there that I recommitted my life to Jesus and began to see a drastic change in who I was.

God has given me a new sense of confidence and it has allowed me to break free from my old self. I'm no longer overwhelmed with anxiety and depression that stemmed from trying to fit the mold of quiet TJ. I'm now comfortable knowing that God accepts me based on the blood of His Son, Jesus.

When I came to USF and met with a campus minister from Cornerstone, he helped me understand this concept a lot more deeply. He showed me ways to deepen my relationship with Jesus. Hanging out with people from Cornerstone has helped me form my identity as a son of God, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic where I'm physically away from the church and I am tempted to revert back to my old sinful ways. They keep me accountable and help me grow in my walk with Jesus. I can’t wait to get back to campus to spread the Gospel with my friends!

~ TJ

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