I didn’t.

I came to Christ in the City with a distorted vision of the reality I was living in. I had myself convinced that I was living my best life, but instead I was a shell of a person. Each day I put on an aching smile, pretending that my heart wasn’t hollow, broken, and barren. Each day I lied to myself that the societal pressures I had fallen to weren’t that bad, continuing to self-sabotage to avoid confronting the desolate state of my soul.

And then I arrived for my first day as a yearlong missionary…

Immediately surrounded by immense amounts of love and joy, I was overwhelmed. It was foreign to me and it felt like I was learning a new language, as I hadn’t experienced such feelings for the past four years. At first I couldn’t identify what it was, but I knew I wanted it for myself.

So I prayed…

Immediately I realized that the love and joy my fellow missionaries were experiencing was from living a life with Christ. A true, beautiful, authentic life with Christ that was so integrated into their entire selves. I wanted that life. But first, I had to change. I had to give up the world. I brought my sins, all of them, to Jesus and slowly began to dissociate from each one.

Pouring his abounding love, mercy, and forgiveness into me, I was transformed from the inside out. With a driving desire to seek the Lord, my once hollow, broken, barren heart began to heal. Each time I gave a little bit more of my heart to Him, I began to feel a little bit more human.

The world may satisfy us temporarily, but we can only experience our true, fullest humanity if we experience it with Christ. Having had this realization, I now can’t get enough. I want to live!

Erica is a first-year missionary from Cranston, RI. She enjoys running, coffee, and going to the beach.