My name is Austin and I am a 21 year old college student. Before attending RLI’s conference I was living a life of total emptiness. I had deep emotional and mental problems coming from fear and bitterness towards myself and others. One morning, after waking up from a night of drinking and partying, I had no recollection of what I had done the night before or how I even managed to make it home. I became afraid – afraid that my life was going back into the deep pit where it was before.
I’d gone up and down in my life for the past year, trying to overcome depression, temptations and addictions that I knew were tearing me apart. I was fearful in almost every situation and hated myself for being so fearful and holding back who I really was inside. I had little to no confidence in myself in every aspect: my looks, my personality, in what people thought of me. The way I managed these problems was through heavy usage of drugs and alcohol, having sex with as many women as I could, and trying to make myself into a rock with no feelings.
This is what my life in college had become. I would drink purely for the reason to get drunk, and did this at least four times a week. I smoked marijuana every chance I had, which was at least a few times a day. I used drugs to escape from reality as often as I could. I didn’t like being sober, having to live in reality because I hated the person that I was becoming. I had deep trust and loneliness issues that I coped with by having sex with girls I didn’t even know. I treated women like objects, and let them treat me like one as well.
I knew I needed help but didn’t have the confidence to make anyone aware of it. The only person that really knew the life I’ve was living and how it made me feel was my mother. She was the one who told me about RLI’s conference and how it changes people lives. I knew I needed something to get me out of the life I was living so I told her that I would go.
When the day of the conference came, it was by the grace of God that I even went! I was faced with a ton of temptations and I really wanted to give in to them. When I decided that I wasn’t going to give in, it made me very angry, because I wasn’t able to do what I wanted in the moment. When I first walked into the conference I was the angriest I had been in a while. After about two hours all that anger was gone! I felt like I was really supposed to be there, and then actually became very thankful and happy that I was there. After the second day of the conference, God healed me of the bitterness that had deep roots in me. I had bitterness towards myself, (because I literally HATED the person I was), bitterness towards God, and bitterness towards others. The second night was one of the largest breakthroughs for me that week. It was the first time I ever felt in touch with God. I had always wrestled with the idea of God being real, but when I received deliverance from strongholds holding me back in life I knew that God was real. Throughout the week I became more and more free from different strongholds in my life such as fear, anger, distrust, etc. At the end of the week we had ministry in small groups, and that’s where and when I truly for the first time gave my life over to Christ. I never truly thought I was saved before because of the things I’ve done, and how my belief in God didn’t line up with my words and actions. I came to the realization that I believed in God out of fear of going to Hell, and that was one of the major strongholds the enemy had on me. Now I believe in God out of the grace he has given me, and continues to give me.
Since I’ve attended RLI’s conference, I’ve been living the life I know God wants me to live. I decided to quit drinking and quit doing drugs. I resigned from the fraternity I was a part of, changed the people I had been hanging around, and much more. I’ve never been happier with my life than I am now and I continue to grow happier through God. What he has done for me is a complete miracle, he delivered me from fear, addictions, temptations, distrust, and more. He continues to deliver me from things I have started to recognize in my thoughts, words, and actions. I thank Him every day for everything He’s done in my life and continues to do. The way God is being used in RLI is awesome, and I would recommend the conference to anyone, no matter where they are in their life!