I knew there was more to life

I was brought up in a Christian home where, from an early age, I was introduced to God and wholeheartedly, from the early age of 5 years, believed in God. My knowledge and experience of God, looking back at it, was quite religious, but despite that I still believed in God.

As the years went by, my knowledge of God developed into a restricted belief system that God just watches us all closely, He is in everything and everywhere and sees every wrong I do, all of which I will be punished for when I’m in heaven (as He reads this long scroll dating all the events I did in my lifetime). At that age what I understood was that, in order to not be punished, I would have to pray for forgiveness every time I did something wrong. It got to a point where that just didn’t stick, so I would occasionally, once a year, ask for forgiveness. That went on for some years.

From an early age I knew I was an excellent athlete; I believed God gave me this gift. After leaving Zimbabwe, at age 13, I came to England, where I quickly settled in and started playing the sports that I had enjoyed playing the most whilst I was in Zimbabwe. Immediately I excelled in rugby, cricket and athletics, and played all at county championship standard. At the age of 14 I was scouted for the London Irish Rugby Academy. I now had my sights set on becoming a professional rugby player. Church was on and off, some days I wouldn’t want to go and other days I got to miss it because I was playing rugby.

My mother and sister were always very persistent on me getting to know God. My mother would always encourage me to give God glory for the talent He placed in me. I agreed with that statement, and it became a prayer: ‘God, teach me how to glorify Your name with the talent You gave me.’ It didn’t happen overnight, but with time things began to change course. I started getting a lot of injuries in rugby, and my progression began to detoriate. Within a couple years I was dropped out from the academy. My hope and sight had been fixed on being pro, and it was all just in reaching sight. I had trained hard at a young age, and I was almost there.

It was painful, tough, disappointing. The slide just carried on; in the meanwhile my relationship with God began at age 16/17. By this time I was now in church, and I sensed there was something more to life than what I was living, and aspired to become. It felt like life was more than chasing after success and wanting to be successful. Sure enough, after a year, it all made sense as I finally surrendered my whole life and plans to God. I found that I began to live out what I kept sensing each time I was in church. My life is now heading in a different way, one which is a thrilling journey. Dreams, hope and passion all restored. Every day I receive joy, peace and happiness for free!

Mark