I grew up in a churched home. Every Sunday we went to church as a family. I was taught that it was the right thing to do. And when I was in high school, I became very involved in the youth activities that my church offered. I even became a leader in my youth group.
I did not know it then, but I had a twisted view of how I was going to get to heaven. I thought that when I died, if all the good things I did outweighed all the bad things I did, I would deserve a place in heaven. So I did a lot of good things to “offset” all the not so good things I wanted to do. But, ultimately, I wanted to end up in heaven.
After high school I went to college. I made a choice to turn my back on church and God as I knew Him. I wanted to party, I wanted to experience life. And in my second semester of college I failed every class I was in. At that time I realized how messed up my life was. I had forgotten about doing any of the good things and I was convinced that if I died at that moment I did not stand a chance of getting into heaven.
It was then that the priest who was in charge of a statewide youth retreat called me and asked if I would be willing to lead an upcoming retreat. The person who was supposed to lead it had just canceled on him, and he needed to find someone who could step in and run with it since the retreat was in two weeks. He called me because I had led several of these retreats when I was in high school, and I knew the routine. They were some of those good things I did.