Daryl is a first year psychobiology major who loves food, weird awkward things, and puppies. He enjoys cycling, terrible jokes, doing mediocre accents, and thinks that being weird is pretty great.
I grew up knowing all the words to the songs in church, always praying before every meal and before bed, and hearing the classic old testament stories through talking vegetables so many times that when I had started to make obscure jokes about talking vegetables at school that teachers began to worry. This was probably partly due to my dad being a pastor, making me, what some people would call a “PK” or pastor’s kid. I was always known as the good Christian kid who never did anything bad. A pastor’s kid who followed the rules and did whatever I felt was the right thing I was supposed to do. I went to church every Sunday, heard the word of God in and out of the house, and prayed regularly. “Why wouldn’t I do all these things? I was expected to as a PK,” I thought. But it wasn’t at all genuine. It became more of a systematic process, almost as if I were on autopilot where I could go to church, worship, hear a sermon, and leave. That was it, nothing more that; going to church just be there.
I knew the Christian lingo and thought that I was a Christian, but I was steeped in sin. I only took church as a social event where I could see friends and hang out. The stereotypical good PK label didn’t apply at home. The expectations were hard to live up to, and at home, I couldn’t control my anger and would lash out at my mom in retaliation to even the smallest of things just because I was in a bad mood. The next minute I would go out and put on the “good mask” everyone expected me to have. My heart was always in the wrong place and was always motivated by the wrong things. I never practiced anything I said. It was a faith that James would call dead, and it was. I didn’t understand what being a Christian really meant. I knew the gospel and could tell anyone that asked me, but I only believed that God existed as an intellectual belief.
It was as a freshman in high school when my brother challenged me to really assess what it was that I believed. He had recently started college and really began to mature as a Christian. One week when he had come home, as he normally would, he popped into my room before going to bed and asked me a question, “Do you really believe in what you’re always reading in the Bible, what you’re listening to every week, even what you are singing?” I had brushed it off initially and went to bed, but it had got me thinking. Did I? That week after church, I realized that I didn’t remember a single thing.
God revealed this autopilot nature of mine and patiently worked in my heart. I began to listen to the sermons, the lyrics of the songs we sang, and genuinely study the bible. Week after week, I would only be even more convicted of my sins. I realized the true gravity of my sin and how depraved I really was; that I desperately needed Him. Through this, sometime in my freshman year for the first time I actually acknowledged Christ as my savior. It absolutely amazed me that God would send his only son Jesus, perfect both fully God and man, to die on the cross for the worst sinner that I know – me – all in one glorious display of his holy love and justice at the cross. The passages I had read a hundred times before brought new peace and refreshed me. I hungered to read more, to learn more, started to have a real joy in worshipping him, and began being discipled by my youth pastor. Though I had fervency for Christ, I still struggled with Christ’s lordship over my life. It was easy for me to become absorbed by school and academic extracurriculars.
During sophomore year, I got into a really bad cycling accident that knocked me unconscious and I had to be airlifted to the nearest trauma center. The accident left me with two permanent plates in my face, but worse, with only partial vision in my right eye. I had become partially blind. This devastated me over the next two years. I struggled with adjusting, every little thing became much more difficult, let alone the bigger things. Moreover, I began to doubt God in how my life would turn out. I feared the future. Despite my family and friends supporting me, I could only see my struggles, but praise God in his goodness that He used this to humble me. It affected all aspects of my life, but He also grew me in all aspects of my life. I could always go back to the word of God and rest assured in prayer. Only at my lowest, could I fully understand the abounding grace and love of God and His sovereignty over me.
Senior year and even now in my first year of college, I am still learning what it means to have Christ, not only as my savior, but also as lord over my life. God continues to reveal the sins in my life, and humbles me with how much I still have to learn. I am so blessed to have been born into such a God fearing family as a PK with such a wise father, a mother that constantly prays for her children, and a brother that always looks out for me. God has blessed me with my attendance at UCLA and has placed me in Grace on Campus and Grace Community Church, where I can continue to develop my own biblical convictions alongside other brothers and sisters. I praise God for what he has done in my life and pray that God will continue to grow me as I behold his amazing glory and rest fully on him.