The follow is my story, aimed at 5th and 6th graders. As with every historical narrative, there is a lot more going on than I’ve chosen to reveal. God has done amazing things in me throughout my life, and I cannot possibly chronicle all them in a 15 minute talk. But, the story is cool, the events are real, and God is good. – Tyler
I was born at a very young age. Fast forward a couple years, and we get to the beginning of my story (or at least, this story). Since I can remember, I loved to play video games. I would play them with my dad constantly when I was little and liked to do very little else. I played soccer and water polo and other physical activities during my youth, but I turned away all of it in pursuit of being able to play video games.
All the video games I played were based on the idea that as you played, you would get items or achievements and those things would make you a better player. The best players were those that had gotten all the items or all the achievements. These were games like Yu-Gi-Oh, Star Wars Galaxies, Age of Empires, and World of Warcraft. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t play video games, but I do know that I really started playing games with other people (online) right about 5th and 6th grade.
When I first started playing games online, I played alone or with my dad. It was fun. We would wake up on a Saturday and play until evening. However, over time I wanted to play more and more. I would get up early in the morning and play before school and then as soon as I got home I would rush back to the computer to get on it again. I met a group of people at Solana Pacific that played trading card games and I wanted to be a part of that group too.
Soon my entire life was focused around playing games, both online and during lunch. Any friends I have made in elementary school I had forgotten about. I just focused on playing games. I didn’t like running around or exercising so being able to just sit at a computer was easy. Plus, I could feel like I was better than everyone else when I had better cards or items and more achievements. It was awesome.
In Middle School, I started to play online with a bunch of people I had never met before. It started taking up a lot of my time, and I would spend maybe 9 – 12 hours every week after school doing nothing but playing games with them. The only time I really stopped playing games online was to go to school or church.
When I was at school or church, I was always focused on going back home so I could keep playing video games. I didn’t really make many friends, and even if I wanted to I usually couldn’t because I really didn’t know how.
It took me until my second year in high school to finally grow bored of my video games. I saw all the other people in my grade that had lots of friends and I wanted that. I also realized that I couldn’t really make friends if I was spending all my free time at home playing on the computer.
So, I decided to stop. I cancelled my subscription and tried to go to church and school events more. However, even though I went, it was really hard for me to make friends. I didn’t go up to anyone to talk to them, and most people I thought had already labeled me as weird and didn’t want to talk to me.
In my fourth year of high school, right before I graduated. I met this girl that I thought was awesome and really wanted to be friends with her. But, again, I didn’t know how to friends with people. So I just would say hi, and not much else. However, I constantly tried to be around her because I thought she was really cool. After a couple months of trying to be her friend, she told me she didn’t like me and did not want to be friends with me. She thought I was weird.
This made me feel terrible. I thought that no one would ever want to be my friend, and that I just would go through life alone. And I spent a long time thinking that, avoiding other people and just thinking that I was a horrible person that was no good at making friends. And that was wrong. I let this one girl convince me that I was a terrible person and that no one would ever like me. In fact, I even thought that God didn’t want me to have friends.
When I graduated, I started working at Grace Point because I liked playing games and helping people. During the first year out of high school, God connected me with some people on staff who helped out and actually started to be some of my first real friends. They listened to my story, and helped me realize that God loved me despite what one person said about me.
It took three years of high school, and a year in college, but God finally showed me that I could have friends and that He wouldn’t just leave me alone. In fact, as I look back I can see that God was working to prepare me to meet the right people all along.
God taught me that He provides me with the things I need. Even when I thought that I had no friends, and would never find friends, God provided. And since then, a lot of those friends have moved away. But, God has continued to bring new people into my life that care about me and show me just how good he is.