I’m a people pleaser. I’ve always been a people pleaser, and I wanted everyone to think the best of me and to think the best of my family, so I kind of just pushed that aside. Everybody already thought that I was a Christian, so the easiest thing for me to do was when it was time for altar calls and stuff, I would pray, or I would pretend to pray, for everyone else in the church. I would pray that if there was anyone who wasn’t a Christian today that they would accept God. It wasn’t until a year later when I was thirteen that I finally realized that I can’t pray for anyone else until I pray for myself. I accepted Christ then.
Where I’d prayed for everyone else for so long, and I had ignored the fact that I did need God, I kind of felt like a new person, a new person who had a new spirit. I was totally on fire. Once I was able to face the fact that it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, and by telling everyone, “Hey, this is when I finally accepted Christ.” I just felt new. I felt like God was in control of my life completely, and with Him I could overcome trying to please everyone else and just live solely for Him.
My parents went through a nasty divorce, and it lasted until today. It’s still going on right now. There have been times when they were back together and then they weren’t together. Through all of that I was kind of the support for everyone. Everyone looked at me as the Christian person in high school. People would be, like, “Oh, don’t say that, here comes Sierra,” or they would respect me in the sense that I was the Christian leader on the sports teams. I was FCA President. I was Miss Christian, and I walked that life. I believed that the other people around me had let me down, but I couldn’t let myself down. In a sense I was holding back from God, and I wasn’t giving thanks to Him because I was still trusting in myself.
It wasn’t until after freshman year that I got in a relationship with a guy. Different things happened, and I really let myself down. It took me hitting rock bottom to turn back to God and realize what God’s redemption really was and how He can really save us and how even though everyone here on earth can let us down (our moms can let us down, our dads can let us down, our teachers, our siblings, our best friends, our boyfriends or girlfriends, everyone can let us down), there’s only one person who can’t, and that’s God. Through a campus ministry I was involved in, in school coming back after my freshman summer, I got to realize that again, it really opened my eyes to that even though I thought I was perfect, and everyone looked up to me, I wasn’t, and what God really died for. That includes me, a person who was let down by everyone and was finally let down by herself.
As far as being a people pleaser, I know you hear this verse a lot, and people always go back to it, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” but after that moment, and through high school, I really did fall back to that verse often and realized that it’s not going to matter what other people think of me when I stand up for Christ because God will give me the strength to go on. When I had trouble with that, I would look to Psalm 1:21. It says, “Where does your help come from? It comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
Through mission trips to Romania, I realized that the stuff that I had with my family wasn’t the problem I had. The kids who didn’t have things, who didn’t have shoes on their feet each day, who wore the same clothes all seven days…they had problems.
I had challenges back home. I brought those verses back home and really hung close to the whole chapter of Psalm 1:21. It brought me through a lot of things.