Della Stefanuk

I was raised in the church and grew up basically a good church kid. Despite having great Christian parents, every person must make a personal decision at some point.

From an early age, I was what you would consider a “shy kid”. What most people didn’t realize, was the extent that this “shyness” went. It was deeply rooted anxiety and fear. This grew as I did. Looking back, the anxiety that I struggled with, and my fear of people, actually robbed me of many experiences and relationships that would have helped me and brought joy to me. When I reached middle school, I was surround by good friends, a good family, and a good church, but began pushing all of these away. I was sure that if I could work towards the career that I had desired my entire life and find the solitude that I always sought after, things would be better and I would be happy. In high school my struggle with my mind and emotions continued.

My outward appearance was a content one. I had good friends, decent grades, and a great family. I still held on to my moral values that I had been taught, but when the occasions came that standing up for my values came at the high cost of being noticed or drawing attention to myself, my values would be set aside for the sake of blending in.

I recall at one point in high school, skipping so much school that in the span of three months, my attendance was only about 15 days. I would get physically sick before going to school. I got so frustrated with my anxiety that it quickly turned to self hate. My self image was nearly nothing. Going to sleep at night was another different struggle. My mind was in bondage, I had no control over my thoughts and fears. If I would get any sleep at all, it, it was by listening to music in earbuds insanely loud.

By the time I reached high school I needed to decide whether I was going to live a life for Christ or continue living a life for myself, constantly trying to please everyone around me.

When I was 17 I made a firm decision to give my life to God and accept the gift of salvation that He has provided for us. When I let God come into my life, He gave me freedom from fear, anxiety, and depression. I know my worth in Him and this began the journey of leaving my self hatred behind.

Leaving high school, I still had very little hope and direction. I didn’t understand where my place was in life and it scared me. I began to trust God as I made decisions over the next few years. My relationships with people began to change. I started letting people in, building deeper relationships, and having real joy in my life. I was always the girl with the big smile but I didn’t have much joy before God came into my life. Great opportunities came and God provided for me all through my young adulthood.

With God in control, I have changed drastically in the past few years and am living a life focused on pleasing God, not the world. Giving your life to Christ is the best decision anyone can make, as He has demonstrated in my own life that what He has planned is usually quite amazing compared to what we can do on our own. Since giving my life to Christ, I have no trouble sleeping, no longer have anxiety holding me back from social situations and have been able to be used in musical ministries that I never would have had the boldness to before! I look forward to letting Him use me in a God-filled future.

Myself, I had a good upbringing, and was blessed in many ways, but was still held in bondage by the enemy. God loved me but the enemy hated me. Until I made the decision to give my life to God, the enemy was the one in control. In my experience, it is no fun having someone who hates you rule over your life. I would rather have God, who loves and cares and heals, in control. He loved me and changed so much for me, and He wants to do the same for you! Reach out to Him, and you will be amazed.

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