And on and on and on it goes.
Another long hiatus between journal entries, yet so much has happened. I first want to apologize for this lengthy time on silence, but with it has come a lot of change, in more ways than one.
First, schedule changes. With high school now out of way and in the midst of my last summer vacation as a minor, this would be the point in which I'd like to say "I am completely free to be on here a lot now and can update on a regular basis". Unfortunately, that's not the case. As college is just around the corner, I am working full time in order to get the money necessary to attend.
So basically, my schedule is pretty much just as full now as it was while high school as still going on. Therefore, I can't promise an increase in updates or in journal entries.
However, I am still full of ideas and am willing to put those idea on "paper", so to speak. The only issue will be finding time to type them all out (not to mention outlining and editing), as well as trying to keep priorities in line.
So yeah, that just about does it for schedule changes (if any at all). Now to mention the two major changes AKA "Transformations" I'm going through right now.
First one, one completely random (and most likely one most viewers already can figure out) is my new complete transition into the brony community. Like I said, this one will most likely not be a surprise to anyone, however I will admit, I am much more active in the community now than I was before. I can only blame/thank my time at BroNYCon 2012 for that. With the addition of meeting some internet friends I've known for years, it was a fantastic experience and I bought a lot of merchandise.
Not to mention the con literally was on fire come the second day, but I wasn't there for that, so yeah.
Again, this one isn't that big in the grand scheme of things; really, all it means is it will result in more MLP related art and fan fiction here on page. It will most likely be one of my main focuses. Whether this excites you or sickens you to death won't change my mind at this point, so yeah.
But now onto the main change, in which I kind of wanted this entire journal to be dedicated to: Spiritual change.
Before I go into a long and lengthy story about the change itself, which I will provide a "tl;dr" version at the end, I believe there is need for a little back story:
I've grown up in a Christian background for all my life, going to church every Sunday, youth service every Wednesday come my 13th birthday, and even Friday night prayer meetings with my parents for a while. I went to a Christian school up to the 10th grade, until I switched to a public school. I have lived in a house that practices Christian morals, and have been a "Christian" for as long as I can remember.
I grew up with the assurance that I had a good Christian life and was going to go far in life; I had (and still have) and wonderful talent in music, and I did really well in school, getting good grades in all courses.
And then my new youth group happened.
When I left my previous church/school in 9th grade, I had joined with another that was much more pleasant and friendly than the former. And at this point, I was about 14 years old, so I immediately join ed the youth group. Despite regular attendance though, within 3 years, I had never gone to a youth convention or youth camp. I don't remember the excuse, but it's mostly irrelevant now.
This year, I made the decision to go to both, since it was my last year of being in the youth group. First came youth convention in late April.
It was there that I learned that my "Christian" life was missing the most important aspect: a relationship with God.
Prior to the convention, and even now, I have had a long-lasting battle with temptations and bad such as over-reactive anger and lust, with the latter being the more destructive for me. I had tried for years to rid myself of these bad habits, but I never could. There would always be something else to draw me back in or tip me over the edge.
It was that moment at youth convention that I realized that if I couldn't do things myself, I needed some support, and I realized that God was willing to give me that strength. In fact, I as though He was waiting the entire time, waiting for me to ask Him to help me out.
I could tell this was something real, because prior to the convention (once again), whenever a worship team at youth or a pastor at my church encouraged people to come forward to the "altar", I never did, because I never wanted to look a fool, raising my hands and kneeling and singing along.
At youth convention, there was something different, something there that made all those worries completely become irrelevant. And I could tell I wasn't the only one; as the worship band continued to play their music, almost everyone in the convention was on their knees, crying out, raising their hands, etc. And along with worries gone, I felt drawn to the front, as if being called.
I went forward and I asked God to please help me and free me from these temptations, as well as many other issues I was going through such as family issues, relationship trouble, school trouble, etc.
And the amazing part is He did. At that moment, and after the convention was over, I felt relieved of the stress that came with those previous troubles. Sure they came back once I returned home, but instead of giving in, I began to reject the temptation, and I was able to control my anger, control my lust, and form a better relationship with my parents / sister.
And if that wasn't enough, youth camp still awaited. And that's what led me here, writing this journal.
Youth camp was youth convention, with about 10 times the spiritual experience, mostly because it lasted longer and the services were much more intense. At youth convention, I allowed God to help me with my issues, which not only worked, by renewed my faith in Him. No, at youth camp, He asked me to return the favor.
My simple request the first night at youth camp was that God would lead me in the right direction, in a direction that would not only satisfy me, but also lead me towards Him.
Instead of just fulfilling that, He also showed me where He wants me to go and what to do long term; he wants me to be a leader, an example of what being in a relationship with God is like and what a true Christian is supposed to act like. FOr those of you who may question what a true Christian is, let me refer you to the two commandments Jesus stated were the greatest and most important to keep:
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'" - Matthew 22:37-40
This is something that I have seen completely forgotten amongst "Christians" today. Many of these "Christians" are extremely hateful and reject anyone that does not agree with their beliefs. Granted, there are extremists in every religious group, but from I have seen it's left an extremely negative view on everyone, even true Christians.
For me, I personally blame focusing more on religion rather than the relationship with God. I grew up with religion, but I didn't have a relationship with God, and was missing out for a majority of my life thus far.
Regardless, I have felt drawn towards sharing my beliefs with others who are willing to listen and take note. My hope and prayer is that it will leave an impact, and that it will show that a relationship with God will always be better than focusing on religion. And youth camp is where I felt this desire and passion.
And I know it was more than a feeling, because along with this passions, I have also received the courage to speak in front of crowds of people and share my beliefs / thoughts. This I can guarantee: I am not a public speaker, and I never have been. I have been very nervous talking in person, because I also seem to make a fool of myself with verbal slurs and others trivial things. However, when I speak about my faith, again, the worries disappear and I only focus on what God wants me to say.
Truly, I have been completely transformed by these recent experiences.
Now, I'm not saying in any way that I'm perfect; I still am tempted by lust, and I still allow myself to get overly depressed and I become confused about what to do next. Along with this, I had to end a relationship with someone I was hoping to date, because it became clear that she was not leading me towards a God-centered relationship, nor a relationship in general. That too cased confusion and emotional drama.
The difference is now, I have someone to help me overcome these negative aspects of my life, someone who is all powerful and can help me overcome anything.
TL;DR VERSION: I went to youth camp and youth convention recently, and I have grown spiritually more than I can imagine. I felt as though God is leading me to become an example of a true Christian who has a strong relationship with God, rather than a close attachment to religion.
The reason I mention this transformation is because it is going to greatly affect the work that I post here. Sure, I will be writing MLP fan fictions and still probably doing Custom Magic Cards, I might even get involved in doing some photography. But don't be surprised if I also post stuff concerning my new found faith as well.
It's getting late. I should head to bed. If you've read though the whole thing, hopefully I've left an impact and hopefully you'll be seeing some changes, both with me and my activity here on dA.
God Bless, and have a good night.
Music listened to while making this journal:
~~ "Bangers and Smashed (Extended Mix)" by Approaching Nirvana
~~ "Diamond Dogs (Euro Dirt Vocal Mix)" by Eurobeat Brony ft. Odyssey
~~ "This Day Aria (Changling Mix ft. Rina)" by Eurobeat Brony
~~ "Love Is In Bloom (Full Bloom Mix)" by Eurobeat Brony ft. Odyssey
~~ "Risen From The Grave (ft. Sean Loche)" by Worth Dying For
~~ "Send Your Glory Down (feat. Sean Loche & Sarah Agbayani)" by Worth Dying For
~~ "Promised Land" by Fee
~~ "Funky Jesus Music" by TobyMac
~~ "Tonight" by TobyMac
~~ "Unite Synchronization" by Homestuck
~~ "Cascade" by Homestuck
Listening to: See end of journal