There Has to Be More to Life Than This
My name is Michelle Zarrillo, and this is my story. All my life, I was told that Jesus died for the sins of the world, but I had tremendous guilt about my own sin. I lacked peace; I had anger and felt a great sense of emptiness. I thought that achievement would heal the pain. I became a doctor of chiropractic, but that achievement did not take away the emptiness. I “got in touch with my inner self,” went to church and joined self-help groups. I tried therapy, did aerobics, tried the night life and accumulated possessions. I fell in love, got married, and thought my husband would fill the void in my life. None of these things worked.
“All my efforts left me back where I started – wondering what I was missing and thinking there had to be more to life than this.”
Soon after we were married, my husband and I began a Bible study with two men from the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. I had a problem with the study. The Bible said I was a sinner, and I felt that statement was not good for my self-esteem. I also felt that I had always been a Christian, but the Bible contradicted that thought. I felt that I was a good person because I had done more good than bad in my life. But the Bible says in James chapter 2 verse 10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” I also felt that I had a relationship with God. After all, I had been baptized as a baby, I prayed, I went to church, and I read my Bible. But again, my beliefs were contradicted by what God had to say in the Bible.
I learned from the Bible study that I did not meet God’s standard for salvation, and I was very sad about that.
“But, while my heart was very sorry that I was a sinner, I did not have sorrow that I had sinned against God.”
I was filled with self-righteousness, and I was disappointed in myself for being less than perfect. I had always set high goals for myself, and not meeting the requirement for salvation was an area of failure. I hated to fail. I was embarrassed and ashamed – so I prayed for God to “save” me.
Based on that prayer, I began my “Christian walk.” Throughout my life, however, I had learned to “fake it until you make it,” and that is just what I tried to do. But the Bible tells us in Galatians chapter 6 verse 7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” God did not let me get away with faking it. My husband noticed that, deep down, something was not ringing true. I noticed the same thing.
As I began to learn more about what pleased God, and saw areas of sin in my life that did not please God, I began to rebel strongly. I also had a lot of anger inside my heart. I decided I wanted nothing to do with this “Christianity.” Most of my areas of sin were rooted in pride – my appearance, my position, and my sense of control over my life. I had no contentment.
“I was stuck in a cycle of lacking peace – and trying harder to find it. All I found was more emptiness. The cycle seemed to never end.”
Finally, during a Sunday evening church service on June 5, 1994, I came to a point where I was confronted with my own wickedness before God. My fear of God was finally greater than my fear of letting go of my sin, my pride, and my false ideas. As the service was drawing to a close, the pastor invited to the altar anyone who wanted to pray. I went right away. I knelt down and confessed to God that I had been rebellious, self-righteous, and very wrong. I told God that my life was now His to control, and that I would not rebel against Him anymore. I knew that it was my sin that Christ had been crucified for. I trusted in what He had done on the cross of Calvary to save my soul. As I returned to my seat, I felt clean for the first time in my life.
“I was finally right with God!”
I find it so amazing that God changed my heart. I no longer want to do everything my way. I strive to know, from His Word, what God wants from my life, and my desire is to obey Him. I no longer need to prove my own self-worth over and over again. I know I am special, because He paid such a high price for my salvation.
Through my whole life, I tried to have self-assurance, confidence, and power. I now know that I have nothing to boast of that comes anywhere near the power of God. I have peace and self-worth because He loves me.
My words were not fancy, but I can trust that God heard the cry of my heart. God has been very gracious to me. He has blessed me with a loving husband and four lovely children. Through His closeness and fellowship, the emptiness, the fear, and the weight on my shoulders is gone, just as described in Psalm chapter 107 verse 9: “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” My Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. Yes, He desires my obedience – but who would not trust and follow so loving a leader!