I was christened by my parents as a baby, we went to church on Christmas Day every year, and I remember hearing Bible stories and singing Christian songs at primary school. Some of my friends‘ parents were Christians who talked about God and Jesus in front of me, but what they said always sounded very far from what I had been taught and was familiar with, and it didn’t fit with my understanding of life, particularly with what I hoped to achieve from it. At school I was driven by achievements; I learned that to do well it was necessary to be self-disciplined and to keep pushing yourself. However towards the end of school I started to feel very unsatisfied with the seemingly endless focus on results and success. Simply ’doing well' became less sufficient motivation for working hard, and I learnt in other areas of life how painfully disappointing it is when things don’t work out as you have planned and hoped, when they are simply out of your control.
My opportunity to hear the gospel came during my first term here in Cambridge. I had seen the ‘Christianity Explored’ course advertised and it looked like it might be answering the kind of questions I had, even though I didn’t really know what those were. It felt fairly uncomfortable going along at first - for a start I was quite confused about what being a Christian meant, as I had sort of been led to believe that I already was a Christian (having been christened, having been to church). But it soon became clear that it wasn’t merely the name of someone who followed certain traditions. I was struck by one of the ideas raised in the course - the idea of a room where every single moment of your life is displayed for all to see - and how deeply ashamed I felt. In a discussion about various people’s reactions at Jesus‘ crucifixion I was convicted of what my own would have been; it was no good trying to persuade myself that I was a ’good' person any more. I knew then that I needed forgiveness; that I needed Jesus Christ to come into my heart.
Looking back I can see that the Lord was gently guiding me closer and closer to Him - He was giving me all the strength I needed to know that the temporary awkwardness I felt was leading to something far greater than I could possibly imagine, and this truth has been more and more deeply reinforced for me in all that I have been through since. I find it hard to explain exactly why I became a Christian but I do know that something amazing has happened in my heart and that it has changed me; I have been blessed with a relationship with Jesus. I have learned to confess things to Him I would never have confessed to anybody before - my weaknesses, my fears, my failures - He knows them exactly, and yet He loves me more intimately than anyone ever could.
My decision to be baptised is based simply on a desire to follow what the Lord has commanded. There are so many voices competing for my attention in this world, but Jesus' voice is the voice of truth I know I can trust in completely. He alone has my greatest needs at heart and He has the best plans that there could possibly be in store for me.