Picking up from where we left off, we just finished Part 1 and Part 2. This is Part 3 you may want to go back and finish the other two blogs so this part makes sense, but that’s your call! Now we’re entering into High School a very interesting time to be Kyle Herminath.
Ideas Have Consequences
I entered High School as a ticking time bomb of apathetic and self-destructive atheistic ideology, hormones, teen angst, and lack of identity. Which is (almost) exactly the same way everyone else enters High School. God bless the hearts of the teachers willing to shape and mold such an age group. It takes an incredible patience! I also entered with a fierce and fiery intensity that only grew as the years passed by. My enthusiasm for Jesus and intensity for the Bible that now defines me as a Christian was on display through my personality in a destructive bent towards chaos during these years. Hindsight being 20-20, I know who’s team I was playing for… Satan’s team. Even if I didn’t promote the name “satan” I was certainly pushing forward his twisted agenda during these days.
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
But God Sent me Brothers
Eventually I found a few people willing to associate with me. Around 8th grade to Freshman year I found Kyrik, Micheal, Jake, and a few others. I certainly had other friends but I’d like to point out these three for the story. Kyrik once told me that I kind of just showed up at his house one day, and never really left. I was a just a little hungry for friendship. Around this 8th grade time frame is when I started playing D&D. I got really sucked up into it because for me it was a healthy form of community that I never had before.
I really enjoyed engaging with the intelligence of the three friends that I mentioned. I really appreciated having friends who thought a little bit deeper, had more of a sarcasm, and wit to them. I’d never really been close to or experienced friends like that before. At the time, I was basically unbearable as a friend. Early in my life I was fairly quiet and kept to myself. So a childhood and early “teenhood” was mostly spent by myself, and made me a very interesting person.
Ever see those stories where people are raised in the woods “by wolves” or in the wild? Up until 7th grade when I first started trying to make friends; I basically just showed up, and left school doing as little as possible to interact or engage with anything or anyone. I had no interest in other people. So by the time I met the three guys I mentioned before, I was already very odd and obsessed with weird things. My mind was interested in the dark things of this world, and my heart was hardened to spiritual things. I was hostile to anything related to God.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8
One thing I hated then was being fake, (still can’t stand it) and at that time everything other then anger or depression was fake to me. Lets get real, when you believe that we are from nothing, have no life purpose, and are going to die to go no where… Why should you be anything other then angry or depressed? From my perspective if you we’re not angry or depressed you just were not being authentic. As I talked about in Part 2 I couldn’t see any reason for anything so depending on your mood anger, hopelessness, or depression was the proper response.
By the end of High School the fours of us all ran with different crowds. Mostly we just spent all our time with our respective girl friends at the end. I’m not sure how much of an impact I had on them, but I thank Jesus for putting them in my life. They made a big impression on me wither or not they we’re intending to do so. Specifically I praise the Lord specifically for Kyrik Rudd. Of all the friends I had during this time he had the greatest impact on my life. He showed me by his example this verse:
A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
Fight Club, Self-destruction, & More!
The first rule of the next part of my life is that you don’t talk about it. The second rule of the next part of my life is that we can’t talk about it. My heart was still hungry, but I still didn’t understand or identify the problem.
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. Matthew 13:11
We have to have a hunger for God then He will help us begin to understand mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. We never stop learning this side of eternity. As time passed in High School the topic of identity continued to be brought up to me in a number of ways. Friends, family, people at school, and you are all trying to figure out who your “going to be someday”. So we each look inside for what resonates with our hearts, or souls, and our minds. We start to take steps based on what we are passionate about. One of the things I was completely sold out about was my atheistic beliefs. Sure I still had questions, but I didn’t want anyone to answer them. I searched for ways to reinforce my belief system as an atheist.
I searched for media that represented my peculiar view on life. I found a few sources and mediated on them. Most impactful was the movie Fight Club. I must have watched that movie forty-five times. I began listening to hate filled, anger inducing, and destructive music. I couldn’t be away from it, and by the end of High School I had head phones with me everywhere. Constantly reengaging with a source of chaos. In these days I would continue to go back to content that elevated the dark side of our lives. I would go from periods of complete apathy, to rage, to depression, and created my own little world to live in. Which is what I was accustom to because of video games. To give you an idea of the content that I loved that I was consuming here are a few Fight Club quotes.
Maybe self-improvement isn’t the answer, maybe self-destruction is the answer. – Fight Club
How everything you ever love will reject you or die. Everything you ever create will be thrown away. Everything you’re proud of will end up as trash. – Fight Club
Now its one thing to consume content, watch a movie, view a TV series, or listen to some music. I wasn’t “consuming content” at this point. The time I started my Fight Club (in my garage) I was meditating on self-destructive content to the point where the reality of the content was more real to me then the “real world.” Many people told me at the time that I was a very intimidating guy. In hindsight, I can understand their opinion. We used to gather together and fight one another in garages and basements. We did it for all kinds of reasons. Many of the guys had never been in fights before. A the time I reasoned that I was doing a good service to them by giving them a confidence in a new area of their life. Most of them has similar angst filled perspective. I would then show up at school with bruised eyes and bloody lips. I took a kind of pride in my lack of concern for my well being. As time went on the content I was consuming became increasingly radical.
I remember one particular time a guy was punching my face into the ground and I didn’t even try to defend myself. As everyone freaked out to stop the fight, I stood up at laughed like a lunatic. Asking to continue, but he refused to continue to fight me. I wanted to hurt because I hated myself. For most of the guys in the Fight Club it was a way to exercise, learn to box, or do something interesting. After awhile it become apparent that there was something wrong with me. Something deeper then a little bit of teen angst. Something had to give.
I am Jack’s Broken Heart
This time in my life was hard for my father, mother, and brother. No body in my family knew what to do for me or how to help me. I was completely uncontrollable, and often did just enough to get everyone to think I was okay and give me my freedom. I hurt my family a lot during this time. I have so many memories of how ridiculously selfish I was to them. I was so full of anger and I used my God given intelligence as a weapon. My behavior back then and even now is part of the reason my family is having a hard time trusting my walk with Jesus. Lord please forgive me for my inability to represent your loving kindness.
Part of the reason I am so desperate for God to change me, because I never want to be anything like the person I was. It breaks my heart when I allow myself to act anything like my old self. I’m just a sinner saved by the grace of God. The good that is in me today is borrowed and its not mine.
There’s a mountain here before me and I’m going to climb it with strength not my own. ♫ Carry Me Through
My parents and my brother we’re given a grace by God to endure these hard High School and early College years with me. Later when I came to myself and began to understand the pain I had caused. It broke my heart, I spent years weeping and grieving over my many failures, regrets, and sins from this time period in my life. I talk more about that below. For years I determined to change and become someone other then who I was then. The realization of how much pain I had caused my family put me in a place where I didn’t know what to do with all the emotion. I remember sometime after High School falling on my knees before my dad and pathetically begging for forgiveness. I wept so hard that I believe it took him by surprise and he wasn’t sure how to react. I wasn’t sure what else to do… Often I feel like the prodigal son who is unworthy to be called a son. Often I even to this day don’t know how to fix, help, or make things right. I just trust God has a plan bigger then my many mistakes.
I wish I could say that becoming a Christian or getting to know God was only full of only joy and happiness. As we will learn together as my testimony continues much pain is still to come, even after I become a Christian. I wish I could tell you that God just fixes everything or makes the things we’ve done okay, but that not the total picture. If you call out to Jesus, His Holy Spirit will never leave nor forsake you. He is close to the Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and He saves those who are crushed in spirit. He will heal, He does fix, and He has the power to restore the crops the locus has eaten. Our expectations of how Jesus will do that tend to differ from His actual method of doing it.
What I can tell you Jesus worth it. Life in relationship with Him, and guided by the wonderful touch of His Holy Spirit. I can tell you His grace and joy is greater then any of the pain I created or went through. I can tell you from chasing several other paths that nothing else works to fill the hole in my heart that I’ve been discussing this whole time.
For “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
Pain still comes and today I am still dealing with different messes I created. But Jesus, in his loving kindness doesn’t allow me to do it alone. In time I hope I can show the sincerity of my apology to my family.
In High School, I needed God what ever this “God” was, but I needed him to be more then a “made up concept” so I could sleep at night. I needed him to be real, and to handle my real issues. I needed him care about me and love me in ways that isn’t fair to ask my parents or my friends to love me. Before I met Him he sent my first love.
First Love that Soften my Heart
I’ve heard a number of testimonies in which romance played a big part of why the person knows the Lord Jesus Christ. I met a girl I believe about around my Junior year in High School. I’m sure many of you remember your first love, as I do. The feelings of drawing close to someone for the first time. The awkwardness excitement of sharing your feeling for the first time. How many new sensations you go through when you find someone else who loves you.
For me it was at a time where my heart was so cold and so dry. I had ‘hardened it’ as the Bible puts it. The kindness and gentleness of a young girl helped restore part of what was wrong in my heart. For the first time in a long time I cared for someone other then myself. I had tried a few things up until this point be it gaming, self-destruction, or fake intimacy. Nothing better fit the hole that was eating away inside my soul then a young girl who I was romantically in love with. Be careful Christians, this applies after you know Jesus but then refuse to let listen to Him and let be enough. He wants to prepare you and her He has someone in mind so don’t chase after the lack of intimacy with God in your life with relationship after relationship. See my relationship advice blogs for more on that.
Issues of the Tender in Heart
This softening of my heart created a problem though. Eventually the bliss of the honeymoon stage of a relationship wears off. (You have to cultivate love after the honeymoon.) So I had this tender heart that had become used to the romance filling the need of God in my life. What happens when you move out of the honey moon stage? The pain in your heart and soul that longs for God is again exposed because it was never actually satisfied by Jesus. Instead it was satisfied by what we wanted or who we wanted.
My only two options at the time was to harden my heart again, (which I didn’t do) or process the immense amount of pain that I had been ignoring. This time I could feel the pain of it more acutely, because of how tender my heart was. So to make a long story short after about a year or so I end up breaking up with this girl, and my soul pain is back with a vengeance.
When I lost her in my mind I felt I lost the only thing that could ever properly fill this God shaped hole. I was filled with so much regret and sorrow over losing something that (finally) made me fill okay, even good, and at some times complete so quickly after everything in my life fell apart. I thought I had reached bottom before, but now I despaired at losing the one thing I felt I could never get back.
I know many people that when they get to talking to me about their past, many of them have this ‘old flame’ or this one person they just can’t get over. Often I believe, what they can’t get over is the work that God did through the other person in their life. They are in love with or can’t get over the part God did in their life, and incorrectly apply that to the person they used to be with. When I first started dating I was so unlovable, but she loved me. I was broken, dysfunctional, and selfish; but she was able loved me more then I was able to hate myself.
In my reflection on what happened I now begin to see that I was never dating this ‘wonder woman’ or super human girl. Instead I was in love with what God was doing in and through her to me. I assumed that I would never again feel the love, healing, or peace that comes when someone loves me right where I’m at. The love of God for me gave me back what I thought I’d lost forever. Also, unlike the fleeting honeymoon stage of a romance; Jesus is able to love us in new and wonderful ways so long as we are willing to continue to pursue His love.
It’s time to let it go bro
Maybe some of you reading this need to let go of idealistic memories of old relationships you have made into an idol. I know I did, I made nice little idols for every girl I ever dating before coming into relationship with Jesus. The Lord helped me remove all those ideals I used to worship. I wanted these girls, my parents, or my friends to give me what only God can give me. They can’t without His help so the glory in the end goes back to God. I gave people in my life too much credit for what God was doing in and through them. Beloved, it’s time to forgive yourself and let go of them. It’s time to look to Jesus to give you what no person ever will be able to. For He is all of the good in us.
Next time on my testimony I begin to talk about college and how I began to have experiences with God that left me forever changed.
Testimony, Part 4: Experiencing God