What did hard times teach Kurt Wagner about his identity? What have hard times taught you about your genuine identity?
In his hard times, he found his identity in Christ and realized everything he had was a gift from God. In my hard times, I’ve found that God is always there for me and that I try to strive to be more like him when all the pieces of my life have fallen around me. During these hard times, I look at the mistakes that I made by trusting too much in myself and putting others before God in my life. It is during these hard times, that I recommit my life to Christ and he pulls me out of my life’s pits.
Which has taught you more about yourself: times of ease, or times of difficulty? Why?
I’ve definitely learned more about myself in times of difficulties because I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone and had to start all over. I am a person who lives in fear of trying new things because of fear of failure and fear of my haunting past. This past year I learned more about myself than I ever had because I had to move to a new place and start all over. Just when I thought I had my life all marked out, it was totally shaken and redirected. I still am unsure what my future holds, but I know this whole experience has really taught me to listen to God and ask him for wisdom and direction. I know that I can not do my life on my own.
Think of one particularly difficult time in your life. What did you learn about yourself by going through it?
I guess the most obvious difficult time in my life is the ending of my marriage. I’ve never felt more alone than I did that year. The worst part is that a year before we were married God had warned me to make my relationship right or end it, and I chose to ignore him. After I got married, I was very lonely and then the gambling started. I’ll never understand why it happened, but I also know that I could have prevented a lot of pain if I had listening to the many warnings that God put out in front of me. Words can not describe the amount of pain and despair that I went through. I think about the nights that I cried for hours because I felt totally rejected. I can’t imagine what Jesus must have gone through when everyone rejected him. Fear of rejection has held me back from many opportunities. I think because of what I went through I will be more willing to try new things because I have learned that I’m not alone. God will always be with me and he will help me get through the difficult times. To live a life out of fear and to dwell on past regrets is not living life at all.
What does the presence and makeup of your community—friends, family members, and coworkers—reveal about you? Why are other people so important to figuring out who you really are?
I’ve found that because of what I went though I’m a more genuine person and at the same time much more selective on who I let close to me. It has become much more important to me to surround myself with other Christians. Although I know that it is important to reach out to non believers, I do believe that the people who are closest to us should share the same values and beliefs. As a Christian I need to surround ourselves with other believers so that I can get the necessary encouragement and accountability that I need to stay focused in this world and close to God.