Some people who feel a void in their lives seem to gravitate toward more destructive means of filling it, from substance abuse and restlessness to even – as of late – joining up with terrorist organizations. Why do you think some people are able to turn that yearning into something positive (such as an education and a career) while others drift into something more dangerous?
I received a lot of emails from college students around the world who are working on class projects doing studies on Amish people or on those who have left the Amish. The question above was from a student who was using me as an example as someone who had struggled with life and managed to pull through in a positive way rather than gravitating towards destruction.
At first when I read the question, I thought, HUH??? Destructive people, substance abuse, and terrorist all in one sentence! No way. Just no way will I answer that. I don’t even know how. Those were my thoughts at first. I assume there are many reasons a person might join terrorist organizations. Hate. Depression. Stupidity disease. Mental issues. Or simply because they are too lazy to do the right thing. I have never met someone that joined the terrorists, so I wouldn’t know why someone would have the yearning to do that. I can only assume.
Living a destructive unhealthy life is a different story though. I was reminded of how easy it is too fall far into a pit of darkness without realizing how dark it is or was going to get because the devil knows how to entice with instant gratification. That’s human nature, to get what we want and when we want it. It’s the easy way out.
To turn a destructive behavior into something meaningful and positive requires a lot of focusing, planning, money, sleepless nights because of homework (if you’re in college), and not to mention it takes years to get an education and build a career. It sounds discouraging. Of course, you can live a great live without getting an education, each has their own preference. I went through times where I was exhausted in all levels possible.
I can’t do this. Then I’d sleep for 14 hours, wake up and think I am such an idiot. I CAN do this. Sleeping helps though 🙂 . If all else fails take a nap.
Not having the family support is an obstacle, but it also made me want to rise above all odds and make something of myself. For that reason, it’s important to associate with good positive people that will encourage you. Those who gravitate towards a destructive lifestyle do so because they simply don’t have the capacity in their brain to think there is a better life to be had. I know this because I dated a guy once who suffered from depression. I had fallen on my face several times since I left the Amish, but nothing serious until this moment. It was a very bad, BAD idea because I got sucked down with him and experienced a very miserable life that I wouldn’t want to experience again. I didn’t notice right away which path my life had taken until I was at the lowest point and didn’t even want to communicate with my friends. I ignored those who cared the most. Part of me didn’t care anymore because I thought I’ve tried to be better and it didn’t work. So this is it. I was depressed.
One day I woke up and decided I am very pathetic and my life needs to change NOW. And it did. Once I had made that decision, my book got published soon after, and I made the choice to move away from the small college town to a big city. Started over. Of course the life change didn’t happen instantly. I had to work at it, plan it, pray about it relentlessly, and act upon it. I have never again allowed myself to get that far off the messy stubbly path where I settle for what’s right now instead of working to achieve what’s really meant for me. I now have a great career, almost done with my master’s degree, and have remarkable Christian friends in my life whom I love dearly.
Having that co-worker, who is also my best friend, makes living without my sisters by my side so much easier. Having a publisher, who also ended up being a mother-like role model, makes those moments when you need a mother to talk to so much easier. Most of all, dating a great Christian man makes me feel more fulfilled than I thought was possible. I praise God for him every day. Literally. I write down all my praises in a journal to remind myself what I have now and not let myself get back to where I was.
I never was a substance abuser and I never thought of joining a terrorist group so I really don’t know what makes people gravitate in that direction. However, I know that it is so easy to gravitate towards an unhealthy lifestyle. People fall off the hay wagon into manure and then get back up. It is normal. Asking the higher power for help to get back up makes a significant difference. Trust me. I hope and pray others, Ex-Amish or not, will get back up even when it’s a grimm life because it is so worth it. Don’t stay in a pile of manure :-).