THSB’s interview with Jon Peters continues:
3. What motivated you to write When Life Grabs You by the Baseballs?
In late 2014, I felt a tug at my heart to do more with the experiences, talents, and abilities God had given me. I felt like I was doing nothing with my life other than staying status quo. That was not sitting well with me. I did not feel productive and did not feel like I was being of maximum service to God and others.
As I continued to ask God what He wanted me to do and where He wanted me to go, I reached out to other Christian men and shared what was on my heart. I knew what God was calling me to do—to share my story with others, but I was scared to death. I was fearful of what others would say, fearful of failing, fearful of not being qualified.
For months, I just sat on the fence taking no action. The only thing I did consistently was pray. And as the days passed by, the tug at my heart became stronger and stronger. Finally I said, “Ok, God. I am willing to do whatever you want me to do. Here we go!” It seemed like doors began to open without me knocking on them. Speaking opportunities started to come and as I started to share my story in a real, genuine, authentic, and vulnerable way, I started connecting with people’s hearts. People began to reach out and say, “I’m so glad you shared your story. I have felt the same way.” One student at a university I spoke at came up and said, “I wanted to die when I woke up this morning but now, I don’t want to die.”
I saw how God was working and in sharing my story, I was experiencing a ton of freedom, peace, and happiness. So in October 2015, I started writing the book. And as I wrote, it seemed like the words just continued to flow and flow. People would appear in my life at just the right time to help me when I was stuck and to help me maneuver my way through the self-publishing world. It was like God was putting the pieces of the puzzle together as long as I continued to move forward.
The whole time I have been writing and speaking, I remind myself each morning by a saying I have printed out on my desk—“It’s NOT about you, it’s about God!” My main goals in writing the book are #1 – to glorify God and #2 – to help others. I believe everyone has an important story and mine is not more important than yours. I believe there is someone that needs to hear my story, needs to hear your story, and if we keep it inside we are cheating them. And if I can help one person feel better about themselves, want to live one more day, or know they are not alone, it is 100% worth it. I have found when I am obedient and trust God, I receive God’s blessings in an abundant way. However, if I am self-centered like I can be a lot, I miss out on the beauty that is in front of me.
4. In your book, you talk about the struggle for happiness. Why do so many people struggle with this “happiness” thing?
I believe happiness comes from within. For me, I spent the majority of my life seeking happiness in the approval of others, in my win-loss record, in my performance, in who were my friends, in who was my girlfriend, in how much I weighed and how I looked, etc. I was always seeking happiness from external sources. At times it worked. But it never lasted. It was always temporary and never permanent.
Instead of turning my eyes outward to focus on other people, I was always focused on what I wanted and what I felt like I needed. I would see people smiling and laughing all the time and I would think, “There must be something wrong with me because I very seldom feel that way.” I could fake it with the best of them but at the end of the day, I felt lonely and miserable.
And all this time, no one ever knew it. They did not know it because I never shared with anyone. I kept everything bottled up inside because I was afraid of what people would say about me. I was supposed to be this All-American guy who didn’t do anything wrong and was very polite. But that was not true. I hid behind a façade, trying not to reveal what really was going on inside of me. I thought if you knew, you wouldn’t like me.
I believe we are only as sick as our deepest, darkest secrets. I had many secrets. However, when I accepted who I really was, the good and the bad, and started being vulnerable with people, the pain in my heart began to disappear. And when I grabbed onto God, it was like I had experienced a relief I had never felt before. Happiness appeared and it has not gone away. Just like I did, society is concerned with the approval of others. It wasn’t until I realized that God’s approval was the only approval I should be seeking and the only approval that matters. Being God-centered provides me happiness. Being Jon-centered provides me fear, loneliness, and despair. For me, it’s all about God and taking action to serve Him and others. If I want to be miserable, all I have to do is sit around and think about myself all day long—that is a guarantee.
5. What would you tell someone who has lost hope? How can they find it?
It’s perfectly okay. Feel what you are feeling. I was there, and I know for sure, it does not feel good. You are NOT alone. I promise. I had lost all hope, wanted to die and end it all. I did not feel good enough. I did not feel like I fit in. I did not feel like I was worthy. I felt like I was fat, ugly, and not smart enough.
And to fill the “hole in my soul,” I sought out anything that would change the way I felt. At first it was baseball, then it was exercise, then it was relationships, then it was food, and then it was drugs and alcohol. They worked for an amount of time but eventually, they faded away and stopped working. I had tried it all and was at the end of my rope.
It wasn’t until I grabbed onto God’s hand with all that I had that I felt freedom, peace, joy, and happiness. All the shame and guilt I had, it was taken away. Taken away in a blink of an eye. And I started to be okay with who I was. I started reaching out for help and I found people everywhere willing to help. And my heart that was hard and calloused became soft and full of love and compassion for others.
God changed my life! He saved my life! For me, He is the only permanent solution! He gives me all the hope I have, need, and want! He wants the same for you. I guarantee you that if you grab onto His hand, He will never let go. Never! And for Him to do that to a person (ME) who always thought he was not good enough and not worthy of God’s blessings, that’s a miracle.
Please do not stop before the miracle happens! It might be just right around the corner.