When I was 21, I thought I was Jesus…
(click here for video with lyrics)
My name is Matt Pridgen, and I am one soul reawakened for Jesus Christ. Although I am desperate to see a Great Re-Awakening in this country (“Re-“ because America has already been there once before), I know that it will happen one soul at a time. I have eyes for the one because God loves each and every one of his children so much…there is always time to stop for the one!
My story is one of redemption. When I was 21 years old, I tried to kill myself in the ocean. I was high on LSD and fully convinced that I was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I literally thought that when I died in the water, the world would end and the Kingdom of God would be ushered in forever. My plan was to swim out from Folly Beach County Park as far as I possibly could, so that even if I changed my mind and decided to turn back at the last minute, it would be too late.
When I finally sobered up, I could see nothing but blue all around. I realized all of sudden that I was not Jesus, but just some naked guy out for a swim. I knew that I desperately needed to get back to land, so I swam and I swam and I swam—then the sun set. I finally realized how long I had been in the water, and my strength failed me.
At that point, I did the only left to do and prayed to God for the first time in years. I told him that if he delivered me to land, I would never drink alcohol or take drugs again as long as I lived. Eighteen hours after leaving Folly Beach, I swam ashore in front of the Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island. From Folly to the Sanctuary.
Seven years later, I remain completely sober from drugs and alcohol. I have emerged from the depths of complete insanity and regained a life of meaning and purpose. My story is an invitation to see what I saw in the water and to thereby gain a new perspective on life itself. My desire is to play the tape through on the choices that nearly destroyed my life, in order to tangibly illustrate where the road I once traveled ends. May it serve then as a warning, a cautionary tale from someone who has peered across the thin veneer of death—and lived to tell about it.
Matthew Lock Pridgen is a graduate of Duke University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Economics. Through his work in the community economic development industry, he discovered a passion for social justice and continues to engage in grassroots community outreach to this day. Matthew lives with his wife, Nicole, and son, Whitfield, in Charleston, SC.
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