I made a profession of faith when I was 7. I was sincere. I remember the prayer, alone, kneeling on my bed.
I was baptized when I was 9.
I rededicated my life when I was 15.
I turned over a new leaf when I was 24.
Temporary change. Lots of teaching in Sunday school and VBS.
Sin slipped back in and there was no real change.
When I was 36, I was actively destroying my own family. I didn't think I was living for myself, but I was. I knew I was sinning, but I didn't care, and TBH, I couldn't imagine that God cared either. Prayer was nonexistent, and I was really tired of the ritual of going to church.
There was one night in January of 2000, when I prayed one last time, "God, if You don't want me to do this, then You'll have to change things, because I'm committed." That was right at 10:00 pm. I went to sleep, and woke up in the morning about 6:00 am.
I checked my email first thing. My circumstances had completely changed over night, and my commitment to sin was null and void.
Repent means to turn away from sin and to God. Understand this: I did not repent. God repented me. He demonstrated that He cared about me and about what I was doing. He changed everything, and He changed me.
God changed my marriage, my relationship with my children, my temperament, everything.
Sometimes a fleeting doubt will flutter through my mind about salvation, and whether or not I am really saved, or is this simply another cycle of sin, rinse, repeat. But now, every time that thought comes, I remember that moment, and I remember the change that came over me. I am a new creature. I am not the same.
I'm not recommending that you pray the snotty, self-absorbed prayer that I did, but it's okay to be honest with God. He's big enough and strong enough and mature enough to handle whatever you throw at Him.