by Blake Bramblett
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews) – As his family life collapsed around him, Tyler O’Rear, a Truett-McConnell sophomore and wrestler, was pushed to seek the Lord and ultimately surrender his life to Christ.
Loving our neighbors
At a young age, O’Rear described how a neighbor reached out to his alcoholic parents and how their influence changed his life forever.
“My parents were on the verge of a divorce, but a neighbor reached out to them and invited them to church,” O’Rear explained. “So my parents went to church when I was five and rededicated their lives to Christ.” This influence planted Gospel seeds at a young age, even though O’Rear didn’t place his trust in the Lord at the time.
A life of addiction and rebellion
As O’Rear advanced in his middle school years, the temptation of drugs and alcohol entered his life and the desire for church was non-existent.
“It became really evident that I had this giant spiritual hole,” he shared. “I had the questions of ‘what is life?’ and ‘why am I here?’ I researched other religions and other philosophies to try and figure stuff out.”
His parents forced him to go to a secular drug treatment but trying to cure his addiction apart from the Lord proved to be fruitless.
In high school, O’Rear discovered his love for wrestling. “Wrestling was really the only positive thing in my life,” he explained. “I was spending four hours a day training.”
After performing a personal-best in one of his tournaments, his pride grew as he boasted in his talent. “I felt I had done this all by myself. Any thought of God wasn’t there; this was all me.”
At his next match, O’Rear broke his arm and because it was a compound break, he thought he would never wrestle again. It was the first step of many to bring him into humble submission.
At this point, O’Rear had isolated himself from all his friends because of betrayal, hurt, and brokenness. His only friend was his older brother Ryan, who was also enslaved to drug addiction.
“He was my best friend at the time and [also] had a drug problem,” O’Rear shared. Years of doing drugs altered his mind, and during O’Rear’s junior year, his brother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
Even after his brother attempted to take his own life twice, O’Rear didn’t see the seriousness of his brother’s situation. “To me I just wanted to get high and have a good time with my brother, but [he] really spiraled off into the deep-end once I got him to relapse.”
Finding healing after pain
One day after a wrestling tournament, O’Rear pulled onto his street and saw a dozen cop cars outside his house. “I get out and my parents and sister came running up to me crying. I found out that my brother had actually committed suicide. He shot himself in the chest. At that moment, that was my breaking point. I didn’t know what to do with my life anymore.”
Out of tragedy, O’Rear finally saw how dangerous his path was. “I was in my room [and] I got on my knees and I prayed. In the back of my head I knew Jesus was real, but at that point I still had so much doubt. I prayed ‘whatever truth is, just reveal yourself to me. I just want to know what truth is.'”
“The next morning, my parents came up to me and told me they wanted me to go to rehab. At that point, it was an answered prayer and I was happy my parents wanted me to go to rehab.” O’Rear was admitted into Three Dimensional Life, a Christian treatment center for young men who struggle with addictions.
In counseling, O’Rear discovered the power of Christ and that through Him, all guilt and shame is washed away.
“I had an awesome counselor that took me through my whole past history,” O’Rear shared. “I found out God was with me the whole time. It was me running away from Him,” he said. “God was still there and still being sovereign over it.”
As time passed, his relationships with family have been restored. “I have such a love for my mom and my sister and my dad [who] is one of the main mentors in my life.”
A Call to Missions
After becoming a Christian, O’Rear Realized his passion for missions, counseling and mental health and began to search for colleges which fit his calling. He stumbled across Truett-McConnell’s Psychology and Missions degree and thought; “this is perfect for me; this was designed for me.”
“I came to Truett primarily for the psychology and missions degree,” he said “but then when I found out Truett had a wrestling team, that was the cherry on top.”
Since attending Truett-McConnell, he’s loved having biblically centered classes and being a part of a Christ-centered campus.
This past summer, O’Rear traveled to India with Truett-McConnell.I really discovered how amazing God is and how the Christian life is adventurous and fulfilling,” he said. “It’s always a wonder, what God is going to do next.”
Despite a difficult past, O’Rear is confident he is where he’s supposed to be and shared how confirmation came through the redemption of one of his passions: wrestling. “God broke my arm and took that idol away from me so that I could learn that He was enough. Once I was healed, it was such a blessing that God brought that back to me.”
In addition to wrestling, north Georgia is also the perfect place for bouldering and climbing, which O’Rear does frequently. O’Rear, along with many other Truett students, make trips to Mt.Yonah, a popular climbing spot.
Inspired by his own life experiences, he sums up his calling in one simple statement; “I just have a heart to see transformation happen in the lives of others through the work of Christ.”
Blake is a senior Psychology and Missions Major and freelance writer for TMC.Return to News Archive