Taking My Faith To College
Taking My Faith to College:
Growing up as a female in a Christian household, I’ve been taught many morals and principles to live by. Only for about the last 6 years have I really taken my faith seriously. I went to private Christian schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. I also attended church and Sunday school every weekend. So it wasn’t that hard to learn about my faith and what it entailed when it always surrounded me. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I experienced some real challenges that forced me to depend on God. It felt like all of my resources were ripped from under me and all I had left to rely on was God’s word. Now, I have taken my faith with me all the way to college. It wasn’t an easy road. Most people get caught up in back sliding when they’re surrounded my temptation, but I’m so grounded in my faith that nothing changed my relationship with God. My discipline, dedication, and willingness to submit to His will allowed me to take my faith to college. This all started with my number one challenge: the Bible.
In the beginning, my relationship with God was sometimey. I was not that disciplined in meditating on God’s word on a daily basis. That was the hardest challenge for me: reading my bible everyday. I don’t know why, but that was my downfall. Because of the lack of God’s word on a daily basis, my relationship with God seemed distant at times. I think of it like a friend that moves out of state. When they come home to visit you, you catch up on everything like they haven’t been gone one day. However, when they go back home you feel the distance grow as you don’t talk for weeks. That’s what my relationship with God felt like. One of the reasons why I had a hard time reading the Bible everyday was because God wasn’t my priority. I worried about waking up early and going to school, then coming home and doing homework, then rushing to dance class, then at night I prayed and fell asleep. Where in my schedule did I even have time to open my Bible? To be honest, at that age I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal because I went to church, went to Sunday school, and went to a Christian high school. I thought I could slide because I had scriptures thrown at me all day, every day. I realize now that it shouldn’t be the mindset for anyone who is serious about their walk with God. It took me years to learn this lesson: that I need to make time for God’s word if not for anything else. God provided the jobs, he provided the people in my life, he provided the education, but I can’t take 5 minutes out of my day to talk to him? That was so backwards.
Challenges were thrown at me from left and right. It was like a cycle of things kept happening one after another, and it wouldn’t stop. From deaths in the family, to an unconscious change in my attitude, to sheisty (fake) friends, to slipping grades, to taking a break in my one true passion which was dance; a lot of things changed me. I would literally wake up in the morning dreading to go to school because I knew what kind of day I was going to have. I saw my true friends and I would lighten up a bit. But that fix was temporary. No one could relate to what I was going through, for it became harder and harder to continue wearing this fake smile for 7 hours a day. And then when I went home I was burnt out from all the stress I’d just endured. I was already stressed out, but then I began to overthink a lot of things at night. It made me worry about what the next day would bring. That’s when I realized that I only had one person to truly rely on. God was telling me this whole time that he was here all along, and for that I felt so stupid. Why in the world was I so caught up in this negativity when God was tugging at my heart to turn to him? He brought me down to my lowest of lows to teach me a lesson that I would never forget.
I took the first step by downloading a devotional app that gave me a special verse for each day. I would read it every morning on the bus on my way to school. Then I decided to download another devotional app that not only had a scripture for the day, but also had a story behind the verse which tied in an application to my personal needs. I naturally began craving more of God’s word and started to read a chapter of the Bible every night. When I read the Bible, it fed me knowledge and understanding of what was required of me as a Christian. These words fed my soul, and with that I had nothing to fear or worry about throughout the day. If I truly kept God at the center of my life, no negativity could phase me. My favorite verse Matthew 5:16 which says, “Let your light so shine before men that others may see your good work and glorify your father which is in heaven” was my mission from then on.
Don’t be fooled though, just because I went to a Christian school doesn’t mean everybody in there was a Christian (or acted like one). There were some Catholics that attended my school, and even some atheists and agnostics. There were some who claimed one faith, but didn’t even know the first thing about their faith. That’s why some people were so hard to deal with. I personally felt that some teachers taught false information, requiring us to do and believe things that weren’t even stated in the Bible. This is why reading your bible thoroughly is so important. Anybody can make up something in the Bible. If you’re gullible enough to believe it, it can lead you astray.
It wasn’t on any special day, but I just decided one day that I was going to discipline myself. I made sure that I placed God at the center of my life. The rearrangement of my priorities helped many things fall into place: my relationships, my work, and reading my Bible every morning and night. This helped me to ease through my last few years of high school.
By looking at all the accomplishments and blessings I’ve accumulated so far, I can tell that God kept his promise by always being in my corner. My first two years of college were probably the ultimate test of my faith. Being sheltered in a private high school can cause a culture shock when you finally go out into the real world. You meet different types of people, learn about different faiths, and experience different realities. However, I felt better equipped when I was tested during the first half of my college years. I had the word of God already instilled in me. I had no worries or shame about who I am, and who I live for. Everyone knew my faith. I loved sharing my beliefs, and it makes me feel great when people ask me questions wanting to know more about God. This only assured me that I was on the right track to living a better life.
Trust me, this walk didn’t get any easier, I just became wiser. Taking your faith to college isn’t easy. Everyone has a different flaw that’s hindering them from having a close relationship with God. Realizing what is hindering you from fully submitting to God is the key to improving your walk with Him. Prayer, dedication, and obedience follows thereafter.
I am a completely different person from what I was 5 years ago. I am so glad I went through these processes so that I can take my faith to college with me.
Photo credits: uuchristian.org