6 Things I Realized In My First Connection With God

6 Things I Realized In My First Connection With God

From the girl who isn't religious.
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I've never connected to religion or felt any sort of welcomeness from it and have struggled with the idea of it for the past few years, however recently I attended a church right outside of campus because a friend asked me to go with her. I didn't expect to gain anything from this experience and had no intentions of liking what they had to say or being there, quite frankly.

Much to my surprise, I fell in love with this church and felt like the energy and words were directed straight at me. I felt welcome here.

I had my first connection to God during that Sunday service and it was unlike anything I'd ever felt before, it made me realize a few things about God, religion and faith that I had been blinded to and everyone needs to know.

1. It's not about church

It's not about showing up every Sunday, it's about the connection you have to it all. This church I attended was a brand new church, only on their third service, and gathering for Sunday service in "The Warehouse" and yes, it actually looks like a real warehouse on the inside. Crosses and crucifixes weren't shoved down my throat as I walked in the door, just warm smiles and positive, growing energy.

This can apply to any church not just ones that have their sermons in a warehouse, the main idea isn't the material qualities about a church but the connective qualities. It's about the relationship and connection you have with God and faith yourself, how much of yourself you give to this, and how willing you are to make the connection.

2. It doesn't have to be hard

I always associated religion and God with difficult and unreachable. I never tried to understand, to have a relationship, or to make a connection because I thought it was just "too hard". I never let myself connect to it because I was convinced it wasn't for me and there was no way for me to relate to any of the incomprehensible words in the Bible or in the sermons.

I was oh-so-wrong.

I have found so many ways to make the connection by just putting in a little effort. Whether it be meeting and talking to relatable people or following Instagram accounts, like Soul Scripts, that post about college girls relating and connecting with their faith. It isn't hard, you just have to want it.

3. It's not a part of your life

I feel like a lot of people, myself included, have this idea ingrained in their brains that faith is reserved only for Sundays. They don't feel a connection (or want to) any other day of the week. God and faith are so much bigger than your Sunday morning, going to this church made me feel this shift in my mind on a big level. I realized this wasn't going to grow me, help me, or do anything if I didn't bring it into every aspect of my life. This doesn't mean signing your life away, but instead it means not having to go through the hardships of life alone and becoming strong within your weaknesses with God.

4. Brokenness is welcome

Within every other church I had ever gone to it almost seemed sinful to be broken in faith or it was ignored altogether. I always felt like the outcast when I didn't know the words to the songs or hymns, had no idea what the quote from the scripture was saying, or know anything about this God person; but this church showed me that it's okay to be broken.

The pastor got up on stage and genuinely said "We want broken people here, we want to help you" and that one sentence spoke to me in so many ways. Suddenly, it was okay that I had no clue where to start or even how to start. It just mattered that I did.

5. It's a growth process

To understand this realization I had at that Sunday service I have to give you a little background: I grew up in a very small, very religious town, within the county that was once known to have the most churches in it in America. It always seemed like everyone was so in love with this idea I couldn't seem to get my head around. I always thought everyone was spoon-fed quotes from the book of John when they were young and that's how these kids I grew up with were forced to be Christians.

But, sitting in that chair at that Sunday service I realized maybe all these kids I was surrounded by fell in love with the growing you can do through God. I think these kids all realized that through God you can grow into the person you want to be and I think that's how they learned to love their lives before me. But, I am on my way now.

6. It's worth it

I am not hiding behind my fears and ignorance anymore because I know pouring myself into God and faith will be worth it and I know it will change my life as it has for so many other people.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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10 Ways To Make Your Ramadan Productive

Fasting shouldn't affect your productivity as much as you think.
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Ramadan is upon us, once again. No matter how much time has passed since the first day, it's never too late to try and make the best of this month. Here are some ways to help you with your attempts.

1. Set goals for yourself

Take the time to evaluate what you want to accomplish this Ramadan. Aim to make this Ramadan an improvement of the on the one last year. Your goals may just end up making lasting changes to your entire year. It’s important to remember, however, not to set goals that are too daunting or too grand. It’s very likely that big goals will discourage you. Set yourself smaller, achievable tasks, or divide one difficult task into several parts.

2. Set a schedule depending on what time you work best

Chances are, you’re either a morning person or night person. Decide what time you work best, and take advantage of it. Plan your sleep schedule accordingly.

3. Don’t overeat

As tempting as it is, especially in the first few days, trying to refrain from eating anything more than you would normally eat. Eventually, your body will get used to the change and your appetite will get smaller.

4. Take naps

Naps are your best friend. They will energize you enough to get you through the rest of your day. Sleep is just as important as food or water.

5. Don’t work yourself too hard

Fasting does require a reassessment of your daily routine. It takes a toll on your body, so make sure you consider that when planning out your day.

6. Eat a proper suhoor

It’s hard to wake up at the crack of dawn. It’s even harder to eat right when you wake up. Just remember: breakfast is the most important meal of the day, whether it be at 9 am or before sunrise. It’s what will sustain you in all your daily endeavors, so eat a good meal, not just a week old granola bar you found in the pantry.

7. Don’t compare yourself to others

Just because Adam is working two jobs, taking summer classes, and praying all twenty rakats of taraweeh, it doesn’t mean that he’s any better than you. Everyone accomplishes things at their own pace and it is important that you are proud of yourself for your achievements, no matter what the people around you are doing.

8. Volunteer

Ramadan is one of the best times of the year to volunteer. There are so many opportunities to better yourself in this month, whether it be through simple iftars at your local mosque or large events to aid the refugees. Make the best use of your time this Ramadan by helping as many people as you can.

9. Don’t count your calories

On the flip side of overeating, counting your calories isn't the best idea. If you want to stay healthy or lose weight, opt for exercise. You need as much nourishment as you can get, so depriving your body of the food it needs is actually detrimental in the long run.

10. Stay hydrated

Drink as much water as you can, wherever you can. Just because you can’t drink it during the day, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink it at all.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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