It is so easy to lose yourself in college, all while trying to truly find yourself. So many new opportunities and doors are opened. You have to make choices for yourself, often for the first time.
It is easy to feel lonely and forgotten, even when you are surrounded with so many friends. It is easy to stay in bed instead of getting up for church on Sunday mornings. It is easy to drink endlessly, without regard for the consequences. It is easy to skip classes or miss an assignment "here and there". All of these things are SIMPLE, or even expected. No one tells you that each of these situations dig a deeper hole that sometimes feels impossible to escape.
I know, because I have been there for each of these situations. These mistaken identities are all part of my story, and the greatest reason that I struggled throughout freshman year.
I was visibly happy, but had deep, internal struggles that no one was able to see.
Coming into freshman year, I was eager to make new friends! I quickly realized that although I was meeting countless new people, it was actually very difficult to develop a meaningful relationship. Most of these "friendships" were all surface level, and I found myself feeling like no one really knew who I was. This was until I remembered that I am never truly alone, and the work it takes to build relationships is worth it. Quality over quantity.
"Where two or more are gathered, I am with them." | Matthew 18:20
I did not like going to class, especially the 8:00 am's that I had DAILY. Skipping class resulted in confusion within my identity. I had always been constantly busy, but the lack of attendance created a lazy, depressive attitude. I did not realize how isolated I became until I began going to class and getting involved on campus again.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." | Ephesians 2:10
My consistent partying on weekends led to not going to church on the following Sunday mornings. It was not even because I felt bad, I just made the conscious decision that I did not want to go. Going to church every Sunday for 18 years resulted in the need to "rebel" when I was finally able to make my own choice about going.
However, not attending church kept me from creating friendships with people who would truly get to know me. It kept me from worshipping, made me feel like a "fake Christian", suppressed my faith, and drove a wedge between my relationship with Christ. There was a spiritual battle going on within my heart, and honestly, one with which I still struggle. Now, I recognize that I know the truth, but that my relationship with Christ has the be nurtured, just as any other relationship.
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." | Hebrews 11:6
Each of these are examples of how I have individually struggled with remembering who I am in Christ. I am here to remind you that you are not your circumstances or your own perceptions. God tells us that we are loved, chosen, holy, and beloved. We are special, set apart, and accepted. We are UNIQUE.
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." | Colossians 3:12-17