Going To College Brought Me Back To Christianity

Going To College Brought Me Back To Christianity

I was slowly losing who I was, and as ironic as it may sound, going to college is what brought me back to my faith.
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Religion - it's a huge part of many peoples lives. Being raised as a Greek Orthodox Christian, the memories of being an altar boy on Sunday's are some of my favorite memories growing up. I remember the sense of pride that I felt being at the altar, and how I felt so close to God. As the years went on, and I stopped going to church, I began to drift away, it wasn't that I didn't believe, it was just that I didn't feel a connection to my religion anymore.

As the years went on, my mental state became worse and worse, I wasn't dealing with issues in my life in a healthy way, and I was slowly losing who I was. And as ironic as it may sound, going to college is what brought me back to my faith.

Now the last place you would think someone would find religion would be in college. College is the place where cases of Busch Light and Tinder reigns supreme. And when I got there, I had my fun. However, I noticed that I was using other things to cope with the stress and anxiety that most people experience their first year. In a previous article, I mentioned how all this stress exploded at the end of my first semester, and how I basically fell apart and unloaded everything out to my mom. But what I didn't mention is what happened when I hung up the phone. I sat in my room, in tears, feeling absolutely lost. I looked up at my wall and saw my icons hanging on my wall, and the only thing I could say was "help me".

This article is not a religious rant about how Christianity is the only way to deal with your problems, I'm just saying that it was a way to help me. I talked with my grandmother a lot over that Winter Break about religion and how I was feeling. We went to the Christmas service at her church, and it was the first time in months that I genuinely felt at peace.

The hymns were sung by the choir and the gospel readings from the priest brought me back to my childhood, and I remember taking a deep breath, and not feeling like there was a 500-pound boulder on my chest.

The world is made up of 7.6 billion people. There are many different religions and there is a wide range of diverse people who practice those religions. And there are also many people who don't have any religious beliefs, and that's OK. To me, Christianity is about acceptance and love for your fellow man.

As I've read bible passages, the stories about Jesus Christ gave me a sense of peace inside. There is one story in particular that inspires me every day. Luke 18:9-14 tells the story of a tax collector and a Pharisee. The ending of the story reads "For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted".

Don't be afraid to confront your problems, and never be afraid to look for ways to cope with your feelings.

Cover Image Credit: Dan Kiefer

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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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Why Is Religion A Default Setting?

Religion isn't casual, it should be an active choice.

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Almost nobody chooses their religion anymore. It's as if being Christian in America is as natural as having eyes. You're born with them and it never changes.

Blind faith, believing because you were raised to believe, is passive. Just being a Christian because your parents are, because they took you to church on all the big holidays, that is not a strong faith. Choosing to believe despite other things, that is strong. Questioning your religion can strengthen what you believe.

I'm not saying you should drop your religion. I think everyone has a right to be religious and they are valid in their beliefs, but it should be an active choice you're constantly making, not a default setting because of our culture.

We have to be taught culture and religion. You're not born knowing you should brush your teeth twice a day or that there is an omnipotent God watching over you. So why do we act like it's natural? To accept God, or Jesus, or Mohammed, or Vishnu, or the Buddha as what they are to you is to make a decision. Therefore, we should act like it is one. Instead of raising our children to be exactly what we are, let's give them options. I don't plan to have kids, but if I did, I would want them to explore religion, and decide if they want to believe in something. It would not hurt me if they did not want to be an atheist, that is their choice.

Being an atheist is a choice I have to continuously make. People around me frequently question my lack of religion. I choose every day, when I'm confronted with billboards and churches and everything telling me there is a God, to not believe in him.

What's the point of forcing someone to be your religion? Not giving children the option to be anything but your faith does nothing. I have many friends who grew up going to church even when they didn't agree with the messages they heard. This did nothing for them but make them resent Christianity.

Religion used to be such a large part of everyone's life. You couldn't "casually" be religious. It was a part of your everyday life, and you were often persecuted if you believed the wrong thing. Now religion is such a side note for many people. Believing in God seems like a big deal to me, one that should warrant more thought and choice.

So question your faith. Think about it. Ask yourself why you believe. I may be an atheist, but I think it's perfectly fine to be religious. Some people don't want to debate religion with me, which I understand, but I think my questions can make your faith stronger. I also think it's a good idea to talk to people with different ideas than you on a regular basis. I'm fairly democratic but I follow Trump on Twitter and I try to at least skim some republican news sources. Don't live your life in an echo chamber where all you hear are the same opinions as your own.

If you're afraid to test your faith, you should reconsider what you believe.

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