how to have a deeper relationship with jesus

10 Ways To Deepen Your Relationship With Jesus, Starting Today

These simple steps can help improve your faith life!

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As a college student, it can be tough to make time for all the important aspects of your life. Balancing school, family, a social life, work, and extracurriculars can be so demanding that finding time to get further involved in your faith can seem like an overwhelming burden. Having a solid faith foundation can be life-changing, however, and can help eliminate stress and give your life meaning.

Here are 10 simple ways to deepen your faith in your everyday life!

1. Find a church buddy

Going to church can easily become something we say we're going to do but when it actually comes down to it, staying home or sleeping in is an easier option. Whether it be a family member or friend, having someone to go to church with you and hold you accountable can be really motivating and more fun!

2. Read Scripture

Read Scripture is my favorite faith-related app. It's run by a non-profit called "The Bible Project" that makes videos about themes and chapters of the Bible in a way that's simple and easy to understand. They also have a variety of Bible reading plans and study guides for different chapters.

3. Read a Bible verse in the morning

Starting out your day with prayer can be really refreshing and help to get your morning started on the right foot. Websites like verseoftheday.com and others have a daily Bible verse you can read with a short reflection. Reading something that resonates with you early in the day makes you feel motivated and accomplished, and helps you grow closer to God.

4. Read a chapter of one of the Gospels every day

Sometimes knowing exactly who God is can be confusing, but luckily he revealed himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. All of the accounts of Jesus on Earth are in the four Gospels in the New Testament, so starting off by reading these can give you a good glimpse into who God is, and it is a solid place to start if you're intimidated by the Bible.

5. Incorporates your interests into your faith life

Faith can seem distant and uninteresting to some, but a key to developing a sold faith life is to use your interests and passions to deepen your motivation to learn more about God. Whether that means finding new Christian music on Spotify, reading interesting books about God or people involved in their faith, or something else, finding faith-related activities or interests that you enjoy can give your faith a new meaning in your life.

6. Let go of past guilt

In order to fully embrace developing a relationship with God, it's imperative to let go of the idea of guilt. For me personally, I never got involved with my faith for a while because every time I would mess up, forget to go to church or pray, or do something I knew I shouldn't, I would become discouraged and not feel worthy to have a relationship with Jesus. It was so encouraging to find out that it's quite the opposite! Jesus literally said, "I have come not to call the righteous but sinners" (Mark 2:17). Sinning does not define you, and slipping up sometimes is part of human nature and should never discourage you from diving deeper into your faith.

7. Talk to God every day in a way that feels right to you

Praying as often as you can is a great way to deepen your relationship with Jesus. A big misconception, however, is that this has to be through speaking or praying internally to God. I express myself more clearly through writing, for example, so when I pray I write to God on my laptop or phone. Listening to music, meditating, reading, drawing, or speaking to God are all great ways to pray.

8. Listen to God

Equally as important as praying to God is listening to God. Another misconception is that this means listening for God to speak literal words to you or send you an obvious sign, because that's not what happens 99% of the time. Listening to God is usually just noticing how God is present in your everyday life, whether that be through friends, in nature, in a meaningful movie you just watched, or anything else. The more you begin to look for God in the everyday, the more you'll feel his presence in your life.

9. Find a church you connect to

Attending a church service on Sunday helps fuel you up for the rest of the week, and gives you practical ways to incorporate faith in your everyday life. To deepen your faith, its important to find a church that resonates with you, no matter what denomination that may be. Church can vary so much depending on the type of service or Christian denomination, so trying out different churches is a good way to find out what's right for your faith.

10. Find role models for your faith life

Finding Christians who inspire you and who practice what they preach is a good way to make you feel inspired, and gives you something to look up to. This can be anything from a friend, a celebrity, or anyone else whose faith life inspires you. My grandma, Bethany Hamilton, Jess and Gabriel Conte, and my youth minister are just some people whose faith motivates me in my life.

Cover Image Credit:

Flickr Creative Commons

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What Easter Is Like As A Wiccan

For the majority of people, Easter is the celebration of Christ rising from the dead. But for witches, it's about something very different.
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One thing that can be quite irksome about being a part of the American school/college system is the fact that, for the most part, we are only given time off for holidays recognized by one religion, that being Christianity. I'm not saying these holidays are bad or that Christianity is overrated; far from it. But when you think about the holidays celebrated by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or, in this case, Pagans, it makes you wonder how everyone else chooses to celebrate their own holidays in the midst of the all-mighty Hallmark-centric holidays.

Before I converted to Wicca, I never quite understood why the majority of Americans chose to celebrate the gory death and alleged resurrection of someone during the spring, much like how we choose to celebrate Christmas in December even though many historians believe Jesus Christ was born around June. Although anyone can celebrate their own holidays for their own reasons, I think its also important to understand where these holidays may have really come from and how other religious holidays can be represented during this Easter weekend.

Instead of celebrating Easter, myself and millions of other people who identify as Pagans celebrate the holiday Ostara. This holiday is mostly celebrated around March 21, but fell on March 20 this year. During this time, Pagans celebrate the Spring Equinox, when winter ends and the bright colors of spring are allowed to come forward for the year -- when "Night and day stand equal, The Sun grows in power and the land begins to bloom and the powers of the gathering year are equal to the darkness of winter and death."

Ostara is one of the eight Pagan Sabbats marked by the Wheel of the Year. Each Sabbat marks a new season, equinox or solstice, which are used to signify the cycle of life, love, death and rebirth between the Mother Goddess (Gaia) and the Father God (also known as the Horned God). With Ostara in particular, it represents a new age of fertility, as the cycle of life and death of the Horned God starts up again.

There are many ways witches and warlocks from the multiple branches of Paganism choose to celebrate Ostara, but the majority of them choose to celebrate the Sabbat of rebirth by basking in the fresh spring flowers. For many, they can choose to have a ritual in their hard garden or simply enjoy the world around them.

You may be wondering, well what does some holiday about spring have to do with Easter? I'm glad you asked! As it turns out, like many other pagan traditions, the Christian religion got a few inspirations from the Pagans, one of them being the beloved Easter Egg.

What the rabbit represents for Ostara is fertility, magic and sexual energy, seeing as the main theme in the Spring Equinox is fertility and sowing seeds. Many believe that both of the holidays' names come from the goddess Eostre, who is sometimes associated with fertility and is loosely connected to both eggs and rabbits. There are also many sources, such as Jacob Grimm (one half of the Brothers Grimm), who believe that the egg is one of the symbols of early Paganism.

So how exactly do Pagans celebrate Easter, considering it's usually a week after Ostara? Well, for many, they just use the holiday to reconnect with family and celebrate some much-needed time off. For me, I just celebrate with food.

Lots and lots of food.

Happy Easter and Merry Ostara everyone!

Cover Image Credit: Lucid Source

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The Notre Dame Cathedral–Such A Loss Of History And Beauty, But What A Gift It Was To Experience It

Reid shares her story as she is saddened for Paris and the church.

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After the massive fire that devastated large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 850-year-old cathedral's spire fell. French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to share in the nation's sorrow but gave hope for the future. This includes the rebuilding of the cathedral together and making it more beautiful than ever. "The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched," Macron said.

Tyler Reid

Among many others, Tyler Reid is saddened for Paris and the church. Although, she counts herself blessed to have seen it such a short time before it was destroyed. Reid, who was lucky enough to visit the amazing structure this past spring break, remarked:

My trip was filled with so many wonderful sites. Although, because Notre Dame carries the title of most-visited monument in Europe, my expectations were high. When I first walked up, there isn't one specific feeling I got; instead, it was more of a million thoughts running though my head. Once inside, looking at the massive stained glass windows combined with all the details in every crevice, it was hard for me to imagine people actually building this without the technology we have today. This hand crafted masterpiece really is so influential considering people still went there to worship, even after so much time has past and so many other cathedrals had been built. This proves how special the Notre Dame Cathedral really is. Due to my experience here, hearing about the fire hurt my heart, especially thinking about how some of the irreplaceable artworks and all of this history may be gone. This place truly influenced people, including me, and for it to be gone is a true tragedy.

Like Macron, Reid shares in the sorrow; although, for her, it was just from one visit. This proves the amazing impact the Notre Dame Cathedral had and hopefully will continue to have even after this devastation.

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