Finding And Keeping Faith In College

Finding And Keeping Faith In College

Find a group of friends who encourage, and help you grow not only as a person but as a Christian.

"You may go through seasons of sun wind and rain. You may tread the desert and in and out of pain. You may run through years wondering if you're good enough. But you will never run too far that you're outside of His love" -Morgan Harper-Nichols

Before I started college, I had a routine of just going to church on Sundays. I rarely read my bible, and I was not really pursuing a relationship with God. Thinking back on it, I never really did much to strengthen my relationship with Him. I knew that I believed in God, I just did not do much to live in that. It wasn't until college when I really grew in my relationship with God.

I remember moving to college, not really knowing if I was going to be able to keep my faith strong. You hear stories about college, that sometimes lead to doubt. Thankfully, I had a roommate who was a Christian and who was attending the church down the street from my university. One day I decided to go with her, just to check it out. It was different than what I was used to, but I liked it. I soon started to attend a college ministry, and I joined a small group. When I joined my small group, that is when I really saw my faith in God grow. Reading His word each week, and talking about it with other girls was the highlight of my weeks. I met one of my good friends in my small group. Long story short, she came into my dorm one night because I was having a hard time with something, and we started talking. We talked long into the night. I knew that God sent Olivia to my dorm that night. There is no other valid reason why she would have come. We barely knew each other. I believe that God places certain people in our lives for certain seasons that we walk through. I thanked God that night for putting her in my life. I still thank Him, even after knowing her for a year now. We started going to Ignite and Church together, and growing in our relationship with God together. It is so nice to have a friend to hold me accountable and to help me grow in relationship with God. We grew as friends through the months, and she was and is the one person I still turn to when I am struggling with anything.

I am currently a sophomore, and I have grown so much closer to God in this year. I have realized how important it is to have a relationship with God. One thing that has really helped my relationship with God was going to fall retreat and being surrounded by other believers. I went to the beach one weekend with my college ministry and a group of my friends. It was a hard weekend, but it was then when I really felt closest to God. I could feel His presence in my life during that weekend, and ever since, I have felt so much peace in my day to day life. I have learned that it isn't impossible to keep a strong faith in college. There will be days where it is hard, but it is always possible. I have faced a lot of hardship keeping my relationship with God strong this semester. I love being a part of a community group because being able to openly talk about Jesus, life, and struggles is really important. Having people there to keep me accountable helps abundantly.

I also recently just became a part of Delight ministries, which is a woman's ministry. I had heard a lot about it before I decided to go to a meeting. I was a little nervous to start going but I am so glad I did. One of my friends invited my roommate and I. We went on a random Wednesday evening, and I was blown away. I felt like God had placed me there for a reason. The evening that we went they were talking about grief, and how to find God in the midst of it. It was everything that I needed to hear. Right now I am facing a lot of pain from grief because of the holidays coming up. I gained such a great friend from this group, as well. I heard her story on the night that we went, and it was so inspiring. I remembering meeting up with her for coffee a few days later and sharing a little bit of my story with her. Being able to have friends who understand what I am going through is a blessing. It is amazing to be able to keep growing in faith alongside my roommate and new friends. I have been able to find the support I need to get through this month, in this group of ladies.

Find a group of friends who encourage, and help you grow not only as a person but as a Christian.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Markee

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I am Second and I am Happy

Proverbs 3:6 "In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success"

Yes, I am second and I am happy. You probably read the title and was like, "What is she talking about?" But, let me tell you, dear friend, when I finally found out that I was second and God was first, that was the best thing that could have happened to me. For a very long time, I use to put academics, myself, family/friends in that order, and God has always been somewhere either first or in the middle. I would always say out loud that God is first, but just like the saying goes "actions speak louder than words," my actions usually differed from what I said because I wasn't living with any fear for the Lord and His words.

On September 25th, 2017, I started my walk with Christ (I will tell you all about it in another article). Since then I started to develop a love for God, and I started to include Him in my plans. If you know me well, you probably know that I use a planner for my daily life and I used to even try to plan my life 5 years from now (without God of course). Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with having plans and goals, but not including God in those is definitely wrong. Not asking God for His will to be done is just as wrong.

After watching a video on "I am Second" from a daily devotion (check it out, here), I started to think about my past and realized that it is true indeed that I was first. Nope!!! I lied, my academic life was always first, and I was second, so God was third unless I was struggling and needed him. Oh yeah, when struggles come, I would always run to God.

Since I started my walk, I put God first and felt pretty good about it until I came back home and another stressful semester starts and I started to spend 12 or more hours on campus. I found myself skipping days on my daily " 10 small/big blessings" writing, I found myself not doing praise and worship every day, I found myself not including God in my calendar, I found myself putting academics first yet again. I still prayed, but I didn't intentionally spend intimate time with God. Then, I remembered that I AM SECOND (meaning that God is first, not academics). If I am second and He is first, why isn't He in my daily plans like before (meaning before the semester started).

So, I decided to make a change, because the 24 hours that I have in a day (not really have) are not mine, they are His, and if they are His and I have time for everything else, I must create the time for my God. I decided that I will still spend less time on my phone (that is a really hard one), less time engaging in things that are not for God's glory and spend more time with Him and go back to my 1-2 hours with God daily.

Those times usually include a mixture of praise and worship, praying, writing, reading the Bible, and/or just complete silence to let Him speak to me. When I look at 24 hours and 2 hours, to me it looks like it is not enough time for all the things He has done for me, but it is intentional, and our God loves that.

Today, dear friend, if you find yourself in this situation where you take your eyes off God(that happened to me 4 years ago) it is okay, you can get past this. The first thing to do is to not ignore it once you feel that void. Once you create a true intimate relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit, you will feel that void once you are getting disconnected from God (at least that is how I felt).

The moment you feel it, TAKE ACTION because He wants you to come back home. Always remember that nothing can make you whole; not your job, not your boyfriend/girlfriend, your family, your social status, NOTHING can make you whole again but Jesus Christ. Seek him, spend intentional time with him and you will start to see and feel His unconditional for you.

I really hope that this piece help you or a loved one.



Cover Image Credit: Daenne D

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Let The Lord Lead You And Figure Out What Happens When You Give Up Fear

The truth about fear

I grew up a bit shy. If you asked me, I liked to call myself more of a listener. Those closest to me were the only ones who got to see that I actually did have a lot to say. As I grew older and frequently self-reflected, I realized that it wasn’t always my choice to stay reserved, but rather fear making the decision for me.

I began to notice when I turned down opportunities to meet people, try new things, or really do anything outside of my comfort zone. I began to notice all of the times I was saying “no”.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

When I read this verse, over and over again, I realized I had been missing something seemingly obvious. I was not living a life that reflected the truth of those words. I remembered back to my early teen years, where at some point, fear started calling the shots.

I declined numerous opportunities that I could’ve grown through, whether that be with friends or any new experience that was presented to me. Maybe it was because I was afraid to fail, or perhaps because I didn’t know if I would like the outcome. Either way, it was my way of maintaining control of the situation.

Finally, I made the decision to believe that verse. I believed that the Lord was bigger than everything that scared me. I already had trust in the fact that He is who He says He is, so why shouldn’t I believe that He is always with me? If I could believe that simple truth, then fear would become irrational.

Once I adopted this mindset, I began to take every opportunity that I was presented with, even if it terrified me. Even when I knew I would be incredibly uncomfortable, I made it a priority to say “yes”. When I did that, not only was I exposed to a new fullness of life, but opportunities flooded in.

However, this didn’t come all at once. That’s the thing about fear, it’s sneaky. Half the time, we don’t realize how much of an influence it has on our daily lives. To see a change, I had to become mentally aware of when those anxious thoughts were present, and I had to intentionally press into God when they were.

It took practice and a conscious effort at first. I had to remind myself that I believe in the Lord’s truth and that I do in fact believe that He is bigger than everything that previously scared me.

This past year alone, in moments of God-given courage, I participated in my first month-long mission trip, ran a half marathon, joined my church’s student worship band, and attended various music-based auditions. With each experience, I was stretched miles beyond my comfort level. During this time, I actually felt less overwhelmed, and all the previous feelings of anxiety were eventually replaced by excitement. I found that my trust in the Lord grew, along with my love for people.

If you are like me, you know that life would be much easier if we could remain in our comfort zones, where the outcome can be easily predicted. It would also be much more stagnant, boring, and not to mention limiting on your potential. As cliché as it sounds, there is much more adventure when you choose to say yes to the unknown.

Acknowledging the discomfort, choosing to let it go, and trusting God can open up your life to literally anything. Let the Lord lead you. Even if it is scary, remember that He goes before you. I no longer put my trust in my own fleeting abilities, but rather in the constant strength and courage that the Lord provides.

When I do experience fear, I no longer dwell on it. I continue to find peace in the fact that He always brings me back to His reality, and shows me His truth, the real truth. And I choose to believe Him.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” Psalm 33:4

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