I've been around strong Christians my whole life. I was raised Lutheran and grew up having a steady spiritual life. One summer during highschool I attended a huge youth gathering with my church and it truly changed how I look at so many aspects of my life. It wasn't until after this youth gathering that I decided to start the journey to grow in my faith and relationship with Christ.
My faith was the strongest it had ever been after this youth gathering. My academic and social life soared and for once, I actually felt happy.
During my senior year of highschool, I went through some pretty heavy stuff, causing me to turn away from Him. I was angry and confused as to how such a loving God had made me feel this way. I refused to open my eyes and realize what He was trying to show me.
Now almost a year later, I realized what His vision was.
When I began my freshman year of college, my faith was the weakest that it had ever been. I remember crying to someone when they asked me how my spiritual life was because I was ashamed at how bad I had let it get.
I stopped praying or reading the Bible all together because I shut out that part of my life after what I had been through. I was so stubborn and refused to believe that a God that made me feel so desolate could also make me feel so joyous.
During the first few months of my first semester of collegeI started going to church and getting involved in a campus ministry.
I eventually went to small group Bible studies every week. When I was in high school, I never experienced weekly discussions about God's word.
I remember going to my first small group and feeling so shy and afraid. Me, someone who was always so social became an introvert. While everybody else was talking about parts of the readings that they loved, I was hoping no one would ask for my input because I never knew what to say.
Then as my first semester progressed I realized how vital those small groups became in my weekly routine. I not only felt closer to Christ but made incredible friends through the process. Friends that I could cry, laugh and share my struggles with.
When I was preparing to move into my dorm I had all of the expectations of what my first semester would look like. Who I'd be friends with, what organizations I wanted to be involved in and what I'd be doing to pass the time along.
For some reason, going to church and having weekly bible studies was never in the picture.
If I'm being completely honest, I've always gone to church because it seemed like an obligation, not something I wanted to do. When I went to church in college, it was because I wanted to. I started taking notes and ingesting what the pastor was saying so that I would get everything I could possibly get out of the service.
I never thought that going to church and share the Gospel with friends would become vital to my mental and spiritual well-being.
Since I started going to church and being involved in a campus ministry, my whole demeanor has changed. I feel genuinely happy (most of the time) and love going to any church, no matter what denomination.
Growing closer to Christ was something that I never thought would happen, and I am eternally grateful that it did.
Colossians 2:6-7: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving