Freshman Year and My Faith

What My Freshman Year of College Did To My Faith

It tested and grew my faith at the same time.

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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

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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I Could Brag, But Why Should I?

Being humble instead of a handful.

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When it comes to the opportunities that have been presented to me, I have always been someone who prefers to remain levelheaded and grateful. I have never been the type of person to take things for granted, because I always knew that nothing is guaranteed to me, or to anyone, and nothing is permanent. This can, in part, be attributed to growing up part of a family that had been affected by cancer.

I have been able to remain humble, and I am, quite frankly, really proud of myself for that.

I have crossed paths with many people throughout my life who grew up in a manner that one might refer to as privileged or spoiled. Some of these people really showed it. I cannot speak for all of them, and it would be wrong to do so, because this generalization is one that feeds into negativity. However, I can fairly say that I have spent time with people who grew up in a world where all they knew was getting what they wanted, and honestly, I don't envy this.

When I was young, I dreamed of having a life where everything goes right. I think all of us have dreams like this at some point.

But as time went on, I began to realize, just like anyone, that life just simply doesn't work this way. Or at least, not for most of us. And you know what? That's okay. Actually, that's great. I think it's better that way.

The struggles and strife are what keep us appreciative of the other end of the spectrum. Without the bad, how do we learn to appreciate the good?

I could sit here and tell you I've been through a lot.

I could sit here and write all of the sob stories, the heartbreaks, the grief, the losses, the undeserved backstabs. I could ask for your pity, or your sympathy. But I won't, because that's not the point.

All of us have been through some sh*t, when it comes down to it. But what is telling is how we come out on the other side. Whether we allow those experiences to harden us and turn us into stone, or whether we take those experiences, let them shape our outlook, and use them as tools to grow into softer, wiser, more humble human beings, especially when we find ourselves in a time where things begin to go right for us.

I like to think I am the latter.

Right now, I find myself living the best life that I have thus far, and to be painfully honest here, I could brag. If I wanted to, I could brag about my wonderful friends and the incredible people I have in my life, whether they have been around for a while or only just joined the crew. I could brag about being able to follow my heart in New York City, which is home to my college campus and my dream summer internship. I could go on about the people I get to meet, the things I do, the places I go.

But what's the point? Why should I brag? To establish some bizarre feeling of superiority? To put myself on a pedestal? To use what the universe has brought me as a means of making others feel worse or inferior?

Why the hell would I want to do that? Why would anyone?

In times where we find our hearts happy and our lives fulfilled, sure, it can be easy to fall into a mindset that leads you to believe you are "better than". The real test is fighting this.

I can't say I have never given in and allowed myself to adopt that feeling. I don't really think any of us can sit here and pretend we have never ever acted superior, or felt it. We are human, after all.

But I don't think it is right to allow that feeling to take over, and I don't ever want to let that happen.

When that feeling takes over, we lose our graciousness. Our gratefulness. Our humbleness and humanity. We lose the things that make us, down to our cores, human.

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound so good to me.

So, I will continue my daily commute thanking the universe for allowing me to have that. Even when the train is delayed, or the PATH train is crowded, or the tour groups take over the city sidewalks. I will continue to sit at my desk on days when work is slow and I will thank the universe for even giving me that desk, or that work.

I will continue to thank the universe for everything it brings me, because why shouldn't I?

Why shouldn't we all?

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