How Starting College Restarted My Faith

How Starting College Restarted My Faith

It's amazing the way you can find God in people and places.

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Going into my freshman year of college this time one year ago, I didn't know what to expect. There was so much going on; new campus, new room, new people, new classes. I remember I was most worried about making friends and whether or not I was going to be able to handle my classes. I was a ball of anxious feelings and for the first semester, I felt like I was just getting accustomed to going through the motions. I was definitely having fun and enjoyed this new phase of my life, but looking back now, I think I knew something was missing. Spring semester came up quick and I was as nervous as ever about the same things; keeping my friendships from last semester and adjusting to a new schedule. With all this new stress, the last thing I expected was to be going to church again.

Attending church on campus wasn't something that had crossed my mind. I knew it was an option; there are plenty of churches and religious groups around. I had some friends that were involved in a few different churches and I enjoyed hearing about it but I never thought it was for me. I had already done the church thing practically my entire life. Growing up Catholic, going to private schools, attending Mass twice a week in high school. At that point, I felt burnt out. I still had a relationship with God at this time an I valued it a lot, but I kept it to myself and figured it was as developed as it was going to get.

An invitation to church from my closest friend changed all that for me. The first time I stepped into the room, I felt the energy shifting. The service was everything I had been missing; an interactive, personal, lively, genuine approach to faith and God. I found myself excited to be there, especially with other students who were so committed to their faith. It was different from high school where we were all expected to have our faith life figured out, in one way or another. But Kingdom M'Powerment was different and it was refreshing to feel like I had started anew with God.

After attending this first service, weekends became exciting for me...not because I wanted to party but because I wanted to go to church! Sundays were the best day of the week; I would make it a point to get all my work done on Saturdays so I could enjoy the two-three hour service and join in for dinner afterward. After a couple of Sundays, I started to get involved in Tuesday Bible study classes as well. I hadn't actively read the Bible since probably eighth grade and though I was a little apprehensive about getting into the Bible, I ended up genuinely enjoying the lessons I was learning along with a new understanding of how to view it.

Tuesdays quickly became the best part of the school week. I had not anticipated for my faith life to have changed into something so much more fulfilling and genuine than I had previously known. I had limited myself previously in my relationship with God and I am thankful that He put the right people in my life to lead me to a new one. The camaraderie and love I hadn't realized I had been looking for but had found in Kingdom M'Powerment was the highlight of my freshman year and I am beyond excited to spend another year this way, with my favorite people.

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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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By Using God To Justify Hate, Christians Are Giving Christianity A Bad Name

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.

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I grew up in Alabama, so it's no surprise that I grew up in church. I was saved, or baptized, at a young age. I grew up going to church camp, going on mission trips and participating in church activities, such as Thanksgiving lunches and Christmas plays.

As I grew up, I became interested in politics. I began watching public officials, most of whom claim they are Christians, build their platforms by turning down the rights of those in the LGBTQ community, helping the rich get richer, saying Christianity is the only correct religion and wanting to take away healthcare from those who cannot afford it.

The more I noticed these public officials saying things like this, the more I noticed that people who went to church agreed with them. This upset me.

What I was taught about Christianity was that God accepts everyone — no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, social status or economic status. He accepts all.

What I was hearing from churchgoers and those who claimed to be Christians was the exact opposite.

I faced an internal conflict, deciding whether or not I wanted to go to church anymore, much less be a Christian. I didn't want to be labeled as someone who does not accept people for who they are. That's not the person I am.

I didn't want people to think that, if they're in the LGBTQ community, I thought they were going to Hell. I didn't want people to think that, if someone was poor, I thought they did something in life to cause that. I didn't want those of other faiths to think their religion was not valid. I didn't want people who were physically or mentally sick to think I didn't want them to receive help.

So for the past few years, whenever someone asked me if I believed in God, I told them yes, but that I didn't believe in organized religion.

It may come as a shock to some Southerners when I say you don't have to actively be in a church to believe in God. My dad always taught me that you have to sometimes separate God from church. I never fully understood what that meant until I was in that situation.

According to pewforum.org, 66 percent of college graduates surveyed consider themselves Christians, and 25 percent said they do not have a religious affiliation.

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.

I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I believe that in church, you can be taught to love someone no matter who they are and what their situation is. I believe that you can hold your own political morals.

What I don't believe in is using God's name to justify hate toward a certain group of people. And that, in my opinion, is what is giving Christianity a bad name.

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