How to Strengthen Your Faith

How to Strengthen Your Faith

Even though, they may work for me they may not work for you! But that is okay! These are just my ways.

Have you ever sat down, as a Christian woman, and thought about how hard it is to be strong? I sometimes find it hard to get up in the morning and look in the mirror and truly believe that I am made in the image of Christ with my droopy eyes, grey skin covered in acne, and the wildest hair. But we ARE made in the image of Christ are we not? He even tells us so. So how do we do it?

I asked my friend Amber how she kept strong in her faith one day while I was sitting in her dorm. She looked to the left of her and stared at what I thought was space, but in reality, she was looking on her bed frame at a sticky note she had stuck upon it. It read " Don't Let Faith Give Way To Fear". We then started talking about how much of a struggle being in college and pursuing the career God planned for us to take was intimidating at times. In a sense I realized how much faith it must take for Amber to become a nurse with all of the crazy classes she has to take. The conversation we had that late afternoon showed me that we can not let fear overtake our faith. We need to stand strong and lean on God in our weary times rather than run away and hide.

There are endless ways to stay strong in our faith to Jesus, but in this article, I am going to explain to you what helps me in my walk.

One of the ways that helps me stay strong is my group of Godly women. Starting every Sunday morning at 10 am I would drive to do a group devotional in my pajamas (bless this opportunity) where I would sit with, on a regular day, about seven women and we would talk, study our bibles, and pray over one another. This helped me a ton because not only did I get to start off my week great and pointed towards Christ, but I got to create a bond with women older and younger than me. I no longer get the chance to go as often to these groups ( but that is because I am now a Sunday school teacher within the church that we had these devotionals) but I still remain extremely close with all of them ( I mean we do go to the same church so it is easy to do so , praise God) and talk to them all the time. I believe that if I did not get the opportunity to create relationships with Godly women like themselves, I would feel alone and my relationship with Christ would not have grown as much as it has. These women pushed me and encouraged me and they definitely have influenced my life. So if you get any thing from this, I would want it to be that surrounding yourself with Godly women, or Godly people, definitely helps remain strong in your faith.

Another thing that I have done, or in this instance, changed, is what I listen to. I have found that when I listen to worship music all the time, not only am I in a better mood, but that I truly worship God a lot more. My favorite thing to do is to go for a drive by myself at the crack of dawn when the world is starting to wake up with my favorite worship music turned all the way up and i just scream sing and cry tears of love, joy, or hurt. If you have not found any Christian artists that you like, here is a list of my favorites:

1. Hillsong United

2. Bethel Music

3. Elevation Worship

4. Lauren Daigle

5.NF

6. Crowder

7. NEEDTOBREATHE

8.Passion

9. Switchfoot

10. Tenth Avenue North

11. for KING & COUNTRY

I truly hope that you found the positive change in your mood, your day, and your life like I have.

One of the last things (not really) I do, is pray or talk to God. I have conversations with him like he is right in front of me, a tangible human. I do this a lot, and some people may think its cliche, but for me it truly works. I find that if I speak to him throughout my day, God seems to become a priority and the focus of everything I do. Whether I am struggling or succeeding, I talk to him about my days or my worries, or give him praise. Talking to him throughout my day has become like an instinct, or a healthy habit, and makes my day easier. So if you see me walking by myself and it looks like I am talking to no one, just know that I am talking to someone, the Lord.

These seem like simple tasks, but having them incorporated into my every day life has made my days go by better and fulfilled. There has been no greater joy for me then being able to become close to God every single day and have him provide me guidance and strength through whatever trial I am in. Having these ways helps me take the focus off of myself, and give it all to him. It helps me see the better picture and reminds me of my purpose to live for him. It challenges me to put unnecessary things aside and to put him in the place of importance. God is so ready to start a relationship with each and everyone of us, and creating that bridge, for me, has been the greatest decisions I have made. It is so prominent. So even if it is hard to believe that your a God's child, or that you have a purpose bigger than you could even dream, do not be fearful. Take the risk and trust. Trust God.





Cover Image Credit: Amber Myers

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What It’s Like Being A Christian At A Liberal University

The constant struggle of trying to dissolve the clichés and long-held assumptions towards religion.

Upon attending a liberal university, I started to understand the mindset many people have towards religion. Simply because I hold religious beliefs, I am often considered illogical, overly-optimistic and ignorant.

I’ve sat through biology lectures that teach students that some people have a greater propensity to "fall for religion" simply because of their genetic composition. I’ve heard my philosophy professor emphasize how "spirit" does not exist and that humans are just breathing machines with no soul or purpose.

I’ve listened to my art teacher imply that only those who want to live in fantasy believe in a god because they’ll do anything to help them sleep at night.

Being a Christian at a liberal campus can be difficult because of how people view Christians and what they associate with religion.

It’s hard to explain that the beliefs I hold did not come from force-fed religious jargon in my childhood. It’s hard to share that I believe in a God who practices love, acceptance and second chances and who does not, in fact, hate the gays. It’s hard to stand for a belief that has been tainted by uptight religious undertones and obligatory customs.

The God I believe in went to the church and ridiculed the priests for their strict laws and fixed judgments. The gospel I live by depicts a man who befriended the criminals and prostitutes; who demanded mercy to be given to the adulterous when death was her sentence. The religion I follow is meant for the broken, the imperfect and the lost, in order to give them the chance to become people greater than themselves.

When you take away the voices that misrepresent Christianity, you will see that its final message is for everyone to demonstrate love, patience, and compassion in everything they do. Whether you choose to believe my story or not, it’s important to understand what Christianity stands for--the same goes for every viewpoint out there.

When attending a university with a diverse array of belief systems, it’s important to remain open-minded and strive to understand the intricacies of different cultures and contrasting morals. It’s imperative to look past the stereotypes and assumptions held toward certain beliefs. Only through taking time to understand one another and different perspectives, can harmonious living and discourse be obtained.

Being a Christian at a liberal university can be challenging at times, but when you meet people that are truly willing to listen and present their beliefs to you, it can fuel genuine and enlightening conversation.

Being on this campus has not only allowed me to collaborate with like-minded believers but also to engage in authentic relationships with people that hold different perspectives than my own. College is a time for learning and absorbing everything we can. It is within this community that we can do just that, simply by listening to one another.

Cover Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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Thank You, InterVarsity, For Being The Best Part Of College Yet

"For where two or three are are gathered in my name, there am I among them" — Matthew 18:20

When I came to college, I knew that my faith was important to me, and I really wanted to be a part of a Christian organization. However, I had no idea how to find one or where to start. It turned out that instead of searching for and finding it on my own, InterVarsity, a large Christian organization at James Madison, found me. Here's how I became involved, and why it's the best thing that has happened to me since I've started my journey as a college student.

On my first week of college, (also known as FROG week) I heard through the grapevine about this weird event called the "watermelon bash." I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, as I hadn’t been off campus yet, and I didn’t know any upperclassmen that were involved in InterVarsity. At the last minute, some friends from my hall convinced me to tag along with them. So, I crammed into a car with a bunch of strangers (probably not the best judgment on my part, but it turned out okay) and off we went.

When we arrived, there was an overwhelming sea of people in the backyard of a house. It was a whirlwind; so many people introduced themselves to me, and I probably gave my phone number to at least 4 different small group leaders. And on top of that, it was dark outside, so I can hardly recognize most people that I met at that event. Nonetheless, I decided that Intervarsity, without a doubt, was where I wanted to be.

So, after that whirlwind event, I attended large group on a Friday night, where I fought for good seats and worshiped the Lord with my brand new lifelong friends. It was there that I signed up to be part of small group.

One day, I received a phone call from a number I had never seen before, and despite the fact that I almost never answer phone calls from people that aren't in my contacts, I decided to pick up.

"Hi Dakotah, this is BryAnna and Hannah, we're your small group leaders!"

And just like that, I became part of a group of girls that I now know will be lifelong friends, and for the next four years (and hopefully beyond our graduation day) we will spend time growing our friendships and supporting each others' relationships with Christ. What a great decision it was to answer that phone call.

Since then, our small group has experienced everything from tunneling, paint twister, and a weekend retreat with no phone service and lots of flannel, to receiving undeniable signs from God, and we have supported each other through everything that college life has thrown at us.

I am so thankful for InterVarsity, as it has given me amazing friends, beautiful memories, and the opportunity to take responsibility for my faith in God. I can't wait to see how God will continue to bless me through this organization during my time as a JMU student.

Cover Image Credit: Greyson Joralemon on unsplash

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