Written to my incoming freshman or my college student who hasn’t put two and two together yet. Be intentional, fellow Christian.
Now, don’t get me wrong, college failed to tell me many things, or properly worded, I failed to listen. I failed to consider what “adulting” entails. College doesn’t tell you how to cook. College doesn’t tell you how to live with roommates. College doesn’t tell you that your grades might suffer tremendously. College doesn’t tell you that “freshman fifteen” is more likely than you realize. College doesn’t tell you that as a broke college student you’re still expected to magically scrape up enough money for rent.
College or post-high school is this big transition that us young adults get thrown into, almost like an experiment. “Now, go” should be the motto. And overall, I do like it. Regardless of my lack of humility (and pray that I can become more humble), God continues to teach and humble me every day. There is a lot I’ve learned through college and through becoming more adult-ish. There’s new freedom, new responsibility and new life lessons once you move past high school.
My dad once told me that college is one of those stages that makes or breaks your faith. I completely agree with him. I’ve seen it happen with myself, my old friends and my current friends. My fellow Christian, here comes the title of this entry. College fails to tell you that your faith will be tested. Your faith ends up being what you make it.
“Kira, that’s how faith works. It’s always been this way” and yes I agree, but hear me out. Yes, 100% your faith is what you make it. You get to decide if you want to make Jesus the Lord of your life. With that being said, I’m guessing living at home made it a little easier to go to church, especially if that’s what you did on Sundays since you were a baby. Would you agree? You were more willing to join a small group because your high school friends did too. It was easier to read your Bible because your mentor kept you accountable. Truly reflect on this. With this next step in your life, you get to decide what your faith looks like. Without your parents driving you to church every week, will you still go? Are you willing to join a small group with a bunch of strangers? Be brutally honest with yourself. Between you and me, I’ll be the first to admit that before college I went to church more because of the community than because of Jesus. I believed in Jesus but if I knew my friends weren’t going to be at church, then I’d occasionally lie about having too much homework or feeling sick. That’s exactly how I knew where my priorities lined up.
Here’s my experience:
I am forever grateful for the small group I was a part of throughout my years in high school as it helped me grow in my faith. Despite how much or little I keep up with the wonderful ladies in my small group, I have nothing but love for them all. Knowing what my dad said about how college affects your faith I intentionally joined a Christian housing community and that’s where I currently live when I’m at school. Prior to college, although my faith was tested, it was challenged differently when I got to college. Gaining freedom made me realize I don’t have to go to church. I don’t have to read my Bible. I don’t have to pray. My family wouldn’t know. My old small group wouldn’t know. The spiritual leaders in my life wouldn’t know. I was free. Now, fast-forward to the first month or so of school and school became strenuous – you know that, just read my old entries. That’s when I really dove into my faith. That’s when I read my Bible not so I could appear as a “good Christian”, but because I needed to read it. The Holy Spirit moved me to continuously learn about Jesus. I was motivated to go to church, find an accountability partner and read the Bible every day of my life because I had a better understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. College reveals a lot about you. It feels like I’ve learned more lessons about my hidden pains, secret sins, nasty flaws, and the beautiful depictions of Scripture in my life than the number of lessons I’ve learned through my physics classes. That being said it equally scares and humbles me knowing that I am not even close to finished with God’s lessons on who I am created to be. It is ironically freeing to have to depend on God.
College (life) challenges your faith, Christian. Be warned. It’s not to say that I am always spiritually hungry to read the Bible – in fact a handful of the time I’m not that spiritually hungry. There are several mornings where I would rather sleep in than go to church. Despite how many times I’ve read the same verses, I still struggle with the same sins. I still lack faith when it comes to His goodness and His plan. I still struggle to understand grace. Despite being so heavily invested in Him, I am still prone to wander. But all that being said, since college I’ve intentionally taken my faith more seriously. Because of college, I am more aware of the reason for Christ.
As with working out, there are some days or weeks I really don’t want to do it. I do it anyway because it’s good for me and I always feel great after a workout. I don’t always want to pick up my Bible. I don’t always want to pray. I don’t always want to go to church. But I do it anyway because I know that it is a necessity in my life.
I promise you, college will challenge your faith. Your grades might suffer. You might lose your closest friends. You might run into debt. You might run into family issues. You might learn some heartbreaking things about yourself and about your loved ones. College brings up a lot of questions about your identity, beliefs, ways of living, etc. From my sheltered college student that lives with a bunch of believers to my college student that lives in a frat, this all applies to you. Make your faith your own.
Be intentional. Be honest about your faith. I’ve met Christians living with several believers but fail to open their Bible throughout their entire time at college and I’ve met Christians living in the Greek system who truly call Jesus their Lord. Don’t even try to give me that “I don’t have time” excuse because I will just point you to this post.
College doesn’t tell you that your faith will be tested. College doesn’t tell you that this new stage of life with either grow or diminish your faith. What will you choose, fellow Christian? Make your faith your own.
Pray over this. Pray that you can be intentional about your faith. Pray that I can be intentional about my faith. Pray that every day we can be reminded of the beautiful truths of God’s love, grace and mercy. Pray for wisdom and humility as we go through the lows and the highs of this life. Pray for discipline even when we aren’t feeling spiritually hungry.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.