A Christian on Campus
Hello and welcome to the Freshman Chronicles, a place in the SPECTRUM where I get to give my insider opinion on everything that I experience in my freshman year of college. Each week I discuss a new topic, and for this week, I have something that has been taking a lot of precedence in my everyday life: being a Christian in college.
College has served as a kind of awakening for me and my relationship with God, and I have never felt closer to Him than now. Before I get into that thought, here’s a little background on my life as a Christian.
In the past few years, it seems that the church and Christianity, in general, have come under a lot of fire. Because of this, I was expecting to stumble a lot in my journey with faith while in college, but I can say with confidence that it has been the exact opposite.
Since I can remember, I have gone to church with my family, prayed before meals, and done all the other things that were expected of me, but I know now that at that point in my life, I was a very lukewarm Christian. I was simply going through the motions and following whatever my family did because that was just how it was.
I had yet to establish my own faith which caused a riff in my understanding of God. In high school, I got closer to God through devotionals and prayer, but I still felt a little lost. I can’t say there was something drastic that changed me, but I do know that in the last couple of years, God has become more and more of a priority for me every day.
Whether I was dealing with anxiety and stress or simply needed someone to talk to, I slowly but surely started turning to God and the difference He has made in my life is mind-blowing. In this article, I’m going to get into the things that really shaped and strengthened my faith.
The first thing that really stands out to me in my walk of faith is the daily devotionals that have helped push me to spend time with God every day. When I received my first daily devotional in 7th grade, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.
I obviously read it, but I never went any further. That is until I found that I could combine my love for writing and journaling with God.
Every time I did a devotional, I would write a little summary of what I learned which helped me to stay present in what I was reading and also helped me understand and connect the thoughts in my head to what God was trying to tell me. A daily devotional I would highly recommend is Bob Goff’s “Live in Grace, Walk In Love.”
Finding ways to combine your interests with religion allows you to truly enjoy learning about God. If you love singing, spend time worshipping with Christian music. If you like traveling and have the means to do it, visit places that Jesus did or that remind you of God’s wonderful creation. No matter what the hobby is, I’m sure there is some way to work it into your time with God.
I know that I brought together writing and God because I can admit that I sometimes don’t make the time for God, but being able to put together two of the things I love has really helped me to make that time.
Surrounding myself with Jesus
Another way that I have gotten closer to God is by surrounding myself with people my age that also believe in Him. Through groups like Chi Alpha and Bison Catholic, I have gained friends that make my walk in faith that much easier. When I’m surrounded by people who have similar beliefs and goals, I find that committing to Him becomes a bigger part of my life.
Being able to talk to people about what I’m going through and receiving the advice and wisdom of God through them has done so many great things for me. I feel less alone and more supported when I’m with my Jesus people.
Being part of Chi Alpha specifically has given me so much freedom. Whether it be our worship services every Thursday night, the small group I’m involved in, or any of the other activities that we do, I always feel closer to God after.
I am so grateful to my friends who encouraged me to get involved with Chi Alpha because it is one of the biggest contributors to why my faith has become such a priority to me since getting to college. I recommend anyone who is interested to look up NDSU Chi Alpha on Instagram and get information on how to become involved in the organization.
Something that I took up for the first time in my life is Bible study. Whether it be the groups I meet with or individually, getting a deeper understanding of God’s Word has brought me so much relief and insight. Not only do I learn about the history of Christianity, but also lessons about being a good person and leading a good and fulfilling life.
Bible study has brought me a community I can count on when I need a little boost for Jesus and has helped me see that God is by my side everyday and that I don’t need to be anxious because He has a plan for me.
With this one, I’m not saying that I gave up all secular music because when I tell you I listen to everything, I mean it. I will say that listening to Christian music, or what I like to call “Jesus jams” has allowed me to sprinkle God into my day even for just a couple of minutes here and there. Once you find the genre of Christian music you prefer, you’ll be creating a fun and new way to connect with Him.
Music is a huge part of my life, and when I tell you that blasting Jesus jams in my car on drives makes me feel alive, I wholeheartedly mean it.
This one is something that I have struggled with a lot. I go through spurts of praying ten times a day to not talking to God for weeks. I’ve noticed a big difference between when I do and don’t pray. When I am praying consistently, I feel so much more content and happy while when I skip or simply forget to pray, I am riddled with anxiety and have a hard time finding fulfillment in my days.
One way I love to get a prayer in is while doing my daily devotional. At some point, I started writing in what I call a prayer journal. I write my summary for my devotional and then write a prayer that can be as simple as asking for help on a test to as complex as asking for help in making a life-altering decision.
I’ve always found that I’m better at writing my words and feelings than saying them, so this is my way of talking to God. Prayer has provided a way for me to have a personal relationship with God even if it’s only thirty seconds long.
As I said before finding time to be with God and in prayer can be difficult, so if you are sitting in class waiting for it to start, driving, or even while you’re having a meal, just say a quick prayer in your head. God will be so happy that you decided to give Him just that little time, and as you keep finding these few minutes to pray, it’ll come together to be more than before!
College has allowed me to grow so much in my faith. Being a college student isn’t easy, so having God at my side has brought me so much fulfillment. Whether you are looking to start your journey with God or further it, any single one of these things could help strengthen that relationship with God and bring you closer to an understanding of His eternal love for you.
I know that some people might argue that they can’t find God or that they feel unwelcomed, but just know that the people and things that make you feel this way are not God. Whether it’s the church, family, or friends that make you feel as if God doesn’t accept you, just know that He loves you so much that He sacrificed His Son for you.
No matter who you are, He wants to be a part of your life. With that, I wish my fellow freshman good luck and God’s speed.