They tell you that college is all about finding yourself. Moving on, and moving up! New beginnings and a time to really learn about you!
What they don’t often think to mention is how dreadfully difficult it is to go from the only world you have ever know.
We live the first eighteen years of our lives in a cycle. For as long as I can remember I have been a kid, a student, a daughter, with little choices to be made of my own will. Going to school was not an option, rebelling from my mothers guidance resulting in groundings or punishment of some kind. If I didn’t rules and restrictions where in place to protect me and guide me. Failure to do the chores asked resulted In the rathe of my mom. Not coming home on time meant I could find myself at home for the next several weekends. And my mother? Well lets just say I had my fair share of teenage drama with her!
I was living in the world, but I wasn’t living in the real world.
Ha, wow was I in for a treat when she pulled away from my college dorm.
All of the sudden there wasn’t anyone pulling my blanket off of me to get to class in the morning, dirt started to pile up and dirty dishes would remain dirty until I physically cleaned them myself (crazy that stuff doesn’t happen on its own)! Nobody is yelling at me to get home when I decide hanging out at a friends house until eleven o’clock, and again, nobody is there to wake me up the next morning when I am late for a nine a.m!
Let’s just say moving out in hard.
Going off to school also comes with its own interpersonal challenges. I personally, grew up in the church my whole life and I am all the better for it. I was surrounded by God loving influential leaders and I came home to a God loving family. But somehow in the midst of it all, I failed to form my own views on religion. I, as most kids do, adapted to the views of my mother and other parental roles in my life. I knew the crowd of people I didn’t want to be around, and the crowd I did, but I was rarely put to the test of being around the wrong crowd, as I had rules and restrictions I was too afraid to break. And to be with the wrong crowd would be breaking those rules.
Now, two semesters into college and my failure to find my identity in Christ is catching up to me. Sure, I know I am a child of God. And I know we are called to love others and serve God, following his Word and devoting our lives to Him. But what do I feel called to. What gifts has God given me? And how can I best use them to serve Him? How do I go about taking the time to learn more about Him? What do you do when you feel like you are praying wrong, or reading the Bible wrong? How do I even go about making disciples for Christ? And, oh man! How do I handle when I am put to the test? To fight off the temptation to go to the parties and skip the classes.
Well friends, here is what I have learned.
You learn quickly that the dished won’t wash themselves and the floor doesn’t magically sweep itself. You set five or ten alarms to ensure you are up for the classes. And if you stay up to late studying for a test you procrastinated? You drink A LOT of coffee a power through.
You’ll probably go to a party or two, and you will (hopefully) learn quickly that the aftermath of them is not worth the temporary “joy”. You will skip a couple classes and then you will do poorly on a test or two And so you’ll go to more classes.
You will realize that its a normal thing for your desk to look like a visual representation of “I have class across campus in ten minutes (at least that normal for mine! I still haven’t gotten fully used to the whole wake up thing!)
My desk two weeks into college vs my desk today! The new college excitement has worn off!
As you start to realize you are growing up you will, in hand, start moving up.
And as for those tricky questions of faith?
You, hopefully, find a group of people that can answer your questions for you. People that can guide you to wise and biblical advice. You will seek back to the guidance of those whom truly know your soul. And you will desire to grow with the ones you are learning to share your soul with. You pray a lot, and you make a lot of mistakes and you forgive yourself, and those around you. And may I share my very best peace of biblical advice
1 John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
And the best part about college? You get to realize that in only a few short years? You will be a full time working, tax paying, grocery buying, really truly adulting, member of society?
And my words of wisdom on that? Ha! Let me know if you have any!