So honored that Kriselle has asked me to guest post for her. I'm Miss ALK, and I blog over at Southern Belle in Training! I'm a soon-to-be college sophomore who is originally a New England girl, but I go to school in the South, hence the name of my blog. :-)
One of the highlights of my first year of college was that my Christian faith grew so much and became so important in my life. I have heard some sad statistics that many college students raised in Christian homes abandon their faith once they go away to school. I think there's no excuse for this, and that college is perhaps one of the best times to deepen your faith. This is the first time that you're living on your own and can truly define your own beliefs, and that's really exciting! However, going to college means that having a relationship with the Lord will take discipline and some work, so I've put together a short list of things I did in the past school year that helped me get off to a good start. My faith keeps growing and growing and I can't wait to see where it will lead me through the next three years of school!
- Find a church that you enjoy: This might seem like a given, but I didn't realize the importance of it for awhile! It can be a bit daunting to try and find a new church home, especially if you've gone to the same one with your family at home for many years. The first church that I visited while at college was terrible, and I felt so unwelcomed that I was literally scared to visit churches for two months after. But once I found the right church for me my life literally got 100% better. The church that I ended up going to had a college Sunday school class that met before the services, and I got to know a lot of people from my university that way! I ended up telling my friends at school about my new church, and some of them wanted to join me. Every Sunday I looked forward to sharing breakfast in the caf with friends and then carpooling over to church! Another perk of going to church is getting into the good habit of not staying up too late on Saturday nights! ;-)
- Reading your bible: My New Years' goal for 2013 was to read my bible more. I didn't really want to use a fancy reading plan, so I just started by reading a chapter of the New Testament every night before bed. This was the best way ever to relax before bed, and it allowed me to learn so much about Jesus! I've kept up with my readings and am now currently in 1 Corinthians. The Bible is God's Word and such a precious gift to believers. I totally understand that busy college students don't have a lot of free time to read for fun, but try and squeeze a little bit into your day, whether it's when you wake up, go to bed, or midway through your day! Even if it's just a verse or two, you'll be amazed at how much of an impact it will make. There are also many great reading plans out there if you prefer more scheduled and structured readings! Another important key is to find a translation that works for you. I enjoy reading the NIV and NRSV (the translation that my Old Testament class used) the best.
- Make sure that your best friends (or significant other) share your beliefs and morals: I never realized how important this was until I went to college. I didn't have any Christian friends in high school, and while my high school friends respected my beliefs, I never felt like I had anyone my own age in my life who "got" my faith and understood what it meant. In college I bonded with people who like me had a desire to grow and learn more about their faith. It was so encouraging and inspiring for me to call my closest friends people who talked about praying and trusting the Lord when they were having a bad day, and who had high moral standards. I don't want you to think that I'm saying that you only have to be friends with other Christians... definitely not the case! That just gives Christians a bad reputation as being judgemental and unfriendly to those who don't know the Lord. What I mean though is that your spiritual journey will go a lot smoother if they people that you're closest to and share your heart with also know Jesus. I didn't have a boyfriend during my first year of college, but if I did I would have wanted him to be strong in his faith! I did have a big crush on one guy during my first semester, and one of the main things that made me attracted to him was his love for Jesus. :-)
Just because I stayed a Christian through my freshman year of college doesn't mean that I have life all figured out. The past year definitely had its share of downs to balance the ups! But having faith means that I am hopeful and trusting in God's plan for my life, and I rejoice in the fact that He has blessed me with so much!
Feel free to stop by my blog sometime soon! I enjoy posting about my college experiences, fashion, faith and sharing things that make my life a little sweeter!
xoxo Miss ALK