Freshman year of college truly goes by in a blink of an eye. One minute you’re counting down the days until you can finally move away from home and start your college journey and then before you know it you’re sitting in the library pulling all-nighters in hopes of surviving finals week. Throughout the hectic and fast paced days of your first year of college it can become easy to find yourself sidelining your faith or even losing it all together.
Many statistics have surfaced in the media over the past year stating that millennials are the least religious generation to-date. There could be many plausible explanations for why this is the case but from insight of my own experiences I believe one reason is because finding a balance between strengthening your faith and living the typical busy college lifestyle can be difficult, at times even nearly impossible.
As you enter college the most proactive step you can take to not lose your faith is to find a community of believers similar to you. At first, it might seem intimidating to attend a church or youth group where you don’t know anyone but in the end it will be well worth your time and nervousness. Putting yourself out there could potentially lead you to meeting even just one person who could from then on out change your whole outlook on faith for the better. This is exactly what happened to me.
As a young adult who did not grow up in a church I constantly yearned to be a part of God’s family. I was actually grateful for not having any prior connections to a church because it enabled me to develop my own religious beliefs without any influence from others. My parents never forced one religion over another onto me. They gave me the power to choose and choice is a powerful thing.
Once I entered college I knew I wanted to find a church or youth group that I could be a part of. I tried multiple different settings and although they were enjoyable I did not feel a close connection to the people I was surrounded by. I knew that to grow my faith I needed to be surrounded by believers that I could form close bonds with.
Discouragement started to set in quickly. I wanted to find a place of worship but I started to believe it wasn’t the right path for me. I started to make myself feel better by saying that I was too busy for religion anyway. Soon after, close friends of mine just happened to introduce me to a person who inevitably changed the course of my life forever.
She invited me to attend her “house church” once a week that was geared toward discipleship. This was in place to build tight knit communities that worshipped and all grew in faith together. I nervously attended and was blown away by how compassionate, friendly and welcoming each and every person was. As the weeks and months went by I started to grow tremendously in my faith and form close bonds with so many of the house church members.
Through this incredible experience I learned that to actively grow your faith in college you must be willing to jump out of your comfort zone and try as many churches, youth groups, and ministries as you can until you feel at home. You must be willing to set aside time each week to grow in your faith with a community that supports and encourages you throughout both your failures and successes.
Surrounding yourself with a community of believers will hold you accountable and help you to find balance between your busy college schedule and growing in your faith. It’s very easy to get discouraged throughout this process but it’s very important to not give up. Everything happens at the perfect time for the perfect reason.