As a young Christian in college, I think it’s safe to say that college life is not what I expected it to be like. Whether it be class schedules, registration, time management, having an actual social life, and of course, church-going. None of it goes exactly how we planned.
I, for one, moved abroad to pursue my studies, and then COVID struck… I know for sure none of us saw this coming. Life sure does have a way to surprise us.
Though some of our peers have tried their best, none of us have been fully prepared for everything that happens. College isn’t what movies and TV shows portray it to be. And it’s even worse now since COVID. This is why I wanted to share my honest reflections with hopes to encourage, sympathize and show grace to every other young Christian and college student.
1. Attending Church
College years are often the years where many young people either stop attending church, rarely do, or have left the faith altogether. The stats are high and many things contribute to this factor.
I waited a whole year to find a church home. I visited multiple churches in the area before I stuck with one. And then COVID happened. We managed to attend two services. I seem to have lost track of the whole COVID situation, but we’re in 2021 and I’m finally going to have the opportunity to attend church.
There are a lot of reasons why some don’t attend church anymore. The most common ones are time management, personal struggles, and believe it or not, ill-treatment on behalf of (some) church folks. Having lived some of those things myself, I can see how some of us stray away from the church, the Gospel, and God.
2. Challenged Faith & Deconstruction
This one is most likely inevitable. Especially knowing that most of us Christian youth go to some public institution of some sort. And I do think that no matter where it is one has gone to pursue their studies, their faith will be challenged at some point.
Many things are happening, ideologies being pushed unto us and meeting people from different backgrounds and beliefs. Depending on one’s background, they may or may not be prepared for it. My faith was most definitely challenged by just being in a different environment than the one I grew up in. All “challenged faith” and “deconstruction” journeys look different. In my case, the Bible is what prompted it. The Bible challenged a lot of what I was taught and used to believe. I was now discovering the word, desperate to know what is true.
I didn’t leave the faith but others have, and they need our prayers. This should also humble us and cause us to let grace abound. It’s not something you just get up and decide to go through with. Because it just happens.
3. Quiet Time & Devotion
I personally love the Bible. It’s intriguing and so full of knowledge. Still, I’m not the best at reading it every day. To this day, I still struggle to maintain a set schedule for Bible time. I’ve gotten a little more consistent in consuming bible content thanks to The Bible Recap (Bible plan & podcast).
With class schedules, work schedules, and all the in-between, it can be pretty difficult to find time to spend time in God’s word. Sometimes, you just have to set time aside to do so. And if you really can’t, try implementing it into the little gaps throughout your day. I started doing this ever since my quiet-time schedule wasn’t working for me as much anymore.
That being said, it may not have been easy or instagrammable but it’s a beautiful privilege: you get to learn more about God. Some passages can be harder to understand, but the Holy Spirit provides guidance and clarity. I can vouch for Him. I’ve often read the Bible without asking Him for help because “I didn’t have the time,” and it’s not the method I’d recommend.
Remember to invite the Holy Spirit. And if you forget to, go back to Him for help.
4. God is there for the college students
There are a lot of things that go down in college. What I shared is not an exhaustive description of everything that happens. One thing that keeps me going and I hope that it does so for you too is knowing that God is there for us and with us.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
God loves us. He knows and sees the struggles. God will strengthen His people and will always guide His people. He is willing to forgive and is faithful. And He uses every part of our stories for our good. We can lean on Him and trust His character. And the best part is that He keeps His promises. And one of those promises is that He’ll never leave us.
This last part was my favorite. As it is a reminder that no matter what life, college, or COVID throws at us, we have an unshakeable someone there for us. In times of challenged faith, God is patient with us. Even when we try to cram everything into our busy schedules, He doesn’t leave us. And that is the hope I want to share with you. The hope that will keep you going.