I started a blog about a year ago detailing the ups and downs of my walk with Jesus. The lowest point in my faith journey was undoubtedly in college. I’ve been amazed by the number of people who have come to me after reading my blog who have said they have had similar if not identical experiences. Most of us were raised in Christian households by God-fearing parents, and many of us would even say we had a strong relationship with the Lord in our early lives – but when we got to college, we lost our way.
It saddens me to hear story after story of people having experienced feelings of emptiness, dejection and anxiety throughout their college years. If only they had something – SOMEONE – they could have turned to for comfort. If I could go back and encourage myself – the happy-on-the-outside but panicking-on-the-inside sorority girl, here’s what I would say:
I know things are confusing right now. You feel like you’re getting pulled in every direction, trying to cling to your values while also navigating the path to become your own person. You’re constantly confronted with guilt, stress, and dissatisfaction. You feel like you’re coming up short in every aspect of life.
I want you to know there IS something that can save you from this heartache, but it’s not the solutions you have in mind. It’s not your parents (although they’re amazing). It’s not a future boyfriend (no sign of one of those for a while – LOL). It’s not a fabulous internship, or a new city, or a great group of friends. No, the thing that’s going to save you from your pain is actually a person you’ve forgotten – someone you used to know.
I already know what your excuse is going to be when I tell you that you’re missing out on a relationship with Jesus. You think that in order to know Him, you’ll have to make yourself perfect – that you’ll have to miss out on all of the things in your life you think are so fun. But I’m writing you to tell you those assumptions are WRONG. Your idea of “the Christian life” has been jaded by lies you’ve been told by the enemy.
What if I told you that your life would actually become EASIER if you let God rule it? What if I told you that you could come to Him just as you are, sins and all, and He’d still make you feel loved? – that if you would just spend even five minutes with Him at the beginning of your days, you’d stop feeling so anxious and lost.
You often think to yourself now that you’ll get back to the “Christian lifestyle” one day, but you’re not ready yet. You want to keep “having fun.” But the truth is, half the time you feel miserable. Your idea of “fun” isn’t bringing you any true joy. The time you spend venting to friends is only making your more anxious. The time you spend procrastinating is keeping you from fulfilling your potential.
I’m not telling you that you can never go to another party or that you have to stop hanging out with all of your friends. I’m telling you that you COULD be improving your own life AND the lives of the people around you if you’d stop living selfishly. Get out of your own head and start talking to someone who is ready and willing to show you how to live fully. You’re afraid to let Him in, thinking He’ll suffocate you with His “rules.” Get real with yourself: deep down you know it’s YOU who is sucking the oxygen out of your life by constantly putting pressure on yourself to fit in with the world around you.
Allow yourself to be loved deeply, have your mistakes forgiven, and to live a life free of pressure to reach perfection. If you let Jesus back into your heart, He will amaze you. He is going to bring color and peace into your life; all you have to do is admit YOUR way IS NOT the best way.
Trust me, I know.