The hurt and struggles I went through over the past fews years were so worth getting to tell you, soon to be college student, these things I’ve learned. This is by no means a complete list and I am by no means a perfect person but I wanted to share what the Lord has taught me.
So here goes nothing:
1). Your senior year of high school is only the beginning of the hard decisions you make. Where you go to college is a huge choice, but that’s only the beginning. Your future job, job location, and passions may change but always, always, always seek the Lord through that. He will always know what’s best for you and will always give you an answer even if its not the answer you wanted. The closer you draw to Him, the closer He will come to you. The closer you get, the more you will be able to align your life with His will.
- Proverbs 3:5-6- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
- James 4:8- Come near to God and he will come near to you.
2.) It is so scary to think sometimes that every little choice you make can affect the future. That one class you didn’t take the right semester that pushes your graduation date back could change a lot. That one extra semester may introduce you to someone who needs to see the love of Christ and they end up being saved. The point here is that God has his hand on everything. That extra semester or changed schedule is for a reason. Always remember there is a reason. God has seen your life from beginning to end so always trust Him. Even if its not YOUR plan, it’s HIS plan.
- Ecclesiastes 3:11- He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
3.) There are so many people who don’t know Jesus. I have encountered so many people in college who are seasonal Christians. Once you fully understand His grace, there you find true joy and a true life change. What I’m saying here is, find the people that don’t truly know Him and show them what He has done for you. Once they see the joy in your life, they will want a piece of that.
- Matthew 5:16- In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
4.) Never trust in the world or in worldly things because the Lord is the only thing that is eternal. Sure, earthly things may satisfy for a little while, but only HE can truly sustain you. This is where you find your rest. I tried partying and I was never satisfied. Honestly, it’s easy to bury yourself in school work and I promise that won’t satisfy either. There will be times when you feel like temptations are too much and you just want to give into the things that the Bible warns us against. It’s important to remember that He will deliver us from temptations of the world when we ask him to. Sometimes he may give you what you think is way too much to handle, but remember it’s only to make you lean on Him.
- 1 John 2:15- Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
- 1 Corinthians 10:12-13- So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
5.) Anxiety is a hard battle to fight. I care way too much about what people think about me or what people say about me. Especially being an active Christian, I might be called a weird girl who loves Jesus too much. That’s okay. You may be super super worried about your first college test and finals. You may not know if you will find your friend group. You may be worried that you might not get into the sorority. You may be worried that you are gaining weight. The point is, no matter how big or small or silly the worry is, you’ll worry. This is where I beg you to lean on Jesus. He is literally the only thing that will give you true rest. If I didn’t’ have faith in Him, I really and truly don’t know how I would’ve made it. No matter what you make on that test, or where you get involved, it was His will and He will see you through it and make you stronger. Let rest in Him become your joy.
- Psalm 94:18-19- “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When my anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
6.) If you are following the Lord closely, you won’t fit in with everyone. I had to learn that the hard way. To me, following Jesus is the only thing that matters because it has an eternal significance. If you choose to surround yourself with loving people and follow the Lord closely, you may not be close with some people anymore. Please remember that that is completely okay! Yes, you should still love them and lead by example but if your values and paths don’t align, don’t let that slow you down. Where you are going is so much more beneficial. The only opinion of you that matters is Jesus because He is who you’re spending forever with!
- 2 Corinthians 5:17- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
- 2 John 15:18-20- “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
7.) You don’t have to be busy all the time! Please please hear that. I wish I would’ve learned this lesson. If you don’t leave open time in your schedule, how are you allowing God to place you where you need to be? This quote pretty much changed my view on things. It says, “Never is a woman so fulfilled as when she chooses to underwhelm her schedule so she can let God overwhelm her soul.” W-O-W. Okay, so make sure you allow time for God to move in your personal time but also leave time so He can show you where to serve. Take time to ask God where He wants you and how He can use you.
- Matthew 7:7- “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
8.) Find a group of people to hold you accountable. Find the people you can trust to hold you to Biblical values and call you out when you are wrong. These are people who should love you so much that they are disappointed in you when you mess up but are also there to pick you up. A healthy community of believers, pushing you to love Jesus more are the type of people you must surround yourself with. I truly believe that you become like the people you are around. Protect yourself.
- Hebrews 10:24- “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”
- 1 Peter 3:8- “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
9.) This kind of goes with the friends thing. Before I moved to school I was told that where you spend your time is where you will find your friends. For example, if you go out all the time, you’ll make partying friends. If you spend time at church or a campus ministry, you’ll find community. Just remember to associate yourself with Christ-like people until you are strong enough to reach the lost. Once you grow in your faith and are more confident in fighting temptation, help those who may also be very tempted. I say it in this order so it doesn’t pull you down too. Let God strengthen you first!
- Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
10.) Journaling! I love love love journaling. I look back at my journals from high school, freshman year of college, and even back on this year. I write my thoughts, sermon notes, and prayers in a journal. It is literally the coolest thing ever. You may not necessarily realize how much God is moving in your life or how many prayers He is answering. Once you have all of these things written down, you can see just how He moved in the situation. Even if I feel like I’m in a dry spell, I read back and remember just how much He loves me and cares for me. He is constantly working and sometimes you can’t see it until you are on the other side of a situation. The more you write, the more you realize, and the more you remember.
- Proverbs 7:2-3- “Guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
No matter where you decide to go, always choose Him. There is no one that cares more about you than your Heavenly Father so always lean into Him. I’m praying that you let the Lord lead you and that you glorify Him no matter what campus you’re on!