College is a busy time. You are constantly running to class, work, events, extracurriculars, etc. So when is there time for your faith? You can find the time, it just takes a little intentionality.

I grew up in a very Christian household and when I came to college I wanted to deepen my own personal relationship with God. I wanted to meet people who believed what I believe, but I also wanted to put myself out there and meet people who don’t. So, I joined a bible study my freshman year to make new friends. Which worked. I found people at the same faith stage I was at, and I met people who were at other stages. I was able to find comfort in this. There were people from all different stages of faith and belief that allowed me to learn from others and grow.

After my freshman year, I fell away from my practices. I got distracted by school and everything else I was trying to balance. It took recognizing what was happening and taking note of where I wanted to grow to bring me back. I started going to church again but struggled with pressuring myself to do more. It started to weigh on me. I thought I wasn’t doing as good as I should. Part of me believed that I needed to do more: journal every day, read my bible every day, pray all the time, constantly be grateful, etc. It became too much.

So, I had to step back. I picked a couple things instead of everything. Choosing to begin journaling was the best choice I made. I found that I began to write down whenever I was grateful or whenever good things happened. When I wrote about things that bothered me or if I was having a bad day, I could analyze why I felt that way. This gave me the ability to process my emotions. But, by focusing on what I was grateful for and processing my emotions I was starting to be happier. I could find the positives in life.

From here, after I developed a habit, I focused on something else. Which for me, was prayer. I didn’t get down if I forgot to pray at every meal. But, I tried. Which took so much pressure off of me. I began to deepen my relationship with God because I was finding joy in the relationship. The pressure was off.

Hope helped this. There were professors who gave me advice on finding peace. I found inspiration in professors who were strong in their faith and I could see it come through in their language and respect for others. I also saw God in so many peers. Junior year I took a mission trip. One of the best decisions of my life. I met so many people, had so many experiences, and explored my own faith with the help of those who were further in faith than I was.

Community and self-regulation are so helpful in growing in faith. There are opportunities at Hope to help grow your faith.

Published by Emily Leegwater

Class of 2024 Hometown: Zeeland, MI Major: English; Creative Writing emphasis Minor: Studio Art

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *