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Fostering Your Faith in College

groupstudyI know what you’re thinking, “I barely find time to foster my faith now, how in the world will I find time to prioritize my faith once I’m in college?!”  Relax and get ready!  One challenge every student faces when starting college is time management.  You can (and will) learn how to manage your personal and class schedules.  In fact, your new-found freedom can be exciting.  In college, you will have more control than you’ve ever had over what you do and when you do it. So what will you do with your time?

If you are a person of faith, you probably struggle with good intentions–good intentions to develop your faith on a regular basis. Faith development can easily get pushed to the back burner when life gets busy, and believe me – life is very busy for college students! However, I want to help you rethink and re-strategize your spiritual life so it continues to grow throughout college.

First:  Don’t fall for the lie that fostering your faith has to be boring, difficult and time consuming

Boring?

One of the reasons feeding your spirit can seem boring is that you might get caught up critiquing your spiritual rituals such as quiet times, prayer, and scripture reading.  You have preconceived notions for how these things should be done (i.e. prayers should be eloquent and lengthy; scripture should always be read in the morning, etc.)  So, you don’t allow yourself the freedom to feed your spirit in new and creative ways.  Resist the temptation to constantly criticize your spiritual life in these ways–it will be a lot more exciting!

Difficult?

You can choose to challenge yourself spiritually, and there are times when living a life of faith will be challenging for you.  However, feeding your spirit does not always have to be difficult.  You are free to enjoy your spiritual life.

Time consuming?

You will make time for what is important to you.  Period.  Feeding your faith does not always require lengthy amounts of time.  Think about trading some of the blank space in your day (typically filled with social media or television) and pray or read scripture instead.  You can also feed your spirit by praying while walking to class, driving or showering!

Second:  Remember that in college the initial process to connect with other people of like faith may take some effort, but the effort will be well worth it

Purpose to find other people of like faith; and don’t give up until you find your niche (a church small group, a campus ministry, one-on-one study with a friend, a college/career church study).  A great place to start would be to attend a meeting for one or more of the Christian organizations available at your school.  Two of the organizations commonly available include Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  These organizations offer you great opportunities to connect with other Christians and develop your faith.  In college, I challenge you to find people of like faith to be your best friends; because your friends will have a great impact on your life.  So, make sure they are people you respect.

Here are some questions to consider while in the process of finding your faith niche:

Do I feel comfortable sharing personal struggles with other members of the group?

Do I feel respected by the leader and members?

Do I feel this is a good use of my time?

Do I feel comfortable asking spiritual questions, and being honest about things I don’t understand or don’t agree with?

Does this person/group challenge me to better understand and practice my faith?

Do I have confidence in the leadership of this group?

What type of training or knowledge qualifies the leader to guide this group?

You Can Do It

There are many ways to ensure you are growing in your faith and regularly connecting with people of like faith.  You can apply the same creativity and organization to these goals as you use in the college search and selection process.  I want to help you develop a personal spiritual development plan– specific to your goals and your (future) college life!

Need some guidance in your personal journey?  Sarah Weber is a Spiritual Development Coach for My College Planning Team.  She guides high school and college students in developing their faith as young adults.

 

Sarah Weber

Sarah Weber is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked over 8 years in Christian higher education with combined experience in admissions, residential life, and spiritual development. She completed her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling degree at Olivet Nazarene University. Sarah specializes in helping clients develop a spiritual growth plan for college.

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