Is attending church part of your family tradition? Is church where you find your social niche? If either of those things are true about you, great! However, being friendly to the faith does not necessarily mean you are fully living it out. Have you truly owned your faith, made your faith your own?
- Do I think about and practice my faith apart from church/youth group?
- Do I continually seek to challenge myself spiritually (aside from attending church/youth group)?
- Do I ever independently choose to read/study Scripture and pray?
- Do I seek to make life decisions in accordance with my faith?
- Am I so committed to my faith that I am willing to sacrifice and/or face antagonism in order to practice it?
- Do I ever talk about my faith with friends and family?
As you can see, faith is not just about going to church. It is about living your life in accordance with your faith. You might have inherited your faith from family, but you can respect the faith without truly embracing it yourself. If you truly intend to live out your Christian faith, now is a great time to take ownership of your spiritual life! Soon you will graduate from high school and start college. Your routine will change and unless you purpose to own your faith, it will quickly become a thing of the past.
Start to take responsibility for understanding your faith and applying a spiritual perspective to life decisions. Growing up, my mother was my spiritual mentor. I hope you have a spiritual mentor too! If not a parent, possibly a pastor or friend serves as a mentor for you. While seeking a respected faith mentor can be very helpful in certain situations, do not allow yourself to solely rely on another person’s spiritual wisdom. Use their wisdom, but seek to understand your faith and the Scriptures yourself. In college, your professors will push you not only to learn information but also to apply the knowledge in a meaningful way. Take this opportunity to do the same with your spiritual knowledge.
Owning your faith means you intentionally seek to feed your faith and practice it on a regular basis. If you need some help with this, check out my last blog!
Share your faith. In college there will be many opportunities for you to share your faith with others. You will develop new friendships, roommates, co-workers, the list goes on. Show respect for others beliefs, but do not think that doing so requires you to keep quiet about your beliefs and what is important to you. College students are likely to be open to deeper discussions since it is part of the culture of learning. You may also want to consider sharing your faith by taking a short-term mission trip with an organization like Experience Mission or serving as a camp counselor with The Navigators. Both organizations offer trips and/or leadership positions specifically designed for Christian college students. Mission trips are also great volunteer experiences to list on your resume.
Change can be hard! Sometimes you need help. At My College Planning Team, our team of advisors includes spiritual development coaches who know and understand the transitions that teens and young adults face. Contact us to find out more.