BOLD

What exactly does it mean to be bold?

Dictionary.com would describe being bold this way: not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring.

So what exactly does it mean to be bold in your faith?

Recently, I attended a conference through Athletes in Action.  Athletes from all over Ohio and other near states, D1 to D3, came together to dive deeper into their faith and came hopeful to strengthen their own personal relationship with Christ.  The first night was awesome.  We sang worship and got to listen to a message from an amazing author and pastor.

So, I’m expecting this weekend to go about the same as every other weekend retreat I’ve gone to… sing, listen to a speaker, learn, meet new people, and have fun.  This Athletes in Action retreat nailed all of these things on the head but added one aspect that I was not expecting.

They called it an outreach.

We were all gathered together, and one of Athletes in Action staff members told us that we were going to be grouped with different colleges and they were going to send us out into the community to share the good news of Jesus. You would think  that I would be really excited to do this… but I was not.  I actually was angry.  This isn’t what I signed up for.  I just wanted to come, get my fire burning for Jesus again, and go home.  There’s no way that I can just go out into the community and talk with people about Jesus.  They went on to “train” us on how to do this but I still felt nervous, unprepared, and unwilling.  The group from my school was paired with 3 or 4 other colleges and we were sent off to a church near by.

Ugh here we go…

We walked into the church and were directed to a small auxiliary gym, big enough for a basketball court and not much room for anything else.  Kids started showing up a few at a time, and we just got to hangout with them.  Once they all got there (all 15 of them) , we set up an intense game of dodge ball.  It was a blast! College kids integrated with middle school-elementary school kids attacking each other with soft, colorful dodge balls… what’s not to love?!  I got out (more than once haha) and I just thought to myself how cool it was that we got to hangout with these kids.  I remember being that young and really looking up to college kids, and now I get to be that college kid that they look up to.  This is where my attitude for this outreach really changed.  After our fun game of dodge ball, we all huddled up together and got the privilege of listening to one of the college soccer players tell his story.  His testimony.  It was extremely encouraging and hopeful. His willingness to share and vulnerability really got the kids ready to open up and talk about Jesus.  We then split into pairs and were given two or three kids to sit and talk with.  It was absolutely incredible.  We got to just sit and talk with these kids about their lives and their hearts and their journeys with Jesus and we got to share a little bit of our own journeys and God’s truth.

Remember when I said that I was angry that I had to go out and do this?  This outreach actually ended up being my favorite part of the weekend.

This is where I feel like God touched and tested me the most.

God calls us to be bold!

Bold: courageous or daring in the face of actual or possible rebuff

Rebuff: a blunt or abrupt rejection

So again, what does it mean to be bold in your faith?  It means that we need to have courage and need to be daring even knowing that there is a possibility that we will fail.  That we will be rejected.  This is where my disobedience before the outreach was rooted.  It was rooted in fear of failure, not daring courage.  My selfish heart was more concerned with strengthening my own relationship with God, and less concerned with sharing an unconditional relationship like that with other people.

God will never ever put you in a place where you will be overwhelmed by those fears.  In Him we may have total faith and courage to speak his truth.  He finds great joy in your obedience to get out there and share his love and his hope.

When following Jesus you should never feel 100% comfortable.  Yes, 100% loved, forgiven, redeemed, and joyful… but never comfortable.  In a broken world it will be awkward, difficult, and sometimes scary to share the truth of Jesus.  That’s a promise.  So God calls us to step out of that comfortable place with him and get out there and share his amazing love with the world.  Whether you start with a friend or a family member, or you go on a mission trip to another country… news as great as his should not be kept to yourself.  It needs to be shared, and we need to be bold!

Pray for boldness:

Ephesians 6:19-20 (MSG)

And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

 

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Slave To The Restlessness Of Life

Yes, it’s true.  We live in a busy world full of sights and sounds. I so easily find myself getting caught up in the constant go and constant hustle of life, so much so that I turn my back and lose sight of God.  There are so many things here on Earth that interrupt my awareness of God.  There is school work, friends, social media, sports, Netflix, music, and so many other things.  I lose God in my everyday when I don’t search for and find him within my busyness.

When life feels like it is becoming it’s busiest and starts to become extremely stressful (hello finals week and Christmas), Christ is training us in steadiness.  We do not need to be slaves to the craziness and constant hustle and bustle of the world! God wants us to not only be aware of him in our quiet moments, but to continue our awareness of him in all circumstances no matter what.

When new or unexpected things get thrown my way, I typically will forget my awareness of God.  Whether it’s because I’m excited about something, or because something bad has happened.  Don’t let this happen!  Don’t let unexpected events throw you off your course.

Psalm 112: 7

7 They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Remember that God is with you and you can respond calmly and confidently.  It is important to talk to God.  When I feel like my mind is starting to focus on other things and not him, I will pray.  That’s another thing that makes God so awesome, we can just talk to him whenever and where ever we want to.  We don’t need to be in a church or even by ourselves in a room.  We can literally pray at any moment.  As soon as something grabs your attention and you can start to feel yourself turning away, talk with God and he will talk you through it.  You may not feel as though you’re aware fully of him, but just recognizing the drift and talking to him says that you really are.

Isaiah 41: 10

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Knowing this and believing in it is the way of peace.  It will provide peace within the craziest parts of life.

Got A Couple Rips In My Jeans

Francesca Battistelli says it best through her song Free To Be Me:

At twenty years of age
I’m still looking for a dream
A war’s already waged
For my destiny
But you’ve already won the battle
And you’ve got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

When I was just a girl
I thought I had it figured out
My life would turn out right
And I’d make it here somehow
But things don’t always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

And you’re free to be you

Sometimes I believe
That I can do anything
Yet other times I think
I’ve got nothing good to bring
But you look at my heart and you tell me
That I’ve got all you seek
And it’s easy to believe
Even though

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

God doesn’t seek out the perfect.  He doesn’t want the ones who have it all together.  God goes after hearts of the broken, the outcasts, the mess ups, the ones in need of a savior.  This was the greatest news to me.  I grew up in church, yet I never really thought of Jesus loving this way.  Sure I knew that he loved us, but I still always had it in my mind that I needed to get my life together, that I had to fix myself first in order to talk to God.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and for that I am so thankful.  If this were the case, if we needed to fix ourselves before seeking Jesus, then him dying on the cross would lose all meaning and purpose.  Christ put himself up on that cross so that we may be washed completely clean of all of our transgressions. Died for all of our mistakes, for the chaos and messiness of our lives.  He tore the curtain separating us from him and we no longer need to sacrifice in order to receive forgiveness.   It is given to us freely through grace.  God meets us right where we are at.  He doesn’t ask us to change who we are, he doesn’t make us clean up our acts first.  He loves me now.  He loves you now, in all of your beautiful faults.

Christianity as an Action Verb

Grammatically speaking (or typing?) Christianity is a noun, a noun defined on Google as the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.  What would it look like though if we turned Christianity from a noun, to a verb.  That we would actually live out our faith rather than just believe it and talk about it.

James 2: 14-17

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Talk is cheap.  Actions always speak louder than words.  I learned this as a little kid, yet when it comes to actually putting it into practice in regards to my faith I fall short more often than not.  Sure maybe there are a lot of things that I realistically can not do right now.  I’m a poor, college student with student loans hanging over my head for the future, so maybe donating large sums of money is not realistic for me.  Going to school can also keep me from mission work out of the country.  I don’t have the funds and maybe don’t have the time with summer jobs and responsibilities here.  I can come up with a million excuses as to why I can’t serve God in these different ways.  The one thing that I need to remind of myself is that I shouldn’t let what I can’t do, determine what it is that I can do.  Although I may not be able to do huge things, that should not determine whether or not I can do other things for the glory of Christ, and the advancement of His kingdom.  God will throw these opportunities at probably the most inconvenient times for us, but we work on his timing and not our own. It is important to recognize even the smallest opportunities to live out his word and put Christianity into action.

Love is at the very core of Christianity.  We can’t just simply say that with no actual actions of love behind it.  God wants his people to be people of well done, not people of just well put or well said.  Now, this doesn’t mean that God holds us to a list of good deeds and that he will only love us if we do them and get a long enough list.  It simply means that God wants to use us for his mission!  How cool is that? That we have a God that wants us involved in his mission, and that wants to give us purpose and meaning to our lives.

God has given us the green light to help others and to further his kingdom, are we going to believe that we can and allow Jesus to use us to change the world or are we going to live life with a red light mentality and leave Christianity comfortably as a noun?

Ultimate Fix

Okay! I’m following Jesus now.  I can’t wait for my life to be all rainbows and butterflies!  I can’t wait to never face any problems ever again.  Everything is fixed and perfect now that I have Jesus.

Well… no not really.

Yes, we do believe and follow the all powerful God,  but even as believers in Christ we are not immune to suffering.  Jesus never told his followers that if they followed him, everything would be easy and breezy.  He actually told his followers that it would be a very difficult road, that following the way of the world is actually a lot easier.

Matthew 7:13-14

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Following Jesus does not fix all of your problems.  You will still fight with your boyfriend or your family, you will still have money issues, you will still lose loved ones, you will still have an endless amount of trials throughout your life.  Tragedy seems to find us wherever we are, why is that?  Well, God granted us choice and free will when we were created (back to Adam and Eve).  This is where sin was born, we turned our backs on God through our own free will.  But God also gave us the free choice to accept him in our hearts after he sent his only son to die for all of these sins past, present, and future.  So you either will choose to follow God or you won’t but either way you will continue to sin, you will have challenges in relationships, people will hurt you and you will hurt them. Our world is set against us and the devil is actively working to destroy any relationship we have with God. So, what do we do? We recognize who God is, what he has done in the past and what He promises to accomplish at the end of time. We can rest our faith on his promises and on his infallible truth.

These trials that we go through are not simply to hurt us, or make feel bad.  God would never allow that.  He has purpose behind our trials. These trials often have powerful and useful lessons to learn hidden within them.  Trials can…

  • bring you closer to God
  • make you stronger in your faith or other areas in your life that God sees needs attention
  • mature you
  • shed light on God’s perfect eternity
  • humble you

We need to take these trials and freely allow God to change us in these ways.  These trials are God’s training to us, his soldiers caught in ongoing spiritual warfare.  Seek always God and the positives in your struggles and trials and how you handle them will begin to dramatically change.

James 1:1-13

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

[I AM] Shepherd

Psalm 95:7
For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand Today, if you would hear His voice,

What exactly does the word shepherd mean?

  • one who herds, guards, and tends sheep
  • one who cares for and guides a group
  • to watch over, guide, or lead

There are people in my life today that I could classify as a shepherd for me. My boyfriend, my friends, my parents, etc. all embody the definition of a shepherd and each have very similar characteristics.  They are loving, wise, welcoming, graceful, helpful, mature in their faith, and have strong fellowship with me and others.

But why do we need a shepherd?  Can’t I figure it out on my own?  There is no way.  I can’t go through this life alone.  Sometimes I will need guidance.  Sometimes I need to be reminded of truth, and sometimes I just need someone to be there for me in my darkness.

Isaiah 53:6

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

To go astray means to turn from God’s plan to our own.  It means that we are putting our life and hope into things that will ultimately leave us completely empty.  I know that for me, I go astray in several different ways.  I can become apathetic towards reading and towards spending time with Jesus.  I put myself and my own selfish wants and desires before God’s.  And I also find myself putting my hope in worldly things like sports, school, relationships, and acceptance.  All of this really stinks and my sin constantly pulls me back to these things even when I know better deep in my heart.

The great this is that there is hope!  God always brings us back to him! The great I AM is our shepherd and we are his sheep.  He will not let us wander for too long, and he will forever guide, watch over, tend, and care for us.  God does these things in infinite ways.  Some would be:

a. He knows us individually, calls us by name, and goes after us (John 10: 1-6, Luke 15: 4-7)

We can find immense comfort in the fact that goes after us.  He will never leave us to fend for ourselves.  Even if there are others far ahead of you and you feel as though you are falling behind, God will not give up on you.  God will not let you quit, and he certainly will not allow you to lose.

b. He searches for our wounds and heals us. (Psalm 30: 2)

God has incredible healing powers.  He not only can heal our physical bodies when they are broken, but he can also heal us spiritually and mentally.  He forgives us of our sins.  He renews our soul.  He also heals us where we are, and doesn’t make us continue on broken.  Maybe not always on our time, but on his.

c. He leads us where is best according to his ultimate and perfect plan. (Psalm 23: 1-4)

His path for us is perfect.  He will lead us to places where we will find the most life, where we can be the greatest messengers of his word.  We do not need to be afraid of where Jesus is leading us.  All paths of those who believe and love him ultimately point to eternal life with him.

 

 

God’s Voice

I’ve had friends that have talked to me about really hearing God’s voice.  Like he actually talks back to them when they pray.  This was an incredible thing to me; to know that God truly does have a voice and that he can talk to us.  But at that same time it was a bit disheartening because I don’t think that I have ever actually heard God’s voice.

After thinking about this for a little bit, questions began to form in my head.

Is there something wrong with me?  Am I doing something wrong?  Why doesn’t God want to talk to me?  Why can’t I hear him?  Have I just not reached the level of maturity it takes to achieve this?

I just didn’t understand.

But now, the more that I’ve thought about this and the more that I’ve talked about it with other people, I feel like I have finally figured it all out.

God does talk to me.  He just happens to do it in a different way.  It may not be the human to human conversation that I’m accustomed to, but it is no less a conversation.  I pray to God, and maybe I don’t physically hear his voice but I know for a fact that I see it.  I truly believe that Jesus speaks directly to me through situations, through opportunities, through trials, through other people here on Earth, and especially through answered prayers.

1 John 5: 14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

When Jesus answers my prayers he is saying, “Katie, I got your message and I thank you, will do that, can fix that, will be there for, will change that”.  That’s such an incredible thing… that the God of the entire universe is listening to me, and he answers me.  There are billions of people in the world, and he takes time for me and loves me in a supernatural way.  Little me, living in a tiny town in Ohio.

The immensity of our God will forever blow my tiny human mind. He is bigger than I could ever imagine.  He loves in a way that I could absolutely never understand.  God works outside of time and space… like what?  You mean that it doesn’t take him hours to answer my prayers, and he’s not sitting on his prayer email up in heaven stressing out about getting all of these prayers answered in time? (Bruce Almighty reference, thank you Hollywood).  And you mean that he isn’t trying to figure out problems on this side of the world first and then turning to the next and concerning himself there?  Nope.  I mean that God doesn’t have time and he doesn’t need to focus on one thing at a time like we do.  He is God.  I couldn’t be more thankful for this.  That my God is bigger and far far better than any human.  And although it can be frustrating that I don’t completely understand every part of him, I wouldn’t want to follow a God that is simple and can be figured out completely.  There would be no purpose, there would be no glory.

Anxious. Insecure. Afraid.

Alright here it goes.  I’m about to throw my greatest struggle at you guys.

For as long as I can remember I have always deeply struggled with fear. Maybe you’d call it anxiety or insecurity, but whatever it’s referred to as, I think that it all boils down to an internal fear.

Fear of the future

Fear of the unknown

Fear of change

Fear of failure

When faced with situations that spark up these fears I begin to become anxious, shaky, and sometimes I can’t even get myself to eat.  Whether it’s a big situation like going to college, or a small one like getting a nanny job for the summer, I never fail to experience these things.  I hate it.

I don’t know exactly what it is.  Maybe it is a deep set insecurity within me. That I don’t feel like I can succeed.  I can’t handle whatever is thrown at me.  I’m not good enough.  They won’t like me.  Maybe it has to do with stepping out of my comfort level.  I sometimes feel like I can only thrive in an environment where I feel completely comfortable, one that has routine and predictability.  The craziest thing, too, is that I know none of these things are true.  I know that I’m capable, that I’m smart, that I can do anything… but for some reason I can’t shake the feelings of anxiety and insecurity.

Sometimes it is easy for me to feel like I’m alone.  Like I am the only person that has to wrestle with these feelings constantly, but I know that isn’t the case.  It’s actually pretty common.  My goal for this post is to look at what it is Jesus has to say about these things.  My greatest hope is that His words can bring light to those who can sometimes feel trapped in the darkness of fear, including myself.

It is first extremely important to know and to BELIEVE what Jesus has to say about you:

  • You are a child of the one true king (Galatians 3: 26-27)
  • You are unconditionally loved (Ephesians 3: 17-19)
  • You are forgiven (1 John 1: 9)
  • You are accepted (Romans 15: 7)
  • You have been entrusted with the great responsibility of spreading God’s good word to the world (1 Corinthians 9: 17)
  • You are capable (Philippians 4: 13)
  • You are unique and beautiful (Psalm 139: 14)
  • You are perfect in the eyes of the Lord (Hebrews 10: 14)

We have no reason to feel insecure in anything that we do because our God loves us and created us in his own image.  To put down ourselves and to not believe in ourselves is to put down and doubt His perfect creation.  This has to completely break Jesus’ heart.  Imagine that you just painted the most beautiful picture, and you felt as though it was perfect and flawless.  Then when you showed your painting to the world people said that it was ugly and pointed out flaws that you never thought were there.  This is what God has to feel every time we criticize his work.

We also have no reason to fear the world or the future or the unpredictability of life.  Our God is so much bigger than that.  We believe in and are personally loved by the God of the universe.  The God that has a plan for your life.

Jeremiah 29: 11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We should be filled with hope and excitement for our future and even for tomorrow! God has you.  He will not let you fail, he will not take you to any places in your life that he doesn’t think you can handle or that he doesn’t think will help you grow.

Growing up and the future may seem like a scary thing and it’s normal to be a little bit anxious about that, but surely it is not something to fear.  Be excited about it! God has blessed you with these days.  Get out there. Spread his word.  Love others just as Jesus loves you now and forever.  With God behind you you have the power to overcome the lies that the devil whispers in your ear, you have the capability to land that  dream job, you are strong enough to succeed in all that you do, you have the power to move mountains, you have the power to change the world.  All you have to do is love the Lord our God with all your heart and truly believe with the deepest part of your soul the things that he says about who you are and what you can accomplish.

Laziness

Wow is laziness a struggle in my life…

I feel like college has brought out my inner lazy bum.

I’m literally being lazy right now.  Looking at the screen, putting the computer down, and getting on my phone to play Two Dots.  UGH!  It’s not like I want to be lazy, there are just so many other things I would rather be doing like watching Netflix, napping, eating, coloring, pretty much anything that isn’t productive whatsoever.

“Check social media”, “Watch the new season of New Girl”, “Take a nap”, “Have a snack or two”.

These are all things that my mind will constantly wonder to.  Lately, it rarely points me to get ahead in my school work, go get a good workout in, or spend ample time alone with Jesus.  What the heck?!  I know that these things need to be priority, and I know that it would be beneficial for me to do these things, and yet I still don’t always do them.

I know that Jesus is always in pursuit of my heart, so it would be naive of me not to think that the devil is in constant pursuit of it also.  Spiritual warfare is a real thing, and it surrounds us daily.  Although being lazy might not seem like the biggest issue in the world, it is no less an issue.  The devil is constantly placing worldly things in my way in order to keep me from accomplishing God’s work or even from being obedient to Him.  These worldly things give me small bits of satisfaction and comfort, but then leave me empty and stressed out after I realize all of the things I didn’t accomplish that day.

For me, Ephesians helped me realize some things,

Ephesians 5: 15-17

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

God woke me up this morning! He wants me to make the most of it, to spread his word and serve his people.  Sure, Jesus also calls for rest (which is a whole other topic all together), but he also calls for diligence and hard work.  Jesus doesn’t promise us a “kick back and relax” lifestyle when we choose to follow him.  He actually promises us that it’s going to be hard. It’s going to take work.  I for one am thankful that Jesus doesn’t promise a walk-in-the-park life.  If following Jesus was easy, I don’t know if I would have any need or reason for him.  The purpose in my life would no longer be existent in that case.  I am so thankful that Jesus trusts his work in my hands.  It may not be easy all of the time, but what an incredible responsibility.

One thing that I can be sure of is that this temptation of laziness will not simply halt as soon as I graduate college.  It will follow me into my future, and tempt me as long as sin still sits in my heart (which is forever, unfortunately).  I pray for you and me that in those moments where we just don’t feel like tackling life, the Holy Spirit will remind us of Ephesians.  Remind us that God has given us great and wonderful responsibility to use the day we’ve been given to spread his word and love his people.

A Transition & Constant Struggle

“The transition into college is difficult.”

I got this statement a ton in those last few months of high school.  My teachers said it, my parents, my brothers, the students and staff I met on college visits, even my Younglife leaders.  You would think that after being told this so often by so many different people that I would have been well prepared for the transition ahead.

I wasn’t. I don’t think that anyone ever is.

Although you may not know it at the time, high school is easy. Really easy. High school in no way prepares you for sleepless nights, finals week, balancing a social life and school, or being suddenly completely independent.  In high school you have your friends, your parents, your comfortable home, and your own shower (lol). In college you are thrown into an unfamiliar place with people you don’t know and a long list of new responsibilities. And you are expected to figure it out.

Yes, I struggled with the transition from high school to college, but even more so I struggled with transitioning Jesus with me.

Following Jesus in college is a whole new adventure.  And I say adventure because it hasn’t all been struggle.  I’ve also experienced amazing growth and made great strides in my faith along with my struggles, and that’s important to remember and be thankful for.  The most prominent struggle in my life was learning to live and follow Jesus almost completely on my own.  I went from having strong fellowship with several friends, Younglife on Wednesdays, bible study on Mondays, and a new church that I loved to go to on Sundays to having myself, my bible, and my boyfriend.

God definitely did put a blessing into my life before I left for school. My amazing boyfriend.  We met junior year of high school.  He went to college on one side of Ohio and I went to school on the other side.  Even with the distance, he was and still is today a huge help to me in my walk with Jesus.  We read together and talk about what we learned or how we think it could apply to our lives.  That helps keep me accountable for reading and it also allows me to spend valuable time with the Lord.

I did (and still do) love that fellowship that him and I had, but I wanted something more.  Honestly, I wanted something similar to Younglife.  Maybe I just wanted my school to have Younglife, but it didn’t.  This was hard for me.  I would try to get involved in a bible study on campus, but I found that it really just was not for me.  I would constantly compare anything I tried to Younglife, and this caused me to dislike basically all of my campus options for some fellowship.  God was pushing me in a different direction and I wasn’t having it. I didn’t want to have to work hard for my relationship with Jesus, because in high school everything was so easy and available to me.

I strongly believe that God put me on this campus for a reason.  Well, for many reasons actually.  When I was getting caught up in my own selfishness or in the busyness of life or even in worldly lies, I would lose sight of this belief.

I asked God for guidance and help, because I felt myself struggling. Should I transfer schools?  Should I start my own group?  Am I supposed to be leading Younglife?  What do you have here for me?  Of course God didn’t answer all of these questions on my time, he did in his own perfect timing.  It wasn’t until my junior year that I felt as though all of my questions were answered.  This is when he brought me closer together with teammates and other girls. He pointed me towards a new bible group on campus called Athletes in Action and actually provided me an opportunity to help lead it and to help it grow on campus. He started up a separate bible study with just my volleyball girls.  He placed me in a sorority where I am meeting all new people and am constantly challenged and encouraged to love the way Jesus loves.  He put me on a volleyball team that has been hit was some crazy situations that have allowed me to depend even more heavily on him. He continues to show me new and exciting ways I can serve him here on this campus.  His plan is perfect, his timing is perfect, and his love is so perfect.

Don’t get me wrong the struggle of following Jesus in college is definitely still there, but it has become so much more satisfying the more that I just put my trust and focus on him.  Jesus does not promise us an easier life once we follow him.  He actually promises us that there will be hardships and obstacles, and persecution everywhere we go. He also promises us grace, unconditional love, and perfect eternity with the Lord.  All of the struggles are so small in comparison to what the Lord promises us… LIFE TO THE FULL!

What I’ve learned:

  • I had put a lot of my worth and joy and stability in Younglife and those things around me high school and not nearly enough worth, joy, and stability in Jesus.
  • I was absolutely terrified to make this transition into college.  I didn’t have the confidence in myself, I didn’t think that I could do it on my own; make all new friends, live on my own, pass college classes. But God knew myself better than I did.  He knew that I could do it.  He took away my fears and allowed me to begin to believe in myself.
  • That I can accomplish anything in this world, and that I will never have to do it all on my own.  God walks every step with me.
  • God puts you in places and situations that you may not want, but he has a bigger and perfect plan for it.