“Going to a Christian college would be taking the easy way out.”
My very own lips uttered those words two years ago when my college search began.
After attending a public high school and being the leader of the Fellowship of Christian Students, it seemed silly to move from a place where I was able to share my faith as part of the minority, to attending a university where everyone would think the same way I do. Ha! Maybe surrounding myself with other Christians would simply be “taking the easy way out.” This wouldn’t be enough of a challenge to my faith.
I was so very wrong. In fact, my experience has been the opposite.
The change of heart occurred when I decided to study Youth Ministry, around the same time that I realized it is nearly impossible to acquire this major at a secular school. Eastern University was a perfect fit.
All summer I waited anxiously as move-in day drew closer. Senior year of high school had been simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. While my faith in God’s existence never quivered, the way I lived in response to that faith did. I allowed my relationship with God to suffer because it was no longer first on my list of priorities. Things like friendships, homework and work began to consume me, leaving God in the dust. As far as looking ahead to college, my class schedule was figured out, my roommate was figured out and I had a beautiful perception of what college life would be like: Bible studies, classes, studying, hanging out with friends, worship and an easy opportunity to grow deeper in my relationship with God. Coming to college would “fix me.” My perception, again, was wrong.
Somehow, I thought that the spectacular combination of being an independent college student and living on a campus filled with other believers would make it effortless for me to completely devote myself to God. This is quite the contrary.
I’ve trained myself to pretend that going to Wednesday morning Chapel, Wednesday Night Worship and trying out a new church each week is enough to make me feel like I’ve committed enough of myself to God, but “enough” isn’t enough anymore. My personal devotion time is scarce. Just because professors begin class with a prayer doesn’t mean that the class makes me any more, or less, spiritual than I was before it started. I was a fool to believe that my thoughts, faith, lifestyle and relationship with God wouldn’t be challenged.
I’ve taught myself to accept my own excuses for pushing God aside, all the while struggling to manage the difficult equilibrium between sleep, work and friends. I haven’t even tried to balance personal time with God. Just because I am enrolled in and residing at a Christian campus does not mean that Jesus is automatically integrated into everything I do. Just because we are students at Eastern University does not give us the right to be complacent and assume that our “Christian slack” will be made up for elsewhere, including and especially by our mere presence on a Christian campus. Just because we learn about “Faith, Reason, and Justice” doesn’t mean that it has any impact on my life – unless I let it.
I have to let it.
What if we were intentional about waking up every morning and giving each moment of our day to God? What if we were intentional about humbly carrying the burden of the cross everywhere we walked, and stood as if we were “standing on holy ground” (Ex 3:5)? What if we were more active members of the greater community, practicing what we preach relating to faith, justice and reason? What if were more proactive in allowing the messages at Chapel and the campus worship to actually permeate into our lifestyle and resound in our hearts?
Rather than waiting for our lives to be miraculously transformed by the faith of those around us, we passionately and steadfastly should seek out who Jesus is for ourselves. It is then that we will be “fixed,” and rescued from the shallow depths of our pretend faith, because all we have to offer will never be “enough,” His grace is.