When I left for college I remember feeling scared but overall excited for this new freedom I didn’t have growing up. You see, I picked a college that was 3.5 hours away from my family and the Indian community I grew up in. I grew up spending all of my free time at church so I was excited to finally experience this world that all my school friends raved about that I never knew. I remember after my first month of college feeling incomplete without a church and a community. So I reached out to a friend in my dorm and decided to start going to church with her. That church became my ‘home away from home’ church for the next 4 years. But as college went on, I fell into a new lifestyle which consisted of going out weekly and becoming this person I didn’t like. I remember one day in my sophomore year just coming to a point where I felt like I was doing everything I saw around me that made others happy but yet I was coming short from the happiness that I saw around me. I was at a point where I felt like God wasn’t so present. I began to think that God was unhappy with me because I wasn’t leading my life the way I was raised so I just ran from Him.
I went home that summer and fell back into the routine of church weekly and one weekend in June my church had a youth conference. I still remember this night so clearly. The speaker talked about how there was so many people that didn’t even know God and his love and its our job as Christians to go on our campus and share, it starts with you! That night my mentor came over to where I was sitting and prayed over me and then said: ‘Let go of the pain your feeling and the things that hurt you.The past does not define you.’ She had no idea what was going in my life but she told me God had led her to pray over me. I came home that night and wrote these words in my journal, and told myself that I would do what God wanted from me.
That August I returned to my college campus for my junior year. As each week went by, I was trying to figure out how I would go about this change. I was involved in a church but there wasn’t really something I felt like fit for me from God. That September, my youth leader told me about how he joined a college ministry, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and he was starting it off on my campus and wanted me to be involved. I decided to attend the meetings they had weekly but still wasn’t sure if this was for me. Until I attended the Fall Conference with this ministry that October and God just broke my heart. That following week the Staff Leader of IV asked to meet me for coffee. I met with her and she told me that she wanted me to become a leader of a small group and to join the ministry. I began to think of every excuse to say no.. I told her how I wasn’t good for this.. I couldn’t possibly be a leader when I used to party every weekend.. I told her that she should ask someone else. She left me that day with some verses, and told me to pray about it. So I did and shortly after praying for a week, I remember hearing that message in my head from the summer, “It starts with you.” I was unequipped, how was I suppose to bring others to Christ when I wasn’t a perfect example of a Christian?
As weeks passed, I felt like God kept bringing me back to this idea of joining leadership for this ministry and so as time went by I finally listened and agreed. I co-lead a bible study with a good friend and then after a semester God lead me to lead an all girls bible study. Through this experience I got to meet so many college students, who like me, moved away from home, who were struggling in their christian walk while being a normal college student. It was crazy how my life experiences shortly became to be a light to others but that was the glory in it all.
I share this with you readers to remind you to not be ashamed to stand out. God calls the unequipped. Where you feel like others might judge, might also lead people to seek Christ because they see where your life changed. Sure, some of you might read this post and know me for who I was three years ago think “oh, where does she come off speaking about God?” but I am no longer ashamed of the girl I was once. My past doesn’t define me. I see my early college years now as a stage in my life where I didn’t know who I was and I searched all over, only to realize I had ran from the one who knew my heart all along. God was always present, in my good days and bad days. Yes, my life took a change but you knew whats the beauty in it all? Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom for us to realize that God is the rock at the bottom of all things!
so who ever you are, I remind you of this, you are more than others may say you are, you, my sweet friend, are who God says you are. You’re being crafted into a beautiful masterpiece..that’s one thing I’m sure of, God does not just settle for average!
chin up, beloved.