Seriously, hold on tight. Buckle up, saddle up, giddy-up – whatever you want to call it. Just get ready.
I came to college a little bit broken. Actually, I think fragile is a better word. I’ve always been like that, but a month ago, heartbreak made me especially vulnerable.
On the other hand, I had gained a sort of strength and confidence because of that heartbreak during my last week or two at home that I hadn’t shown in a long, long time.
When something breaks you, if you want to not only move on but to thrive and accept with enthusiasm and excitement every opportunity presented to you, you have no choice but to utilize every ounce of certainty you have within and piece yourself back together.
However, picking up the pieces while transitioning to a whole new world brings the challenge of not leaving the important pieces behind. The important pieces being family, best friends, and - perhaps most easily left behind and that which I’m guilty of forgetting - faith.
After being so involved in and so in love with Inland Hills Church back home, I had no doubt that my relationship with Jesus and my faith could stand any test God presented to me. But sometimes - if not many times - His tests evoke feelings of instability, uneasiness, and most definitely confusion.
I stepped onto Cal Poly’s campus with timidity and uncertainty. Yes, I was beyond thrilled to be here and unbelievably thankful for such an opportunity, but I was scared.
And, like I said, I was fragile. I was vulnerable.
No, I didn’t go out and party every night. Or ever, to be honest. I didn’t completely lose myself, but my view of who I am became a little blurry, and I couldn’t figure out why. I had packed everything – all my clothes, shoes, books, school supplies, plenty of pictures and even my stuffed animals. My fragile heart – I understood – and I knew it’d heal itself with time. My wobbly morals – I was a little confused about.
Of course, college is just hard and I think I speak for many people when I say it’s tough academically, physically and emotionally. Leaving for college requires maturity in the ability to make such a decision, determination to devote a much larger chunk of time to school work and confidence and trust in knowing that God is carrying out His plan (check Jeremiah 29:11).
I only needed to pack the last thing on that list, and I prayed and prayed I wouldn’t forget it. I thought I packed it, but maybe it got lost on the way up here. I’m not sure.
My new friends and my roommates are all so awesome and I could not be more blessed where I am – I live in the best dorm, I have the perfect class schedule, and I live in the city with the world’s greatest farmer’s market (and let’s not forget the boys here…). What more could I ask for, right?
For some reason, I still felt a little uncomfortable. At first, I figured it was just the new environment – being away from my family and friends, studying for hours on end, running around like crazy sometimes wishing the days had just a few more hours in them – but after a while that didn’t seem like the answer. I tried to get out more, to get dinner with friends, to meet new people – everything. No matter how much I was out of my dorm, how many times I smiled and laughed at jokes with my friends, or even how many (incredibly) cute boys I met, I still went to bed feeling like something was missing but not knowing what that was.
Laying in bed one night, exhausted from classes, walking/riding my bike around campus (Cal Poly’s hills will kill you) and studying, tears rolled down my face as I realized what I had forgotten.
How do I forget my bible – the book I was most attached to? I asked myself as I reached over and grabbed my teddy bear, looking for something that would give me some feeling of relief, something I could squeeze, something from home. It was more than just my bible that I had forgotten. It was my faith, too.
About a week later, I rode with my wonderful roommate Su to Cru, a local church about a mile away from Cal Poly that holds services specifically for students. As I stood and remembered the lyrics to each song, I couldn’t help but reach my hands up in hopes that God would see me, that He’d toss me another bible, that He’d refill the faith I’d forgotten – the faith I needed.
And He did. I prayed – asking for forgiveness, strength, more forgiveness, courage, individuality, more forgiveness, confidence, and so many other things.
Most of all, I just prayed that I wouldn’t ever forget my faith again, no matter where God takes me. Now I know what not having that part of me feels like, and I never want to feel it again.
Through this, I learned to hold on to everything I love and value. My parents, my family, my best friends, my passion for cooking, my blog, my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ – everything. I can’t run the risk of losing any of those aspects of my life.
Yes, college is hard – with or without faith. I won’t deny that. But wrap yourself around what’s most important to you.
Hold on to it tightly, because if you lose it – whatever it is – you could lose yourself.
Amazingly, I am blessed with a Father who will never turn me away no matter how many times I forget my bible at home or how many times I can’t find my faith amidst the mess of textbooks, dirty clothes, college homework, friends and stress.
All I needed was God. Scratch that – all I need is God.
So here’s my point…
Wherever you go, don’t forget what you love and what makes you you. Pack it in every pocket, in every suitcase, in every little crevice you can find, because you’ll need it. Thankfully, God replenished my faith and is continuing to do so day after day.
He’s awesome, Cal Poly is awesome, and life is awesome.
Thank you, God. I hope I’m making You proud.