My dad had just dropped me off in this very unfamiliar, very intimidating small room I am supposed to call home for the next year. At this point I had only met my roommate once before and knew no one else in my entire dorm. No one knew my backstory, I had no labels put on me yet. My identity was undefined.
College is an exciting time filled with opportunities. You can join countless clubs and meet new people and reinvent yourself. As a Christian girl in college, it can be hard to figure out just what role your faith is going to take in these next four years of your life. No one is forcing you to go to church, Bible study, or youth group. Your identity becomes what you make of it.
what does the Bible say about our identity?
There are countless verses that repeat that our identity is found in Christ. John 1:12 says
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
Our identity becomes defined as a child of God. That identity will not fall away in times of trouble, like so many of the earthy things we put our faith in. Since we now know our identity is found as a child of God, how do we go into college and keep it that way? Colossians 3: 1-3 says
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God
what does this mean for my time in college?
This verse says to set our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things. This means our ultimate identity is in Christ so hearts and minds should be pursuing things that bring glory to God, not glory to our self. The world will tell us to be self serving, but if our hearts and minds are on God, his Spirit will guide us to being servant hearted. In college it can be easy to find our identities in things that are fleeting. Grades, clubs, and social lives are all easy places where my identity can start to be found in if my heart and mind is not on God.
There are a few tips I have learned for keeping my heart and mind, and my identity found in Jesus.
Fruitful and Faithful Friendships
Finding friends that shared my same values and inspired me in my walk with Christ was the most important part of keeping my identity. My friends became my solid ground in good times and bad. We could talk about our favorite Netflix series and how our prayer life was doing all in one conversation. While that may sound small, it is incredibly important in a college culture. Having friends who are living for God and not the world creates a deeper relationship. It allows for vulnerability, for compassion and for radical love.
I also chose to join a Christian organization on my campus my first year, and to be involved in a Bible study. These girls became some of my best friends, and future housemates when I moved off campus! I then chose to lead my own Bible study, and use what I had learned about finding my identity with younger women on campus.
Cultivating a Rich Devotional Life
I would not expect any of the relationships in my life to flourish if I never spent time with them. The same is with my relationship with God. I have discovered the more I spend time in the word, in prayer, or just in silence listening, the deeper my love for Jesus grows. My identity becomes strongly rooted in who I am as a child of God. I make time during the school year in the mornings to read the Bible and to spend time in prayer. I do this because I find that at a wait, my life becomes busy with school, work and other responsibilities.I can often forget until very late that I need to spend time with God!
How has your walk with God been impacted by college? I’d love to hear from you!