For a lot of people in America, there is a misconception that floats around in the back of their minds, and this is it:
The college years are the end to any spirituality for the young American adult. Even if you came into college knowing God and pursuing Him, ultimately the challenges of college life will draw you away from that relationship that has developed through out your adolescence. And of course, if you’ve never known God at all, well... then college life will only draw you farther away from Him.
But I think its time we dispelled that misconception, because its not true, at least not in Athens, Georgia.
This is my college story:
I came into college in August 2009 fully aware of God, but not exactly interested in living for him. I was far more interested in getting through college as quick as possible, becoming as financially successful as possible, and one day landing my place in the American Dream. I had a boyfriend. I had a high GPA. I had a five year plan for my career. I had it all under control, and just in case anything failed, God was my fallback plan.
But all the effort that was put into my flawless life plan lasted about two months before the cracks starting showing. My boyfriend broke up with me. My roommate moved out. My grades started dropping. I became homesick. I didn’t have any friends in Athens. My life wasn’t working out quite the way I had planned it. The cracks got bigger and eventually my plan broke into a millions pieces. In the fall of my freshmen year I fell into depression. I was completely alone and had no more plans to rely on.
Instead of moving back home and transferring to KSU like I wanted to, my parents insisted that I finish out my first year at UGA. So I spent the next few months looking for anything that would distract me from the depression. I tried counseling. I tried fraternity parties. I tried going home every weekend. I tried pouring myself into academics. I tried drinking. I tired football games. I tried everything, but nothing was working…The only thing that seemed to temporarily cheer me up each week was my Freshley small group.
Freshley. This place was the only place in Athens where I felt I loved, accepted, and even wanted. These people were the only people who took the time to love me in the worst season of my life. This community was the only thing that gave me a glimpse of hope that first semester of college. The more time that I spent around the people at Freshley, the less the depression seemed to effect me. And another thing happened as well. I realized how much I needed God. God was no longer my fall back plan, he became my only plan as I gave my life fully to him.
In November of 2009 my life took a drastic turn. I began investing in my community at freshley, and I began investing in my relationship with God. Those two things became my biggest priorities. And by March of 2010 I was a completely different person. I went on the Jamaica mission trip. I had a huge community of friends who were not perfect, but were pushing me to go after God more and more. My new life plan was living to glorify God in any situation that He led me to. I loved Athens and I haven’t left since.
Your college experience won’t look exactly like mine, but it also doesn’t have to look like the misconception that our culture will try to convince you of. If you:
1. Invest in a community of Christians and
2. Invest in your relationship with God
you will see drastic differences in your life each year as you grow closer and closer to the Father. Why? Because God has designed us to to transform from glory to glory as we pursue Him, and the majority of that transformation happens in the context of community.
- Devon McCoy