If you’re in college, you know how crazy it is. With classes, homework, friends, clubs, and sporting events all vying for your attention, it can be easy to start neglecting your time with God.
When I first came to college, I was wholly unprepared for this truth. Sure, I had seen the statistics about 70% of Christian teens losing their faith once entering college and was inundated with articles about the difficulties of maintaining your faith in such a non-faith-based atmosphere, but I always shrugged these off. I knew I would never walk away from God.
While this is partly true, as I never did step away from God in my beliefs and decisions, my faith began to suffer in a different way. There was always a homework assignment to do when I could be reading my bible, social events to go to when I could be going to church. Before I knew it, the busyness of college had taken control of my life and pushed God to the mere corners.
So what can we do to help keep God a priority amid the chaos that is college?
Remind yourself of who God is
When we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of college life, it’s easy to lose sight of why we need God. We may start to feel like we can handle things on our own, that we don’t really need to spend time with Him each day. But this, of course, is so far from the truth.
In John 15:5-6, Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches – apart from Him, we can do nothing. If we want strength (Isaiah 41:10), peace of mind (Philippians 4:6-7), wisdom (James 1:5), or refuge (Psalm 46:1-3), then we must turn to God.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:5-6)
View God as a constant amongst the change
For many people, college is a period of overwhelming change. From new towns to new classes, new friends to new activities, it’s almost as if nothing remains the same. But that’s where God comes in.
You see, while everything around us might be changing, God is entirely unchanging, a steady rock that grounds us despite our external circumstances (Psalm 18:2). When we truly come to terms with this, we’ll begin to rely on Him more and more for the strength we need to navigate this transitional period of our lives.
Schedule your quiet time
From experience, I know that I’m much less likely to sit down and spend time with God when I don’t intentionally schedule it into my day. Just like you would with any other priority, try setting aside a specific time each day to commune with Christ. It might mean waking up 10 minutes earlier or going to bed 10 minutes later, but having this time dedicated solely to God is a great way to make sure He stays part of your routine.
Write down your prayers
Sometimes praying is hard, especially when we have so many other things racing through our minds. That’s why I find that transcribing my prayers works so well. I’m still praying just as I would in my head, but by putting these prayers onto paper, I can ensure that I stay focused and don’t simply zone out after a few moments. This is also a great way to hold yourself accountable and make sure you actually end up praying.
Taking time out of our hectic schedules to slow down and think about our blessings can really help us grow closer to God. When you become aware of the ways in which He is at work in your life, you’ll likely be compelled to spend more time with Him. It doesn’t have to be complicated – try simply jotting down three things you’re grateful for before going to bed or after waking up.
Listen to worship music
If the busyness of your routine has you feeling distant from God, I find that listening to worship music almost immediately helps me feel His presence again. Whether you listen while walking to class, cooking your meals, or just hanging out in your room, having it on is a great way to fill yourself with the Spirit.
Join a bible study or campus ministry
Being surrounded by other people who are eager to grow close to the Lord is an invaluable experience. Jesus expresses the importance of fellowship in Matthew 18:20 when he tells us that “for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." So, with this in mind, look into the groups your college has to offer and make it a point to join at least one.
Put a bible verse where you can see it
On my desk, I have a mini-whiteboard that I use to display bible verses or messages from a sermon that I want to remember. It may seem silly, but seeing these scriptures/messages every time I sit down really helps them stay in my mind as I go about my days.
Above all else, pray. Pray for God to open your heart to want to commune with Him, to give you guidance in navigating your busy schedule, to help you see Him as your most important priority in life. And always remember that no matter how far you may stray, how distant you may become, God will never leave your side. He will always be eagerly awaiting your return with open arms, His love for you no less than before.