Sweet, Sour, Transform: 10 Things I Would Tell My College Self

The Sweet & Sour Part
Biting into a strawberry. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sour.

Well…that's a lot like college.

You are in and surrounded by temptations of the flesh. But, when it comes down to it, it's not any different than what you could face outside of college. In college, you are just in a bubble where the sour can be more pronounced than the sweet. 

I’ve had moments where my relationship with God fell short of transformational. It wasn’t until closer to the end of my college career that I started building my relationship with the Lord. College brought out sides of me that only God could heal and prepared me for how He was going to work in my life. The truth is, no matter how sweet or sour my college experiences got, God remained consistent. And I have no doubt He will do that for you too. 

Here are 10 things I would’ve told my college self about being a Christian in college:

1) Hardships Will Come.
John 16:33 says that trouble will come. But, as long as we remain in God we will have overwhelming peace. He works all things for good. No matter what you face, give it to God. Stay in His word and stay in prayer. 

2) Do Everything For His Glory. 
“For me” to “For Him.” It's easy to have a “for me” mindset especially since the goal of college is to be scholarly. But when you begin to understand your identity in Christ, you just can’t help but to love God wholeheartedly. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us to give God glory in all we do. Fixing your mind on Him and understanding your identity in Him will lead you to find Him in each thing you do. Just take a step back and ask yourself, “WWJD.” 

3) You Are Not Who/What They Say You Are.
Your identity is found in Christ alone. Your worth is not your failed grade, honor roll, or the rumor that’s being spread around campus. We are reminded in 1 John 4:7-8 and 2 Corinthians 5:17, that our identity is beloved and we are made new in Him. Your worth is more than you could ever comprehend. You are loved by the Most High. 

4) Healing Is Possible Through Him Only.
Regardless of your circumstances, if you’re in college or graduated, healing can be found through the Lord. Lay whatever it is at His feet. Psalm 147:3 tells us that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Note here, that a certain circumstance isn't identified as a prerequisite for God's healing. Healing is for ALL that are brokenhearted. Nothing is too much for Him to handle. 

5) You Are Not Alone.
Yeah, I've had those nights. The nights where you just feel lost. Maybe you haven’t decided what to major in, you're experiencing relationship troubles or maybe you just aren’t feeling fulfilled. Know you’re not alone. This is a common experience for many in college. This is why incorporating God and inviting Him into your day to day life in college is critical. In Isaiah 41:10, God assures us that He will always be with us. We just have to take a second to realize it. This may include making time for Him and sitting in stillness, praying more often, or getting involved in the community. Some of these may be out of your comfort zone, I know they were for me at the time. But when you get a taste of God’s love in these moments, you begin to realize you aren't alone and never will be.

6) It Isn’t Eternal.
Reminder, you’re going to graduate. College isn’t forever. Whether it was a great experience, a horrible one, or a mix, college isn’t forever. But, your relationship with the Lord is. Jeremiah 29:11, which I proudly decorated my graduation cap with, makes it clear that God plans to give us a future of hope. Isn’t that refreshing and freeing? We are never stuck in anything of this world forever–just His eternal love. 

7) Make Time For God.
Want to see busy? Look at a college schedule. Classes upon classes, events, extracurriculars, sports practice. You can do it all…until you burn out. A simple tip for burn out–make time for God. In making time for God you are doing what’s best for you in every way possible. “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11). For everyone, this could mean something different, like praying more, attending church more regularly, or serving in the community. And if this means intentionally blocking out time in your color coded planner just for God, do it. You won’t regret it. I promise. 

8) Dwell In Downtime. 
Speaking of busy schedules, have you ever had that suspicious break in your schedule where you feel like you should be doing something? Those moments are very precious. Use that time accordingly with God. Be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10). These little moments are sacred for you and God to connect intentionally. 

9) Get Outside The Bubble & Inside the Bible.
Your favorite cafe, your hometown, a park. Literally, anywhere away from the noise that you’ve been consumed in for the past week. Getting off of campus at least once a week is a nice reminder that there is more outside collegiate life (Psalm 62:5). There is a world waiting for you to project that Jesus light. 

10) Surround Yourself With Good Community.
The keyword here is “Good.” This means people who bring out the best in you. People who bring you closer to Jesus. Surround yourself with them and let your Jesus light shine. Don’t be afraid to lose people. God hears conversations you don’t and sees things you don’t. I have often found that every time people walked out of my life, beautiful godly people walked in. This is part of spiritual maturity and transformation. 

God will never let you do life alone. As my favorite Christian author Jennie Allen always says, we are meant for community. And as my all time favorite book says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). 

Beyond The Sweet & Sour: Transform 
To my undergraduate and graduate friends, holding that degree feels great, but holding God’s love and pursuing His purpose for your life is extraordinary. Let Him transform you!

Elevated Faith Ambassador, 
- Ziera // @zieramarie 


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