- Embrace your faith
- Don’t be a “People Pleaser”
- Stop looking backward
- Start now
- Fail forward
College is an exceptionally unique time in our lives. Four years filled with new experiences, friendships, and the pending “what’s next?” A combination of highs and lows culminates in a refined self, come graduation day. Looking back at my college experience, here are 5 lessons I wish I would have known my freshman year to guide me on the journey that is Getting a Degree.
1. Embrace your Faith
John 3:30 tells us, “He must become greater; I must become less.” Simple enough right? It’s amazing how such a simple command brings forth the understanding of a lifetime of selfishness and bad habits. For a lot of us, walking with the Lord in college is a tough environment. Surrounded by the stress of class, parties, sports, and a million other ways to distract ourselves, so often faith and a higher calling are the first things to go. Now, from the outside looking in, as a 25-year-old “adult”, I would tell my 18-year-old self to lean into God. God is our constant in the valleys and on the mountain top. God is for you, he knows every hair on your head and he knit you together in your mother’s womb. He MUST become greater and you MUST become less. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3.
If you’re looking for direction and peace amidst the turmoil of college, start your day with God.
2. Don’t be a “People Pleaser”
Ahhhh, the famed “people pleaser” seeking affirmation at every turn for their works. If I counted up the minutes, hours, and days I spent grasping affirmation and acceptance, it would amount to a lot of time I could have used productively in a lot of other ways. The following 2 verses changed my mind about people pleasing:
- “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
- “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29:25
God will call us to things far beyond the scope of human understanding. He calls us to selflessness, humility, and sacrifice. These are calls that don’t set us up for worldly success. The world tells us to submit to our superiors, chase selfish ways, and seek affirmation from the people around us. Submit to God, chase selflessness, and seek affirmation of God.
3. Stop looking backward
“Forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you.” Shannon L. Alder. This quote and Galatians 5:1 (It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery) allow us to walk out of the prison cell that sin has created for us. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. Right now! How often do we burden ourselves with the yoke of slavery even though God has given us freedom? Embrace that freedom Jesus bought for us when he died on the cross and look forward to the amazing things he has planned for your life.
4. Start now
There will always be an excuse if you’re looking to find one. There’s never a good time to go after that dream God has placed on your heart and he’s placed it on your heart for a reason. Pray for clarity on your dreams and when you start taking steps He will make your path clear. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. He does not say “most places you go”, but He says, “wherever you go”. He is all knowing, all powerful and he’s with you. But don’t be mistaken, it’s not your dream. It’s God’s dream and he’s working through you to accomplish something greater.
5. Fail forward
Don’t let the discouragement of rejection affect you personally. Yes, it hurts. No, you shouldn’t take it personally. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. God’s word tells us we will have trials. But He has overcome the world. Failures and trials are imminent but if you put your head down and keep God #1, He will lead you to amazing places. From my experiences, those places are often beyond the scope of what we can dream up in the best of ways. Fail forward. Get back up knowing Jesus is right there with you.
Embrace your faith, stop being a “people pleaser”, stop looking backward, start chasing God’s call on your life now, and fail forward. And don’t forget to say thank you to God along the way 😉
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