I was asked to write a blog post for Impact and I believe this was partly because everyone knows I am not good at saying no to things, but this was something that I felt like God was calling me to do. I have an extreme hatred towards any writing of any kind and I knew my time was coming to be asked to write a post, but I am happy that I was given the nudge I needed to put my faith down on paper. I was unsure what to write about, going back and forth between the topics of what life groups are all about and how intramurals are a great way to have fun and get connected with fellow Christians, but I finally felt like God was calling me to just write my testimony and my story over my time in college. While it has only been three semesters, I have gained a new appreciation for the people God has surrounded me with and how they have helped me with my faith.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I have heard this verse all my life, but I never realized how true it was until I began to see how God was using my troubles and uncertainties in life to help me grow as a Christian. This semester in our life groups, we have been studying the book Know Why You Believe. Over the past few months, my faith has grown and matured much more than I thought it could, but this did not happen without some bumps along the way.
My faith had never been tested while I was growing up. I grew up in a Christian household, went to church every Sunday, and went to schools where Christianity was the main religion throughout the community. It was not until I came to college that I realized this is not how everyone grew up. I met a lot of people my freshman year and these people ranged from the strongest Christians you would ever meet to people who had never had the name Jesus Christ mentioned in their homes before. My older sister was involved with an on campus ministry I had never heard of, but she told me I should join and become a part of a life group. This on campus ministry happened to be Impact and it helped me feel more at home on campus, surrounding myself with fellow believers.
I began to invite some of my other friends to Impact and I felt like I was doing what God wanted me to through this, but then these friends started asking questions about religion. Growing up in a Christian community, I assumed I had all the answers without this ever being tested. I realized when these questions were finally asked that I was not prepared. I did not have all of the answers and facts I thought I did. I began to have doubts about my faith and everything I had learned about Christianity. Around this time, I was asked to lead a life group for Impact. I was informed that the title of the book we would be studying was called Know Why You Believe and when I first heard this title, I thought that all of the new questions I had about religion would be answered, but all of my studies over the summer produced was more questions. This was frustrating and many times I just felt like giving up. It was not until the semester started and we began to meet for life group that my confidence with the material began to grow.
I realized by taking each topic week by week and not trying to understand everything at once was essential to the growth of my relationship with Christ. I have realized through this journey of questions and doubts that it is okay to feel this way. No one has all of the answers, but this is where faith comes into play. If all of the answers are given to you, then there is no need to believe or put your faith into anything. Through this semester my faith has grown beyond what I thought possible and this is due to the people God has put into my life. If I have one thing I want you to takeaway from reading this, let it be this: do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. God is calling you to become the person he has planned from the beginning for you to become. He has surrounded you with fellow believers who will help you in your walk. All you have to do is not be afraid to take that first step. There will be bumps along the way and your faith will be tested, but you will come out the other side with your faith strengthened and a trust in Christ beyond anything you could imagine.
Cory Hagemier, VP of Student Life, Impact Christian Fellowship at IUPUI