College has always been a time of change. You graduate high school feeling on top of the world and then all of a sudden you are thrust back into unknown, unfamiliar territory. For some, this transition is overwhelming and can induce a downward spiral. For others, it is the perfect opportunity to grow in God’s image. While the choice seems obvious, it is often not. For me, college proved to be an unlikely time to find my faith.
October 23, 2017 is a day I will forever remember. I sat in the crowd at West Park Christian Church listening to one of Andrew’s sermons just like I do every month. However, this day was different. I watched as my peers took their own leap of faith and got baptized and tears streamed down my face. For years, I had yearned for the sense of belonging, for true unforgiving love. For even longer, I ignored the call of God. But on this night, I decided once and for all that I wanted more. I wanted to be just like them.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call. - Acts 2: 38-39
But my journey with faith did not start here. In fact it started many many years ago. Like many of you, my journey with faith technically began as a kid. Every Sunday, my mom dressed my brothers and I in our Sunday best and we headed off to Sunday School and service. However when I was growing up, faith was a difficult concept for me to grasp. Although I sat in church for years, I was only there because mom dragged me out of bed. I definitely did not lead a Christian lifestyle, nor did I really even know what it meant to be a Christian. There were times when I yearned for something more and would attempt to turn to God, but it never quite stuck for me.
In high school, I really hit rock bottom. On the outside, I had it all together. I was the salutatorian and an active member of the student body, but on the inside I was crying out for help. I went to a school where the halls were filled with thousands of people, but I had never felt more alone in my life. I tried to fill the void with anything and everything. But as you can imagine, this life of sin only further distanced me from happiness. As Zack Inman would say, the hole in my heart was God sized, I just didn’t know it yet.
Create in me a clean heart. O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. - Psalm 51:10
I came to college with the same mentality. Months went by and nothing changed. However, I branched outside of my comfort zone and started talking to new people and attempting to establish genuine friendships. Lucky for me, it just so happens that everyone new I met happened to be a Christian. As I spent time with them, I couldn’t help but notice that something was so vastly different about them. I could see that they were genuinely happy, upbeat people, and I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by this positive energy. After long and careful consideration, I finally came to the conclusion that they were all different because of Christ’s light within them. I knew that I wanted to be more like them. At the time, it didn’t feel possible to make the change because I was so lost that there was no way I could ever find my way back. Instead of trying to find my way, I became lost in a new way, lost in Him.
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. - 2 Timothy 2:22
Eventually, I went to my first Impact night of worship, more or less I was dragged by my new friends like I used to be dragged to Sunday school by my mom. However, that night the message was about wanting to know God and ever since then I’ve been at every night of worship. Impact ignited in me a fire to serve the Lord. This semester I joined a life group and have really enjoyed growing with the same people who inspired me to do so in the first place. I have never felt more loved and more accepted by a group of people in my life.
I found faith at an unlikely time, in an unlikely place, in unlikely people. I used to think that God would call out to me in some grand way. I used to think the only way he’d get His word to me was by sending me a message I could not ignore. Instead I have found that God does not always give us blatant messages, instead he gives us each other.
On December 2nd, 2017, I took my own leap of faith and was baptized. This was just an outward proclamation of a change that has already happened in my heart.
For the first time in my life, I’m in. All in. And I’m never looking back.
Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely a human point of view. How differently we know him now!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! - 2 Corinthians 5: 14b-17
Liz Drummond, Student in Impact