Freshman year in college is incredibly challenging. New faces. New buildings. New routine. The transition can be difficult for some to overcome because the new obstacles push people out of their comfort zones. It can be a scary time. I can attest to that as can many others. College is the time where you really learn about yourself and how you interpret certain situations when they are thrown at you. A lack of confidence and belief in oneself can begin to shake when failure occurs. No one likes to fail. The most important thing to have though is everlasting and constant faith.
I will be fully honest; I am a fairly new follower of Jesus Christ, as I was not raised to believe a specific way. My mother was raised as a Christian so I do understand the basics of Christianity but other than that I’m still learning. And I am learning a lot especially being in the Impact Christian Fellowship at IUPUI worship nights and in the Bible study group every Tuesday morning with Andrew. It is something that is continually opening up my heart, mind and soul too and the people in it make the experience so much more enjoyable. So with that little background about me, I thought I’d share a little story about my journey so far at IUPUI.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” Hebrews 11:1
When I first arrived on campus over the summer I knew I was going to tested. But boy, I did not realize how much my body and mind would be put to the test. Coming in the summer and leaving my close friends and family behind was extremely difficult. Three hours away from home sounded good before I left but I told myself when I committed to this school that I wanted something different. The city would definitely be different. Since no one was on campus yet, I got to know my teammates more through each day of being together and through our weight trainings, conditionings, and open gyms. As a determined freshman, I wanted to prove myself in anyway I possibly could. Things seemed to be working out well until an injury happened. Being raised to just power through and “suck it up”, I played through the injury and thought it would pass. I was very wrong. My decision only made it worse.
A couple weeks into dealing with it I went to the doctors. Achilles Tendonitis they told me. An extreme case. No one ever wants to hear this. A million thoughts started running through my head at once. How long will I be out? What can I do to speed up my recovery? I’m going to gain weight if I don’t workout, what will I do? What will me teammates and coaches think of me? The list goes on. I’ve never dealt with an injury like this before and I didn’t know how to handle it.
To go along with this, the transition from high school workload to college workload was heavily different. I was in the top of my high school class and excelled at doing my work but what I lacked in understanding was how to study. I had to learn quickly if I wished to be a great student-athlete I wanted to be. So now with the injury, my mental stability took a major hit. I did not know what to do and felt so lost and confused on why this happened. I just wanted to prove myself and gain respect from my coaches, teammates, peers and professors and I felt like my chance was being taken away from me.
My confidence was waning greatly. My energy was falling behind. My attitude turned from positive and cheerful to quiet and negative. I just felt like falling apart. I can’t say it was one dawning moment one day where it hit me and I though “Oh I can do this”, but it was a series of events that led up to me following God and his path destined for me. I believed, after talking with some family and close friends, that He was challenging me with something I’ve never experienced before but He knew I would be able to grow stronger from it. I gave into His word to help me build up from were I was. Others who followed Him deeply, gave me words of wisdom and courage to believe in Him and what He has in store for me. To never lose faith because once you lose faith in him, you will never be able to come back to yourself.
I took this to heart and this is when I really wanted to start learning about God and the glorious power He has. I never really understood before what Christian life was like and I’m still learning more today. But I do know that I would not be the same person I am today if I did not fall into His grace. I found strength within Him and found it within myself. I learned my role as a basketball player for my team this season. I may not be the go-to player right now, I may not be the best rebounder right now, but I can be the loudest supporter for the ones who do play. I can be the advice giver when someone desperately needs it. I can be there for anyone who wants to put up extra shots. I can be someone who puts in extra work to get back into the game I love. I fought back and my questions about myself soon disappeared. The smallest things can become the biggest impacts. He taught me a lot about myself and about Him.
Sometimes in life when things don’t go your way or when they seem like everything is falling apart, I say to you, always have faith in Him. For he will guide you with His glory and His word. He wants to challenge you. And from within those challenges you cannot see, He wants you to grow and find something better.
Think about the times you’ve spent countless hours studying for an exam and you sleep through your alarm. You are rushing to your class and your car doesn’t start or run into someone and your drink spills all over you. Think about a time you were just having a normal day and you get a phone call that makes your heart and stomach drop. Think about a time you prepared so long and hard for an interview you really wanted and they ended up not wanting you. You think to yourself why is this happening to me? I prepared. I worked hard. What did I do wrong? Well I say, change your perspective. You may have thought these ways or choices were the best for you but God has different plans. He wants you to learn and grow from decisions you make. So for the exam, He wanted you to rest and maybe take the bus to class so you could meet someone new. For the phone call, He wants you to find strength in Him and look to Him when things seem so confusing. For the interview, He wants you to accept failure in one area and then grow from that and find success in something you may have never imagined.
He works in wondrous ways. I was starting to play more towards the end of the season. My confidence started to come back and I learned a lot about how strong I was through it all. I’m still learning each day in our Bible study group and through the word of God in the Bible. Although I may not be a true Christian at heart, I have faith in God that he will show me his ways each day so I can continue to share them with others. He helped me in more than just basketball this season but in myself as a person and I am forever grateful of Him and his glory.
Allex Brown, IUPUI Lady Jags Basketball Freshman/Member of Impact Christian Fellowhsip