What was the best part of freshman year?
So many people have asked me this question. And it’s honestly hard to find an answer because numerous people and experiences went in to making my freshman year as great as it was.
Yet as I look back, the LORD has opened my eyes to see the one thing that far surpasses everything.
The best part of freshman year was an answered prayer.
Back in August, before I set out on this crazy adventure, I asked the LORD for tremendous spiritual growth. Growth that would shake the very ground beneath my feet and penetrate even the deepest depths of my heart.
And as I look back on this past year, God has opened my eyes to see how He not only answered this prayer, but granted my request above and beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined.
He exposed parts of me I had buried and revealed my weaknesses. It was hard. He called me to be patient, to trust without limits, to believe without doubt. Yet as He moved in my life, my vision gradually began to shift from a worldly/me focus to a God and His Kingdom focus.
I’m not there yet, in fact, I’ve got a long way to go. But my God moved in ways that I can’t even describe.
I’ve struggled to find the right words to justify all He’s revealed to me during this time. But by His grace, I’ve found some words tonight. So without further adieu, here are 10 things the LORD taught me during my freshman year of college:
- He knows best. This may seem obvious to Believers. It’s easy to say but way harder to believe. I like to be in control of things, but the LORD has shown me the importance of surrendering all to Him. His viewpoint on everything is infinitely more extensive than our own. We only see a reflection as in a mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12), He sees the real deal.
- He is who He says He is. God says He’s faithful because He is faithful. He says He’s gracious and compassionate because He is. He says He is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine because He can. His love truly does have the power to cast out fear. God is God and there is none like Him. We must always live in faith that He is who He says He is, regardless of our changing moods.
- I am who He says I am. God gives His children new identities (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are completely forgiven and completely free. Because of Jesus, we are no longer slaves to sin or to the enemy. We are no longer condemned or separated from God. We are welcomed with open arms, not because of anything we have done, but because of His mercy. We are no longer rejected and no longer living for ourselves. He has washed it all away and called us His own.
- He doesn’t give us anything HE can’t handle. I’ve heard it said that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. But I don’t believe that. I believe God doesn’t give us anything that HE can’t handle. We can’t do everything He calls us to do. The judges, prophets, and disciples mentioned in the Bible could never have accomplished what they did by their own strength. But with God’s power living within us, nothing is impossible. (Read 1 Corinthians 1:8-11)
- I’m not here to get a degree. I’ve sometimes found myself questioning why I’m spending four years at college when I could be out in the world serving God in all kinds of capacities. But the LORD has shown me throughout this past semester that I’m not at college for me. I’m not at college to get a degree, although it’s definitely a plus. I’m here for Him and I’m here for people who need Him. I’m here to know Him more and make Him known more. I’m here to spread His love and speak His Truth. I’m here to make disciples.
- He doesn’t give me everything I ask for, and that’s okay. Psalm 84:11 says God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. And after these past two semesters, I truly believe that. God has shown me the freedom found when we lay our requests before Him and then ask for His will above our own. If He doesn’t give me what I want, it isn’t because He’s withholding His goodness from me, it’s because He knows it isn’t good for me. The LORD knows what will ultimately be the making or breaking of us. What may be good for someone else may not necessarily be good for us. God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves, so just trust Him.
- His grace is enough. I’ve always had a hard time letting His grace cover me. It’s just so hard to comprehend the fact that the God of all Creation wants to give me–a sinner who is constantly striving for but never attaining worthiness–the gift of grace. But that’s what grace is–a gift (Ephesians 2:8). It’s not earned. It’s not attained by my own efforts. It’s not given to me because of who I am, but because of who my God is. During this year, He’s been showing me the freedom found when I open my arms to receive the grace He’s freely extending to me. He has more than enough grace to cover me, and that is simply mind-blowing.
- Discipline is a gift. The LORD disciplined me like never before during freshman year and I’m extremely thankful. It wasn’t easy. It was even painful at moments, but it was an answer to my prayers. It was necessary to experience discipline in order to experience growth. Embrace His discipline because the LORD disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12). It was a gift that I’m forever thankful for.
- I’ve got a long way to go. But I’m not hopeless. I know who my God is and I’m confident that he who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
- Home is where God is. I’ve always been a homebody. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my fair share of adventures, but I truly believe there’s no place like home. So, needless to say, I struggled moving away from home back in August. But my struggle did not escape God’s notice. Perhaps the most heart-warming lesson He taught me this past year is that home is wherever He is. It’s not a building or a physical location. It’s not a certain city. Home is found in the warmth of His embrace. Home is found when I’m on my knees in prayer. Home is found when I’m worshipping with the Body of Believers. Home is found wherever He is, and the beauty of that truth is that my God is with me everywhere I go (Joshua 1:9).