Between busy college schedules and frequent temptations, we may find it difficult to remain faithful. Here are 8 tips for strengthening your relationship with God during these trying times.
Integrate into the community.
Engage with your peers by joining a youth group on campus or going to Church with friends. My friends and I have a ritual to go to Mass at 10 a.m. on Sundays then have brunch together afterward. It’s something to look forward to at the beginning of each week and it gets me in the right mindset for the rest of the day.
Talk to God like you would talk to a friend.
Just like your best friend, God is there for a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, figuratively speaking, of course. Tell Him about your troubles with your significant other, how lonely you feel when you’re stressed or how excited you are about acing that exam. Have a conversation with Him. Although we can’t hear a response, God shows us signs that He is always listening. We just have to look closely.
Read the Bible.
The Bible is the Word of God, thereof, it has amazing advice for every situation. When you fear the future, read Jeremiah 29:11 or Proverbs 3:5-6. When you are worried, read Philippians 4:6. When you are tired, read Matthew 11: 28-29. When you are heartbroken, read Psalm 147:3. When you need strength, read Philippians 4:13. When you have low self-esteem, read Proverbs 31:10. When you need confidence, read Psalm 46:5 and Proverbs 31:25.
Sing a Hymn.
Take, O Take me as I am. Summon out what I shall be. Set your seal upon my heart and live in me.
The first time I heard this hymn was during The High School Leadership Institute (High-LI) in 2014. Ever since, it has held special meaning to me. Whenever I fear the unknown or begin doubting my ability to pursue God’s Will, I sing this hymn to myself. Through the lyrics, I ask God to give me the strength to fulfill His plan and to let His love flow through me and pour out onto others. I always feel comforted afterward.
Try singing this hymn or find one of your own that can bring you a similar sense of comfort and hope.
Write away your worries.
Writing is a great way to unwind after a long day and reflect on your choices. Dedicate time to journal, even if it’s only five minutes a day. It is one of the few ways you can witness change within yourself.
Spread little acts of kindness.
Be a part of the Pay It Forward movement. Be kind. Pray for others. Smile to everyone you see. Leave notes for your roommates when you know they are having a rough week. Buy the next person’s coffee. Leave spare change for someone else to do laundry. Every action, no matter how small, can have a great impact on someone else’s day.
Start your day with the desire to be happy. An easy way to do this is by counting your blessings when you wake up. Thank God for providing you with this beautiful life to live, clean water to drink, food to eat and shelter from the harsh conditions of the outdoors. It is important to do this because it puts your entire day in perspective.
This is the hardest act to do. It becomes easier if you make it a habitual practice. Take time to pause and reflect on the grudges you may be holding.
“You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you realize that you have forgiven completely.” -William Paul Young, The Shack
Remember, forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiveness does not excuse any wrongdoings upon you. Forgiveness is not about the other person at all; it’s about freeing yourself from the hurt and anger you are holding onto.