Jennifer Zuniga Opinion Editor
I hid my relationship with the Lord for 1 year and a half when I came to college. Before coming to Eastern, one of the things I feared the most was having to find a church and a community here on campus. I heard stories about people slipping away from their faith when they got to college, and eventually found a home in places they shouldn’t have. I remembered my first church family back home praying that I would find a community here. At that time, I didn’t realize the importance of a community; all I really knew was that I needed a community, so I could grow my relationship with Christ.
Once I got here, I was on a mission to find a community. However, things turned around when all the Christian organizations would meet at a time frame in which I couldn’t attend. To make things worse, it wasn’t helping because I stopped attending church altogether as well. I knew that my spiritual well-being was at its lowest. During that time, I felt lost, broken, and distracted. A big chunk of my identity was hidden in the depths of the ground. I looked for myself in places that I shouldn’t have; for example, connecting more with the social media world.
I vividly remember going back home for my Winter break last year in December 2018. I was excited to go back to church. During worship time, my church sang “Take Courage” by Bethel Music and Kristine Dimarco. As much as I wanted to worship the Lord, I couldn’t. I felt myself choking on the words that I couldn’t profess out loud. All I could do was stand there. There’s a part of the song that goes like this: “Sing praise, my soul,/ Find strength in joy / Let His Words lead you on / Do not forget His great faithfulness / He’ll finish all He’s begun”. Once I heard this part, I began to cry.Someone named Robin at my church came to me and gave me this big hug, which helped. At that moment, I felt loved beyond compare. After she hugged me, I remember finding the courage to start singing. It was beautiful. For the remainder of my break, I made sure to make more time towards the Lord, I started to read my bible and pray more often. By the end of my break, I was presented with this fear in my heart from knowing that I could slip up again. In short, I wasn’t ready to come back on campus It began to weigh heavy on me.
Once I came back on campus, I found myself slipping back to my old habits. I found myself lost, broken, and distracted once more. There was this urgency to continue my search for a community. After not finding a community on campus, I was placed into contact with this woman who was the pastor’s wife at a church called “The Bridge.” One Saturday afternoon, I talked on the phone with her for hours. She ended up inviting me to her church, so I went the next day. I insistently felt at home. It didn’t take long to get involved. This helped me tremulously during the week. I started to grow in my relationship with Christ and felt like I was beginning to blossom into this flower. This enabled me to feel like myself again.
If you are struggling when it comes to your faith as a college student and don’t have a community, please search for one. It is important for you to find one, so you can grow in your relationship with the Lord. Your college years are about growing your relationship with the Lord. It is very important that you continue to grow in that area. Trust me, you will thank me later. Start prioritizing your relationship with the Lord and you will see changes in your life that you thought could never be possible.