By Alyssa Staner |

Many of us call ourselves Christians. We go to church most Sundays, pray frequently and thank God for the endless blessings He has put in our lives. But every day I, as well as many other college students, struggle with what we want with our faith. How can we live through God’s word instead of purely saving our Christianity for Sunday mornings?

There is no one answer to this question. I know this because I had been actively seeking it during my entire first year of college, and had come to of little to no avail.

I am in a constant battle of tug of war with myself— half of me wants to rely solely on God and put all of my trust into His grace. But the other half is still holding on to the college lifestyle: the boys, the parties and the materialistic ideals. I am finding it really hard to let go.

In an effort to find myself through Jesus, I began a journey. A journey based in self-realization, reflection and love. I decided to start my journey by meeting with Burt Burleson, the Baylor University Chaplain, and Dale Wallace, the director and lead pastor of Vertical Ministries.

I was in a desperate need to find some sort of balance between my faith and social lives, but was hesitant and apprehensive because I did not know if the balance I was seeking truly existed.

However, the advice and words of wisdom that Mr. Burleson and Mr. Wallace provided me with transformed my way of thinking and helped me realize that this balance I was seeking is in fact obtainable.

Because of this realization, I feel prompted to give five pieces of advice about ways I personally have found balance and held on to it, no matter how much I have felt tempted to resort to my previous mindset.

  1. Pick a Bible verse that can be your go-to verse for an entire year. It can be something you search for or something that has been tugging on your heart for a while. Mr. Burleson said that whenever he is struggling, he will say aloud, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I included a quick list towards the end of this piece with a few ideas to get you started. 
  2. Do not rush a relationship with God. Nothing good comes easily and taking things at your own pace allows the end result to be so much better than you ever could have believed. All good relationships take time and according to Dale Wallace, “your relationship with Jesus is like any other relationship, and you become like Him the more time you spend with Him.”
  3. Decide to do the things you know you should be doing but are not making time for—this is a big one. We all know we should be partaking in activities like praying and reading the Bible, but often find ourselves falling short and not making time to spend with God. Dale Wallace said that “you listen and know God by reading His words in the Bible, and you communicate with Him through prayer.”
  4. Find a church home in Waco. Surrounding yourself with a group of people all working towards a greater relationship with God will help your relationship with Him in more ways than you can imagine. Burt Burleson touched on this as well, saying that he doesn’t think many of us are “able to maintain significant practices of faith apart from a community. There are things that happen when we worship together with people.”
  5. Live in peace and be still. Once we learn to remain still and know that He is good, Wallace said that it is only a matter of time until we can “turn from sin, confess sin, live in community and experience freedom by abiding in Christ.”

Maintaining a constant faith on a college campus despite at-times overwhelming temptations is something that many students struggle with. This practical advice might seem small, but it truly has made all the difference in my life.

Here is a list of Bible verses that can help anyone who is struggling or looking for somewhere to start:

1 Peter 2:11                                                      1 Peter 5:6-11                                                  James 5:16

Hebrews 10:24-25                                        Proverbs 18:1                                                   Romans 12:1-2

Matthew 5:21-30                                          Genesis 11:1-9                                                 Psalm 119:9-11

Hebrews 12:1-2                                             Hebrews 4:14-16                                           Colossians 3:1-17

John 15:1-11