by Stephanie Burley Advisory Member, Women of Worth
A busy summer is winding down, and school bells across the country have rung in another academic year. While many youngsters are heading back to familiar classes and teachers, others are facing all new circumstances. And then there are the 2014 high school graduates. On behalf of Women of Worth, let me say congratulations to the Class of 2014! Many of our young ladies turned the tassel earlier in the summer and some of them are embarking on what is likely one of the most scary and exciting experiences they have faced up to this point - college! Whether staying at home and commuting to a local community college, moving to another town or another state and living in a residence hall, enrolling in a large university, or choosing a smaller Bible college, change is inevitable. And change can be difficult.
The transition from high school to college is unique to each individual, but there are some basic principles that can help each of us as we face new circumstances. These principles can apply to anyone who is finding themselves in a season of change.
Look ahead more than you look back. For the new college student, the first few weeks away from home can be flat out tough. Even though you are surrounded by people, those for whom you care the most may be miles away. The comforts to which you've grown accustomed are no longer there. At every turn, things are different. The temptation is to allow one’s mind to be consumed with longing for the people and places you love and miss the opportunities for new experiences and relationships. There is nothing wrong with looking back. Reminiscing does the heart good. However, during a season of change, it can be beneficial to use one’s mental and emotional energy to focus forward. Look for those who share your values and begin to build friendships that will be strong and safe. Become involved in campus activities that align with your interests and help you to stretch and grow. Immerse yourself in what God is doing in and through you currently and expect great things for the future.
Create a balanced schedule. Although professors will do their part to present you with a schedule for their individual classes, it will be up to you to coordinate all your class, employment, personal, and social schedules. Personality type plays a huge role in how we each create and follow our schedules, and there is not one “right” way, but the important idea is that you find a way that works for you and remain flexible in case of needed adjustments along the way. Maintaining a strong relationship with God is of utmost importance during these times of change, and time with Him should be factored into the schedule, preferably before other “important” things have a chance to crowd in.
Measure all things by the Word, not the world. Whether you are in a Bible college or a public university, you will face challenges to your faith. In the public setting, there will be peers with values that are not Biblical, professors who do not see God as the ultimate authority (and likely deny His existence altogether), and situations that threaten to shake the very core of your spiritual foundation. A Christian college or university should be staffed by professors whose teaching aligns itself with Scripture, but even in the best of environments, faith will be tested. Whether by professors, peers, or circumstances, God will allow us to face periods of strengthening (otherwise known as opposition). Unless we are vigilant, the tendency is to begin to measure ourselves, our values, and our actions by our environment rather than by the timeless, unchanging principles of the Bible. Let’s let the Word, rather than the world, be the filter through which all decisions pass.
Rest in the knowledge that God is in control and His plans are perfect. In our humanity, we want to know the future all at once. Rarely does God give us information in quantities that large, and honestly, who could handle it?! To some, He has given an unmistakable calling.Others may only be given a little direction at a time. Be assured, whatever God is leading you toward, He will be faithful to guide you gently and perfectly. If you are walking in the Light, seeking open doors and ministry opportunities, and communing closely with the Father, He will reveal His plans in His perfect time. Karen Ehman said, “God’s job is to unfold our future. Our job is to trust and glorify Him as He does.”
One of my favorite Scripture passages is found in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV),
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
My prayer is that you will find fulfillment and contentment in this new season of life. What an exciting journey this will be! Don’t forget to connect with Women of Worth through this website and our other social networks. We will do our best to provide encouragement and fun along the way.
To celebrate this special time of year, we are hosting a giveaway!
Special thanks to The Stetler Trio for donating a copy of their latest album, Free.
This CD is loaded with songs that will inspire, encourage, comfort, and strengthen you.
The giveaway is open to everyone. To enter, please leave a comment on this post by midnight Monday, September 8th. The winner will be announced at noon on Tuesday. Spread the word, and enter to win!
***to order a copy of the Stetler Trio's album or to become more familiar with their phenomenal music ministry, click on the image above.