What Not To Do This Year

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A month into my junior year of college, I wish I could say I have all the answers. I wish I could say I have an answer. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if this is my third year of being on my own, making my own choices, and disciplining myself. It doesn’t get easier. If anything, it gets harder.

Over the summer, I thought a good blog post idea for the school year would be to write about how to keep your faith during the year and how to put God above your school work, your social life, and your activities. The truth is; I can't tell you how to do that.

What I can do, is tell you what not to do.

Don’t tell yourself to just watch church online.

Watching church on your laptop or TV on a Sunday morning after going out is not the same as being in the presence of the Holy Spirit in church. While this seems obvious, you don’t understand the difference until you get to your breaking point. While I am thankful for the chance to watch church online when I can’t physically be there, I just know being in the house of the Lord is where I need to be on Sunday mornings.

“For where there are two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20

Don’t wake up and tell yourself you’ll do quiet time later.

News flash – you won’t! The importance of waking up and having your quiet time in the morning is so important. Every time I do this, I never end up doing it later that day. I let schoolwork and social habits get in the way of just spending time with Jesus.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your
hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

Ok pause, how cool is that verse? I had never seen it until now. When you spend alone time
with God, you obviously aren’t doing it to please other people. Nobody is around, just you and
Jesus. He loves that so much, how cool is that?

Don’t be alone.

I know this one sounds vague. What I mean is, don’t try and be a Christian alone. Accountability and discipleship is the most crucial way to keep your faith during school. When I try to navigate my thoughts and problems alone, I simply can’t. I wish I could, but it is so helpful having someone there with me. I’m comfortable with everyone by this point, so why am I not utilizing the amazing Godly women around me?

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let
him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death
and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5: 19-20.

I have this automatic pit in my stomach and immediately fear that God resents me for doing all of this. But guess what?

He loves us the same.

He loves me the exact same when I watch church in my pj’s or in my Sunday best. He loves me the exact same every time I talk to him, no matter what time of day. He loves me the exact same whether I’m navigating my life alone or with hundreds of accountability partners.

So if you are guilty of all these things like myself, take peace that Jesus still loves you. But knowing that He desires for me to work on these things, and that choosing Him in these ways, gives Him so much joy -- that is my personal motivation to want to improve in these areas. And I hope it motivates you, too.

Annie Milborn // @anniemilbourn