As women of God, we all struggle with our faith in college, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it alone. I reached out to over 30 Christian women who are in college, or have been through college, and asked them all about keeping/growing their faith in college.
I asked them about how religious they were before and after starting college, as well as their biggest struggles of being Christian in college, and their best advice for not just keeping, but growing your faith in college.
Just reading the responses of these incredible women was so inspiring to me, and I hope their words can be an inspiration to you, too.
First, I just want to say that these women willingly participated, and this survey is in no way representative of a typical college campus. Most of these ladies were ages 18-22 (current college students), from a wide variety of Christian denominations, and from colleges all across the United States. The ladies named with the quotes in this post agreed to let me share their words with you!
75% of my respondents said they were involved in religious ministry on campus and attended weekly services. These ladies said being involved in religious ministry was a huge part of their continuation and growth in faith in college. Almost everyone agreed that being involved as soon as possible with campus ministry was one of the most important ways to keep the faith alive through the college years.
Again, while this sample wasn’t representative in any way, out of the women I talked to, most of them became more involved with their faith in college, or at least attended religious services/activities more frequently than when they first started college.
Being a Christian woman in college isn’t easy. We all go through #ChristianGirlProbs, and I was interested to see what these ladies had to say on the topic.
When asked about the greatest challenges they faced as a Christian in college, the most popular answers were “balancing life in general, not making faith a priority”, “finding time for personal prayer and reflection”, and “keeping personal faith”. Some of the next biggest challenges were getting involved with church on campus, not having friends of the same faith, and dealing with challenges of faith from others.
All these women said they had friends of the same faith, or at least other Christian friends, and most also said they listen to Christian music, at least some of the time.
Next, I opened up the questions to let these women speak for themselves, and describe the hardest parts of being a Christian in college.
Many of the women talked about how difficult it is to stand strong in faith in a world that can feel overwhelmingly liberal and anti-Christian. Mary-Faith said it’s hard “being very different from most people my age” in terms of not drinking and partying like most people, and this was a common theme with many of the answers.
Another common answer was that it’s difficult to make time for your faith in college, when you have so much freedom and so much to do.
I love the way Lily put it, in terms of finding yourself in college, as a Christian woman:
“The hardest thing is sticking to your gut and being secure in who you are. It’s okay to not drink and party! You have to be confident in who you are in order to say no to that temptation. You have to know who and what defines you and that you’re not defined by a social status but rather by Jesus (who is much cooler than drunk college kids anyways!).”
Alee posed a challenge she’s found, in terms of faith-life-balance, and working on becoming a better Christian. She told me,
“College is a time when you are surrounded by so much diversity. Most people are not like you. They choose differently and act differently. To be that example of mercy, that light to others is something that I’m constantly trying to be. It’s important to think on the eternal perspective– how am I helping other souls reach heaven?”
I love this answer, because not only is faith a personal challenge, we should also be challenged to encourage others in faith, as well!
Becky brought up an important topic, that’s one I know a lot of my friends can relate to, she said,
“In college, I felt like guys didn’t want to date me because I was the “Catholic girl.” Men rejected me because I wanted to live a chaste relationship. I felt like there were no men my age who were holy & wanted to pursue the Lord, and that hurt.”
After sharing their biggest challenges of faith in college, I asked them to give me their advice to their younger self, or to fellow Christian women looking to grow their faith in the often critical college environment, and I love their answers.
“Be willing accept love from God and others. You can’t return love until you do that.”
“Your faith is your anchor. College is fun, but it’s also very stressful. It’s easy to get caught up in your studies, social life and lack of sleep, so stress often kicks in and makes you feel like you’re drifting in many directions. If you make God a priority, he will get you all things. He is the anchor to keep you afloat during this crazy chapter of your life. Don’t set off in this journey without your anchor, or you may find yourself lost at sea.”
“Don’t allow yourself to be isolated from fellow Christians on campus, they have your best interests in heart and be brave enough to reach out to them if you know you need help in your faith life.”
“Be completely unashamed! Still working on this myself, but it’s not worth it to constantly second guess yourself or wonder if people are judging you. Just live for Jesus and don’t worry about what people think!”
“I wish that I would have known that there are always people to talk to and open up to about being a Christian in college. It took me a while to find the right people to share my faith with but once I found those role models and friends, life was so different. I would tell someone who is concerned about keeping their faith in college, that it isn’t easy at the beginning but there are always ministries and churches to join. Try a few and then pick the one that benefits you the most!”
“Find friends of the same faith! It makes life so much easier!”
“I would say be open to all things. I met my fiancé my freshman year at a campus ministry, you never know what the Lord has in store for you! Be open to pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. College is different. Ministries don’t come and ask you to join, you have to approach them and seek them out! Your faith is your responsibility so if you want to get connected… just do it! It’ll be worth it, I promise. ❤”
“Overall, seek more silence in your life. Many of the struggles I’ve faced throughout college have come from overloading my schedule and falling into the worldly mentality that being busier is better. Of course, I never meant to live this way! … I just starting meeting with a small bible study group this semester. My first thought, like usual, was ‘I’m too busy to say yes, Wednesday’s are my only free evenings!’ But when I prayed about it, I realized that nothing on my schedule could be more rewarding than meeting with great friends to talk about our God. Putting faith first is NOT always easy. Inviting God into our lives can somethings be like asking God to ‘wreck our plans!’ Giving our lives and circumstances up to God can often be uncomfortable. But luckily, God didn’t call us to comfort… he calls us to greatness.”
“Don’t be afraid to wear your faith on your sleeve. The prospect of people immediately defining you based on your faith can be scary, but hiding Jesus’ love is the opposite of what He wants us to do with it!”
I am so thankful for the participation of these lovely women, and I’m so inspired by their stories!
Which piece of advice was your favorite?
What advice/challenges would you share from being Christian in college?
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