Today we are happy to welcome Alex Chediak, author of Thriving at College, to the Tyndale Blog. Be sure to leave a comment and we’ll pick one random person to win a copy of Alex’s book.
Surviving vs. Thriving
You’ve heard the statistics: 80% of Christians fall away from their faith during college. Watch out for the party scene. Don’t run with the wrong crowd. Don’t experiment with drugs. Don’t cut class. Don’t flunk out. Don’t get pregnant. Don’t get someone pregnant. I don’t know about you, but when I went to college, it seemed so many of the messages were well-intended warnings of what terrible dangers awaited me away from home. The goal, it seemed, was survival.
But deep down, I think many Christians know that merely surviving college is too low of a goal. College doesn’t have to be a time in which followers of Jesus barely eek by. I Timothy 4:12 tells us, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
College is a season not just for maintaining your faith, but for owning your faith – growing thick, strong roots. It’s not a time for getting through classes with as little work as possible, but for really discovering your calling – what God uniquely wired you to do – and for loving God with all your mind by giving it your very best. It’s a time to find joy in the learning process rather than anxiety in the grading process.
Socially, college is a season for making life-long friendships – not just the kind you have a great time with (though that helps!), but the kind that spur you on to love, trust, and follow God more. To grow in maturity, to increasingly make wise choices, and to, as missionary William Carey once said, to “expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” And who knows? Maybe one of these friends will become a fabulous life partner.
College is an opportunity to get the training you need to make a difference in the world – by becoming a business person, an engineer, a doctor, a teacher, a historian, a physical therapist, a mom, a dad, who sees God’s Lordship extending to every area of life and every corner of the globe. It’s a time to take the gifts God’s given you and develop them into finely-tuned skills – the kind that can really serve and help other people. It’s a time to honor all that your mom and dad did for you by learning to own your decisions, even your mistakes, as you embrace a God-dependent adulthood.
So don’t focus too hard on not doing what you’re not supposed to do. Fix your mind on the great things God is doing in your life, and keep running hard after Him. You won’t need to worry about just surviving; you’ll be too busy thriving at college.
Alex Chediak is the author of Thriving at College: Make Great Friends, Keep Your Faith, and Get Ready for the Real World! (Tyndale House Publishers, April 2011). He maintains a website, and can be followed on Twitter or Facebook.
Leave a comment in response to this blog and we’ll pick one random person to win a free copy of Alex’s book Thriving at College!