Maybe you thought it was going to be easy going to college in a new town with new people, and keep your faith intact. Maybe you were wrong.
Maybe you feel like a world of certainty has been transformed into shades of grey. Maybe you aren’t sure whether your changing standards is you “conforming” or being open minded. You are afraid of being close-minded, but also afraid of falling off the path You aren’t afraid of growing and changing, but you want to know it is good growth. Good change.
Maybe you’re afraid of being accepted or rejected based on your religious beliefs. You worry about what other people think. Then you worry about why you worry about what other people think. Maybe faith was so much easier before college.
Maybe you’ve screwed up. Maybe you’ve messed up, even big time. Maybe you don’t attend church every Sunday, or at all. Or maybe you do attend, but don’t engage. And so you’re going through the motions, as if you’re repeating the same old, same old, but feeling your faith wither on the vine.
Maybe you aren’t sure what you’re doing, or what direction you’re going in, but you are still going.
Maybe you still say a prayer with your morning coffee, still feel for the poor, and strive to be the very best form of yourself that you can be. You are exploring new ideas and the new meaning your faith has in your life — but it remains your rock. A rock that might be buffeted by storms, but still holds strong.
Maybe the waves are almost destabilizing, but you are holding on steadfast. You still hold compassion above superficial success, and look for people’s internal beauty above their temporary physical looks. You try to put the heart and soul before your head, and try to put love and kindness before money and wealth. And you think that these are just small battles, tiny victories in a world without your “old faith,” but actually they are everything.
Maybe you don’t have all the answers, but still know that God doesn’t mind the questions. Maybe you’ve changed your theology, but not your faith. You have grown and evolved, but have not abandoned love. You have drifted away, but have been called back.
You still stand on the road with the good samaritan, and not with those who pass on the other side. You try to provide for the poor, try to love the loveless, and care for those who don’t even care for themselves.
We are all prodigal sons and daughters, all trying to discover what the truth is. Faith isn’t easy, it requires work, and sometimes it requires doubt. None of us have perfect faith, and none of us have a perfect relationship with God. Luckily for us, we don’t have to. We are made perfect through our imperfections.
When John The Baptist set child Jesus into the water, a voice from heaven echoed down: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
God said those words to Jesus, but he says these words to you as well. You are his child, and with you he is well pleased.
Maybe you are struggling to maintain your faith in college — or for the rest of your life — but you carry on. Because, as it turns out, doubting but still believing is exactly what Faith is.