Celeste Forrest, Guest Writer
College has started! I remember coming in as a freshman and feeling so excited to begin classes, make new friends and basically start my life as an independent. However, between organizing my room, meeting new people and memorizing my ID number, I almost forgot a key factor for success in college…
I learned in college to pray. Pray A LOT. The truth is, college is chaos. Whether it is finals, friends, family and, yes, perhaps that special someone, expect to be caught up in so many issues; it will be difficult to find those few precious moments to stop, think and spend time with God. It does not matter if you are a freshman or a senior; prayer allows you to have those moments of peace and reflection that the spirit needs in order to grow. Prayer is the chance to have that intimate quality time with God and allow Him to help you when college may prove to be a little too tough. It is easy to get caught up in college life, and sometimes we forget that prayer is a necessary tool in our walk with Christ, as well as surviving college. Even God asks us to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In other words, when we get side-tracked with the hustle and bustle of college life, we have to be able to step back, take a deep breath and say, “I remember You, Lord.”
Prayer, as a college student, has helped me remain focused on what truly is important to my life: my relationship with Jesus Christ. It has helped me overcome the stress of piles of homework and has comforted me in times of struggle. Having that personal time with God made my life as a college student seem a lot less chaotic and more joyful. It has even helped me battle something even deeper than just final exams but a personal struggle of mine I wish to share with you.
I struggle with anxiety disorder. Anxiety is an evil monster when it gets its hold on you and can ruin your day if you let it. My best weapon to combat this monster? Spending quality time with the LORD through devotions and prayer. I pray whenever something triggers my anxiety. At night, I do devotions to wind down, and when I do, I sleep amazingly well. Again, knowing that God is taking care of me gives me a great sense of peace that helps me overcome my anxiety. And, here is another important piece of advice for surviving college: never pray by yourself! 1st Thessalonians 5:11 says,
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
What better way to encourage and build one another up than through prayer? You can never go wrong with asking someone to pray for you or with you. In Philippians 2:19-26 the apostle Paul talks about the importance of loyalty and the willingness to look after our friends in times of trial. We can demonstrate our support and love to our friends by simply praying for one another in times of struggle and in times of joy.
So, my advice for success in college? Pray and talk to God. He understands this crazy stuff called “college-life.” He also knows your heart better than you do. If you struggle with something as serious as grief or as mild as pure anxiousness, pray. God is here for you, and he is ready to hear your words.