In 2011 some of my friends from church went to college, and I wanted to send them some loving words. This is what I would tell myself if I could go back to when I went to college. Now a couple of my precious nieces are headed out to various Christian colleges, and I wanted to share those thoughts with them. I love you both! I'm stunned and thrilled to see what God is doing in your hearts and lives, and I can't wait to see you again.
Hey you! Getting ready to go to Bible College! I want to talk to you! Are you excited? I remember getting ready to go, and I was excited, a little nervous, a little fearful. Once I got into the swing of things, that first year, I had so much fun. I hope you do to! I talked to my husband (Who I met that year, by the way.) and asked him that if he could talk to himself from back then, what would he say to himself. I know I would like to have a couple words with myself from that year! Here are a few tips we came up with, and my post was getting long, so I organized them into separate posts with tips on the school, tips on myself, and tips on other people.
1. If you are going to the same school I went to, try to start out with a hair do that can get blown to smithereens and look decent with a finger-combing. I started out with a pom-pom shaped perm'! Big mistake. (No, I will not be posting pictures of it.) You may whine about the wind. Everyone is going to be doing it, just don't overdo it. And don't overdo the hairspray. You'll regret it every time. Also, memorize Proverbs 30:4, and every time you go out there into it you will get an object lesson on the power of God. And when you go into a building, hold your skirt. Just sayin'. (Wind going sideways hits the building, and then blows up right next to it.)
2. Get over the rule book. It's a Bible college. They have to have rules, and some of these rules make certain folks uncomfortable. If God wants you to go there, then it makes sense that He will want you to follow the authorities. Even if the rules don't make sense to you, you should just do it as long as they aren't asking you to do something wrong. Who knows, you might learn that some of them have actual reasons behind them. Don't whine about the rules.
3. The cooking will be different than your mom's. Your mom doesn't have to cook for hundreds of people.
4. You will get preached at. A lot. Enjoy it! You'll never have a time like this again. Just don't forget to bring your heart to the altar before the service. If God impresses on your heart to make some changes, write the changes down in the journal you will get. If you are struggling in an area spiritually, write that down too, as a prayer, in the same journal. Later, you will be amazed at how faithful God is to answer and teach you just what you need.
5. If you never struggle spiritually, and never feel God pushing at you to make a change here and there, there are only two options. Either you are so very far away from God that you have no idea what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you, or you are not saved. Get that matter fixed! This is a spiritual battle, and it is no place for half-hearted Christians, or lost people. I remember coming to that question during a lukewarm time at school, and God showed me that I wasn't anywhere near where I thought I was, spiritually. The decisions I made that day gave God the freedom in my life to lead me to the place I am today, and I believe firmly that if I had continued to resist Him, I would be out of His will today!
6. If there are conflicts between you and an authority, go read Hebrews 13:17 and think about how God wants you to deal with it. He does not want you to tell all your friends. He does not want you to quit. He does not want you to self destruct because you are fuming over it all the time. He wants you to A.) Pray for them, because their duty is to God, not you. B.) Obey them. If they aren't asking you to sin against God, why not? C.) If someone is abusing their authority, the school authorities ought to be notified. If you don't think it's that serious, then it's not serious enough to gossip or get bitter over. Ok, it's never serious enough to gossip or get bitter over. That will just make their problem ruin you, which is unprofitable for you, my friend.
7. You are there to study and learn. Have fun, but apply yourself to the subjects. Get everything you can from them. You will need it later. Prepare your projects ahead of time, and make time to study. You are learning to balance work, recreation, and ministry. If you are like me, you will probably fall out of balance in each of these areas from time to time. The important thing here is knowing when to correct the problem, not being perfect all the time.
8. Take a typing class the first year, if you don't know how to type, not the third year like a certain young lady I knew. Duh? (that was me.) It will make some things much, much easier. Also anything else that will help you prepare projects, like computer courses; first year!
9. Also take time to develop your soul winning skills. You need first to depend completely on the Holy Spirit. A formula, or list of verses is useful, but the Holy Spirit knows the need of the heart, so get connected with Him. Also you need to know your Bible. Prayerfully studying the Word, just so you can have an answer for anyone who asks is vital. Don't depend on classes to do this, or your church background. If you are from my church, I know you have a solid understanding of doctrine, but you still need to study for yourself.
10. Enjoy the school! Enjoy the ministry, the church services, the spirit, the work. No place is perfect, but soak up all the blessings God has for you there. I've known some young people who do nothing but whine when they go to school. Honestly, most of the whiners drop out, or stop whining. You need those blessings to make it through, and if you are complaining all the time, they will pass you right by. So have fun, and enjoy yourself!
I've got a couple more posts on this topic up my sleeve. I hope it's a blessing to someone! I sure did enjoy my time at Bible college. God used it in too many ways to count so He could put me where I am and shape who I am today.