Judy Moseman advises a teen who is torn on whether or not he should go to a Christian college after being in Christian schools his whole life.
Q: I've been in Christian schools since church preschool and the thought of going off to a Christian college, with all the chapel services and all the "Christian rules" really bothers me. I don't want to become a party animal or anything, and I'm not planning to give up my faith. I just feel like I need more freedom than what a Christian school will give me. I'm just tired of being in a "God bubble." Is my thinking all messed up or do I have a point?
A: You have a great opportunity for increasing levels of freedom as you go away to school and make decisions on your own about how you will live. This will be a great time for you to live out your faith, trusting God to guide you, and to have your faith become so much more than religion and rules. It will be a time for you to develop a strong and vital relationship with the Lord.
Don't underestimate the freedom you'd have at a Christian college. After all, you will be on your own. You will have opportunities to make a lot of choices. I'd also encourage you to try not to think that Christianity is all about the rules. It's about experiencing God's grace and forgiveness. It's about discovering your full potential. It's about taking risks.
If you've been in Christian schools all your life, you've no doubt read the Gospels. Maybe it's time to read them again. Look carefully at the life of Christ. Check out all the exciting adventures he and his disciples had. Chances are, it's time to just take a fresh look and rediscover the wonderful and surprising adventure that should be a part of your Christian experience.
Now what about Christian college? Well, don't give up on that option just yet. Maybe it would be the place that could take your faith to a new level. It's also important to understand that there are many different Christian colleges—and each one is unique from the other. Some do have rules you'd see as very strict. Others are not so strict. Read several schools' codes of conduct and also talk to some admissions counselors about your concerns and your desire for more freedom.
If you're open to the possibilities, I believe you'll find a Christian school that fits your personality and has the kind of guidelines you can live with and even grow through as a result of living them out.
These words from Jude 1:20-21, may help you: "Carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God's love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life" (The Message).
Unending life. Real life. I can't think of a better adventure!
Written by Judy Moseman