From an introvert’s perspective, I understand how difficult it can be to put yourself in a social situation where you don’t know anybody. I’m here to tell you that those first few weeks of meeting people and slowly developing friendships will pass very quickly, but your emotional shell isn’t the only obstacle you might find as you begin to grow in God with those around you. For me, I wasn’t always aware I had a spiritual shell. It was formed by shame and guilt, and although I was very open about my relationship with Christ, I was very private when it came to struggles and temptations that were a part of my spiritual journey.
I had a pretty significant battle with anxiety when I was fifteen, and I turned to a lot of worldly things as a result. After I reignited my faith and started building my relationship with God again, I found that I was consumed by guilt from the choices I had made. A common narrative that you can hear at any Christian conference or church is stories of people finding Jesus and then giving up their past struggles, not the other way around. I went from not realizing how much I needed Christ to not feeling worthy of His love. In fact, I didn’t confess to other Christians the extent of my struggles until I started attending Journey Groups at the BCM my freshman year of college. When I finally allowed myself to be vulnerable, I found girls who loved me and supported me despite my brokenness. I found people I could actually be honest with about how I was doing mentally; I didn’t have to lie about struggling to read my Bible or dealing with temptation.
If I can only give you one piece of advice, I want to tell you to find a church and find Christian friends that make you feel comfortable to remove both your emotional and spiritual shell. I knew I was going to struggle coming out of my emotional shell when I went to college. I even forced myself to attend every single BCM event they held the first two weeks. I’m happy to say that I was so incredibly welcomed by the BCM and truly found a family there within the first month of school.
Coming out of my spiritual shell was not easy, and I remember praying for several days straight before I finally gave my full testimony to my Journey Group. I didn’t feel alone, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I could be honest about my sins. It started with a few close friends, and then I was able to share with a few trusted people I consider to be mentors. My point is, there may be things that you can’t tell everyone you know, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share it with anybody. When people learned of my struggles, they reached out to me and helped me, and they even showed me Christians who had the same struggles during their walk with Christ. It helped strengthen my relationship with God significantly.
“For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18
So, when you find yourself on campus this fall, remember that we’ve all been through trials and none of us are faultless. And we here at the BCM are here to support you not only in your spiritual journey but also your educational and social one. I hope that you find a family at the BCM like I found during my first semester of college.