I remember being dropped off in my dorm room in mid-August of my freshman year. I was nervous, but my excitement to start navigating life by myself did a fairly good job of balancing out those fears. I knew who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. By the time I came to UA, I had been a Christian for a few years, so I knew that I wanted Christ to be a part of this identity. As someone who did not grow up in a Christian home, I was determined to not lose my faith community when I moved three hours away from my home church. To anyone right now who is going through the same worries and fears, I want to encourage you to stop by the BCM when you get here. The people here have made a tremendous impact on my faith, my college experience, and my life.
I came into college with clear expectations of what I wanted my future to look like. Since then, a lot has changed. However, the most important thing has not changed and never will: I have salvation in Christ and I have been adopted into God’s family. Romans 5:1-2 states, “Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” The death and resurrection of Jesus mean that I do not have to be “good enough” to earn His love. I came into college as a raging perfectionist. I had been taught that, because I was saved, I was enough in God’s eyes. However, I had trouble living that way. The academic expectations I set for myself became an idol. I put schoolwork before personal time with God and tried to find solace in my GPA rather than in His Word and presence. As a junior now, I can confidently tell you that this is a horrible way to prioritize your life. In the time that I’ve been here at UA, I have fallen short time and time again. I’ve had to learn to prioritize God and stop comparing my accomplishments to those of other people. I have learned and am continuing to learn what it means to give up my life and my control to God. If you are reading this right now and relating to it, you are not alone. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of perfectionism and idolizing academics in college. I want to encourage you to find a Christian community on campus and in Tuscaloosa. The BCM has students from several different churches across Tuscaloosa, and we would be happy to connect with you in your search for a church here in town.
When you get here, please don’t lose sight of what’s important. Yes, you are in college for a reason and you want to do well, but don’t lock yourself away and ignore the world for your studies. Make time for the Lord, spend time with friends, and find a Christian community. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that God provides for you when you lean on Him. If you are reading this and you aren’t a Christian, we’d still love to see you at the BCM. This is a place for believers to connect with other believers and it’s a safe space for non-believers to explore who God is and what it means to be a Christian. I am praying for your summer and for your time here at the University of Alabama. Roll tide!
Veronica Cooper | Senior | Troy, Alabama | @ronniewcooper