This Beautiful Inheritance: An Open Letter to The Christian Teen Going Away to College

Monday, August 11, 2014

An Open Letter to The Christian Teen Going Away to College

Dear Christian Teen Going Away to College,

Can I be honest? I envy you a little bit. I don't know if you know it (you probably do), but you are embarking on an amazing little segment of life right here. These next four years will offer you all the freedom of being a grown-up with virtually none of the responsibility. There's much fun to be had...

You're finally on your own. You have your own place, a dorm maybe, and for the first time, no curfew. What are you going to do with all that freedom? Well, the choice is up to you.

There are really two paths your college years can take you down. The first one we hear a lot about. "Kids in college will sow their wild oats." "75% of teens will walk away from the church during college." You've probably been well warned about all that. But let me just tell you, from someone who's been there, there is an alternative path that is way, way better.

What are you going to do with all that freedom? Well, how about throwing all your heart, strength and time into making this faith that your parents passed down, your own? How about getting to know, really know, this Jesus you say you serve and see if your faith passes the test? How about joining a campus ministry and reaching out together to love the lost people on your campus? How about meeting as many people as you can, from every culture and background, and learning that God is even bigger than you thought and Jesus really is Lord of all? How about learning to love your roommate when she comes in late or doesn't respect your stuff and letting the "Golden Rule" be more than a line you memorized in Kindergarten? How about working through your questions and doubts and relying on no one but the Lord and learning that He is big enough to handle all your "issues."

If you work on all that, you may not have as much free time as you thought. :)

College really is incredible. It's a defining, transitionary period that I wish everyone could experience. College does not have to shipwreck your faith. In fact, it can strengthen it like you didn't know possible when you lived with Mom and Dad and went to church when they demanded. You now call the shots, and no one can make you do anything. Of course, Jesus is still watching. He's watching and wondering if you're going to make the most of these four years, ample free time, and new relationships He's given you. (I know you think you're busy now, but just wait 'til you have kids... I promise.) Or if you're going to stick your head above water in four years, barely alive inside, and try to piece back together the spiritual damage that's been done.

Don't go there, Christian Teen. You'll regret it if you do. If you plan to live for Jesus after these four years then live for Him in them. Dig deep and invest in this faith that you've got because along with all the fun there is to be had, there's much growing to be done.

So do it. And do it on the path less traveled.

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