I think it's obvious that 2020 has been a tough year for everyone for many different reasons. Amidst all this craziness, I think it's normal for people to focus on their faith and find answers through God.
Sometimes I feel like it shouldn't take the world falling apart for me to focus on my faith though.
A little background information for you all. I am a Christian who grew up regularly going to church, have been baptized, and have gone on two mission trips.
So why do I constantly feel like my time in college and my twenties have been the hardest to stay consistent in my faith and be fully devoted to God? Why do I feel like I'm constantly falling off the wagon and trying to get back on?
It's something that is hard to admit and talk about, especially if you have been a Christian for most of your life, but I think it's something a lot of people go through. In your 20s, you're faced with the most freedom you have ever had. This should be a time where we lean on God more than EVER.
...but that's usually not the case.
You might be away from the church you grew up in. No one forces you to go. You're around people with different views from your own. And quite frankly, you're usually just really busy.
I used to commonly believe that I would get my faith back on track once I was a little older and less busy. Wow, was I WRONG. Y'all, we don't know when the road ends for us. We don't truly know how much time we have left. Don't keep putting off your faith. Put some work in and try to make it better, even if it's hard for you in this season of life.
This is a hard post for me because I am still working on this myself, and I often feel like I'm still failing at it. I'm in no way a preacher or a Bible coach, but I know people struggle with this. People have asked me to write about it. I feel like it's not talked about enough for how common it is.
So if you feel like your faith is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, know you aren't alone. I'm right there with ya.
Like I already said, I am still working on this in my everyday life. I am a total work in progress, but I have found some things (through trial and error) that seem to help create some consistency in my faith.
I hope that you can implement some of these tips in your own life to help strengthen your faith throughout your 20s.
1. Find the best time to pray.
I grew up praying at night before I went to bed. It was always the easiest time for me, and it helped me get in a good habit of daily prayer.
THEN, I went to college.
Between class, cheerleading, exams, and just life, I was a sleepy girl. Let's just say the second my head hit my pillow, I was out.
Have you ever fallen asleep on God? Like legitimately fallen asleep while praying? You wake up not feeling too good about yourself.
I tried for a couple of months to power through and still pray at night, but it really just wasn't working. I realized I needed to find a new time to pray.
Find a time in the day that you will always have 5-15 minutes to spare. It can be when you first wake up, on your lunch break, before you hop in the shower. Literally whenever works best for you. Just find a time that you won't be rushed and you won't fall asleep like me. Get in a habit of praying every single day even if it's just for a few minutes.
For me, I have been trying to wake up early and create a good morning routine. This is a perfect time for me to pray, and establishing a time dedicated to being with God has helped my relationship with Him so much.
2. Don't do it alone.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a church that had an AWESOME high school ministry. It truly helped me establish my faith and grow more than I ever could have imagined. Another awesome thing about it was all my friends went to the same church.
Every Sunday night, we would pile into a car and head over to the service together. I never realized how helpful it was to have people hold you accountable and walk with you in your journey.
Moving away from home and finding a new church can be hard enough. I understand finding someone to go with you can be even harder. It's worth it though.
I'm lucky enough to go to the same church as Jake and one of my best friends from college. It makes going to church a lot more fun, and we even get to carpool sometimes.
Invite a friend to come with you. Meet people at the church you're already going to. Try not to keep your friendship and church/faith separated. It makes things a lot harder.
3. Invest in your faith.
I think the hardest thing about staying consistent in your faith is that nothing can really help unless you're willing to really work on it and make investments and sacrifices.
You need to invest your time and energy. You will have to sacrifice some free time. Sometimes you even need to invest in a small group or a daily devotional (linking all my favorites at the bottom).
Sitting down and getting your priorities straight can really help you realize if you are actually putting in the needed effort to create a consistent faith.
While school, work, friends, and all other parts of life are important, being intentional with your faith should be at the top of your list.
4. Hold yourself accountable.
I start to feel pretty bad if I start skipping workouts, not studying for tests, not spending much time with my friends, or not eating super healthy.
I should hold my faith to the same standards as my health, social life, school work, etc. Probably even to a higher standard.
I'm here to tell you it's so easy to put your faith on the backburner. It's sad how many times I don't think about it for a while until something bad happens.
I'm also here to tell you will struggle so much more trying to figure life out on your own. I start to wonder why I get in weird funks or just feel anxious all the time. Then I realize I've probably gone awhile without focusing on my faith.
If you're a Chrisitan who wants to improve your relationship with God, hold yourself to high standards. Make it a priority.
It's so nice having a God who forgives us when we fall off the wagon, but that doesn't mean you should just accept your struggles with your faith.
Like I have mentioned several times, I am 100% still working on this myself. Honestly, writing this post was a little bit of a wake-up call for me.I truly think intentionality can get anyone back on track. Give yourself some grace, find something that sticks for you, and just put in the work.
If you're in the Champaign area and are in need of an awesome church, message me! I'd love to bring someone with me when I'm back home :)
As promised, here are some awesome devotionals: https://www.amazon.com/shop/maddiebolser?listId=PA2G9S59M4N2&ref=idea_share_inf
I linked a couple of my favorites and also some that serve different purposes so you can find one you might need!