And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9: 23
If I could go back in time and tell freshman me one thing, it would be to leave my comfort zone. I had made a small group of friends at the beginning of the school year, so I shut myself off. I didn’t need any more friends. I had work to get done, I had a scholarship to maintain, and I was scared. I liked the little bubble I lived in. It was familiar and comfortable.
Most of us prefer to live our lives that way: comfortably. Maybe that sounds obvious. But, as Christians, living comfortably can become incredibly detrimental to our faith. When we become comfortable, we stop growing. Christ calls us to abandon ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Him. We are called to be uncomfortable for the sake of the Gospel.
For me, one of the greatest sources of discomfort was the idea that I was actually supposed to talk to people (strangers even) about Jesus. I’m so nervous about starting conversations that I pay for my friends’ meals if they’ll order my food for me. I once read that the church can’t be missional and comfortable at the same time. I believe that wholeheartedly.
In Matthew 14, there’s a point where Jesus sends the disciples onto the water ahead of him. Their boat was tormented by a storm, but Jesus came to them, walking across the waves. They were terrified at this sight. But Peter asked that he would be commanded to join Christ in the waves. And so he did. Peter walked on water. (Matthew 14: 22-29)
Think about that. Walking on water is arguably one of the most infamous miracles of Christ. But through abandoning the comfort of the boat and fearlessly following Jesus, Peter was able to walk on water as well. God placed the idea of living outside of my comfort zone on my heart, and I got the opportunity to really experience that by going on a mission trip. I spent a life changing week in Colorado, learning that relying less on earthly comfort and more on God gives us the freedom to experience the true joy that only comes from a relationship with Him.
So that would be my advice to you as you start out your college experience in an entirely new place with entirely new people. Don’t allow yourself to get too comfortable here. Sit with strangers in the dining hall. Go rock climbing. Explore campus late at night. Go on a mission trip. Sing karaoke. Share your faith. Abandon your comfort, take up your cross, and follow Him.
Caylie Caulfield, Junior