The waiting is over. Summer vacation and work have come to a halt. It’s time to move in to your college dorm or apartment. Though perhaps not as big a deal for upper level students as it is for the freshmen, still each year brings a sense of newness and surprises of new spaces, new roommates, new possibilities, and new stresses.
Moving out and moving into college is a one more sign of change. It is a good change, a signal of growth and maturity, yet it is not without its stresses. Will I succeed? Will all these people like me? Can I do it different here than the last time? Will I be happy? Will I be lonely or develop great friendships? Will I get along with my roommate? Will she be messy? Will his feet smell like a locker room? Questions, worries, excitement, and hope all feed anxieties created by change?
There are two kinds of change that the Bible talks about. There is the change Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when he says, “if anyone is in Jesus Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone; the new is here!” This is a radical change, a change that resets our whole world and starts us off in a very different direction than we ever pursued before. Sometimes the change of college life is like this. Sometimes, our worldview and perspectives are reshaped and our commitments to a new way, a new direction, or a new “calling” or vocation are forged.
Often however, college gives us time for the other type of change discovered in the Bible; a slower, steady growth in character, wisdom and maturity. This is the kind of changer Peter talks of in his letter (2 Peter 1:5-8):
“…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As you are moving in over the next week or so, stop and think of the things you might want to leave behind and the new things that might come as you continue to trust in God, commit to the process of growth in faith and the goodness and grace of new possibilities as you begin a new semester.