My college experience had a rocky start to it. I found myself seeking hollow relationships founded on convenience and filled with parties and drinking. This isn’t to say I never found real friends or had meaningful experiences. However, in the process, I lost myself. When I finally came back to school this past August for my Sophomore year I knew that I didn’t like the person I had become or the choices I had made. But I didn’t know how to change. I didn’t know who I wanted to be much less how I would get there.
My friend Jessie invited me to go out a rappelling outing with a Cru ministry called Lifelines. I should let you know now that I hate heights but I loved Jessie and I also loved conquering my fears. So I went. I won’t go into detail, but that trip, going over the edge of that cliff, forced me to rely on someone other than myself. It forced me to rely on God.
That trip was the first time that I really had to contemplate my faith, and this reality was a hundred times scarier than any cliff. I didn’t have the same relationship that this group had with Jesus. I didn’t think I could.
So for the first time in my life I sat down and started to read the Bible with the help of one of the Lifelines staff. They say the first step in every journey is always the hardest. Well, Lifelines helped me take my first step.
If you had asked me what my plans were last semester I would have told you I was transferring to some other school. Now I feel like I have my place at UVA. You see, meeting this group, meeting Lifelines, has introduced me to a new world. The Christian community here can only be described with one word: love.
When it comes to the people in this community, you are never just a familiar face or a simple acquaintance. From the first time you meet, you are a genuine friend.
I haven’t figured out my faith 100% and am still in the process of completely making that leap. However, I have found a community that I am confident will hold me up even if I fall and who will really love me. They show me every day, through their actions and words, what it means to be a Christian and what it means to have a relationship with Christ. It’s a beautiful thing to see first hand and an even more beautiful thing to be a part of.