Balancing Student Life with the Spiritual Life
Are you a student? Are you struggling with time management? Do you invest all of your time in homework and studying? Is it possible that you feel drained and empty; do you feel as though your relationship with God is suffering? As a husband, father, student, and teacher, I would like to offer some suggestions. I started back to college when I was nearly thirty. So, when I started school I was a husband, and a father of three (soon after, 4). As a student I have always worked full-time; for several years, I worked full time while taking a full load of classes. (16-20 hours)
1. Don’t separate your student life from your spiritual life.
Christianity is a lifestyle, not something we do, it is who we are. Our faith and relationship with Christ should define who we are. As you learn new things, praise God for the intellectual capacity to do so. As you learn, remember that what you are learning, God knows perfectly, engage Him as you study. Integrate the information in prayer and meditation, ask Him for wisdom and skill in what you are learning. Thank God for all the people in your life who help you, Him, parents, and teachers, etc. Most importantly, do not separate your student life from your spiritual life. Allow God to be fully involved in every aspect of your life. He has chosen to adopt us as children, embracing us in an interpersonal relationship which includes deep love and intimacy. He already knows all about you, you may as well keep the lines of communication open, for your own sake. You need Him.
2. Develop and nurture a strong bond with family.
At a time in your life when you desire independence, don’t neglect the wisdom and help of your parents. Keep them informed of your pressures and grades. Parents are most effective at consistently praying for their children, and you need prayer. Most parents are more than willing to help out. Don’t be prideful, you will always need your parents; you will not realize this until they are gone. As soon as you begin to struggle (academically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally) let your parents know, your mom probably has a prayer network.
3. Develop and nurture relationships with other Christians.
Join a local church and make time for other Christians. Study with other Christians. Listening to music is a great way to break from studying, sing with your friends. Make yourself accountable to other Christians. Christianity is not/should not be a system of rules, but as a Christian, your faith and maturity should grow. Ask people how you are doing, and be willing to hear the truth. I know what it is like to be under pressure. I have snapped at my children, yelled at my wife, and slammed doors. Don’t lose your mind, or emotional control because of deadlines. Make sure that you continue to be kind and loving, even when you do poorly on a test or paper. Other Christians can help you stay sane, they will pray with you, sing with you, encourage you, and pray for you. You will need the support of others to help you as you grow academically and spiritually.
4. If you are attending Bible/Christian college don’t separate you classwork from your devotional time.
I remember when I first started Bible college, I was told to separate my quiet time from my homework and studies. In my experience, attempting this only ended in failure, and I felt like a failure. Now, I always meditate on my classwork, not for the grade, but for growth (Yes, I am still a student.) A good grade is icing on the cake. I have learned that my academic studies has helped me to grow immensely. My reading and studying for classes has become my personal time, and it’s paying off.
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