Throughout my college career, I’ve been able to stay involved with the church, get good grades, and work part-time. However, one area I fall short in is growing relationships with the people I go to school with. Sure, I’ve made friends on campus and talk to people in class, but I’ve failed at truly investing in my relationships with those people.
Since my freshman year, I have been in the mindset that college is only temporary. I would think “I’m only here for class and I’m a commuter, so it’s okay if I don’t invest into these people. Plus, many aren’t Christians, so I’m really doing myself a favor by not letting myself be influenced by worldly things.” I chose to use my breaks between classes solely for getting work done alone when I could easily have studied with a classmate or even just talked to them over coffee. Sadly, I haven’t taken the time to truly get to know the people in my life outside the church.
I’ve always had a tougher time connecting with people. I’m not as willing to take the first step, and I don’t always want to hang out with people. God made me an introvert, and there is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is the fact that I would use that as an excuse to stay comfortable. I used my introverted inclinations as excuses to not get to know the people I was spending most of my time around.
At the 2018 Thrive retreat, Ian McConnell preached about how we are all witnesses to the world. While he was preaching, I was convicted about how I was not fulfilling this role as a Christian. It made me realize that the non-Christians in my life probably had no idea I was a Christian. It wasn’t that I was actively hiding my faith, but I wasn’t living my life in a way that was distinctly Christian.
As Christians, we are called to invest in the people around us, regardless of whether they are also Christians. We have to fight the lies that tell us to mind our own business and not get involved in other people’s messes because you are the most important person in your life. When we feel tempted to keep to ourselves, we need to take a look at Jesus’ life. Time after time Jesus involves himself in the messes of other people. Never did he think that it was an inconvenience or that he was too important for that. Just think about that for a moment. Jesus, who in many ways was the most important person alive at the time, always put others before himself. The Son of God and Savior of the world never put himself first.
As I stated before, I am not great at initiating, and that’s why I need God’s power to help me. I am incapable of reaching out to others in my own strength. I can’t overcome my feelings and be bold for the sake of His kingdom without his help. I’m so thankful that God loves to be my strength when I am weak. With his help, I can take small steps of initiative in people’s lives. I can be his witness wherever he places me. And I can trust him completely.