When You're Spiritually Spread Thin

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Overcommitment is real, friends. We've all done it in some form, because we want to do all the things. Freshman year the biggest area of my life that I couldn't say "no" in wasn't academically or socially, but spiritually. I was a serial church-hopper and small group-goer, looking for a perfect community to join. Turns out, that doesn't exist. If only freshman Emma had known. 

I tried to find family everywhere and instead, I found it nowhere. Over time, I learned that setting boundaries and picking a few places to invest is the only true way to fully enjoy the communities you are part of. One of the best things about going to a Christian university is all of the opportunities available for spiritual growth. This blessing can also be just as equally frustrating when deciding how to be involved in church, campus ministries, or small groups.

My freshman year I found that it was way easier for me to say "no" to a campus organization than it was for me to say "no" to a small group or church service. I wanted to grow in my relationship with Christ, and I thought that the more I was involved in opportunities for spiritual growth, the more spiritual growth I would experience. Instead, the opposite happened. I found myself spread thin and not fully committed to specific activities that would grow my faith. Now as a junior I have learned more about what spiritual investments prove helpful to me. Here are some things that were helpful for me when I was deciding what would best benefit my spiritual growth.

Pray. But really.
Hello to one of the most cliche Christian questions ever: "Have you prayed about it?" It's great to go to your friends and family for advice, but the voice of the Father is the one you need to be listening to the most. Prayer should be both talking to God and listening to Him, being still and allowing Him to speak. Your life is worth praying about, especially when it comes to deciding on a church, ministry, or small group. 

Step outside of your friends.
Being afraid to go to a different church from my friends was a big part of why it took me so long to settle into a church. If you worship differently then your friends do, that's ok. This may take an awkward period of getting to know new people in a church that you love. It may mean that you go to church by yourself, and that's okay. Church isn't about your friends, it's about you worshipping the Father and being part of a community that pushes you to live more like Jesus.

Set a deadline.
This can be a struggle for all of my fellow chronic procrastinators. Pick a day that you will decide by and write it in your planner, put it in your phone, or tell your friends. While it is true that every ministry or church has something different to offer, putting down roots in one place is the only way that you will truly grow. Even if you feel like you don't have clarity by your deadline, make a choice and stay committed for at least a semester. 

Friends, if you're feeling overwhelmed, it's okay. You value Christian community. You want to grow spiritually and just trying to figure out where you can plug in and grow. These are both good things that make the Father so happy to see. It's such a blessing to have so many different places to get involved and grow spiritually. There is grace in your searching.

- Emma
chronic procrastinator, tea drinker, napper.

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