Adventurous. Freeing. Wild – these words describe my past 1 month, 8 days, and 11 hours (and counting) in the city of Wilmington. Although my month-long hiatus from blogging wasn't planned, it was definitely amazing for public writing to take a back seat to private journaling and private introspection. I've learned so much about my spiritual life, my work ethic, and personality by being on my own in a brand new city. These next few posts will tackle each of those and I pray you're able to grab something from it! Leh go.
Being in a state in which most people only drive through to get to DC and Maryland has been interesting to say the least lol. With a new environment comes a new church, a new place to plant myself spiritually. After sitting and thinking, I see that every believer goes through a similar phase at some point in their life. For you, it might be heading to college and leaving your home church and for another, it may be graduating college and having to part with a campus ministry that groomed you. How can you be in a new environment and continue to grow spiritually? Here are a few ways:
Friend Groups Matter More Than Ever Before
Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character" - 1 Corinthians 15:33
New environments seem to be a melting pot full of people from virtually every race, religion, sexual orientation, and economic status. Being away from wherever you call home can be challenging because you now have the freedom to decide with whom your time will be shared with. Surrounding yourself with people that have similar spiritual values, morals, and beliefs is a great start to remaining spiritually grounded. I cannot stress the importance of this one enough! Let's Talk Practicality. If you don't drink, being in an environment where people drink often might not be for you. That may mean declining "Happy Hour" after work and kicking it with the folks that are going to see a movie lol. You have the power to select your friend group and how your free time will be spent. This can literally be the difference friends holding you accountable to the Word of God and friends questioning why you want to be "that person."
"Jesus" Convos & Gospel Music Will Not Suffice
All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Boy.. there was a period in time when I unknowingly convinced myself that (solely) having great convos about the Lord and listening to every genre of Gospel music was me growing spiritually. False. Big LOL. After finding a similar friend group that believed what I believe, it just seemed easy to replace reading the Word with these conversations on spiritual things. There is nothing like reading the Word for yourself and applying it to your daily life. Conversations and music are great tools but they are no means meant to be the only tool. Spiritual Growth comes from learning about God and what better way to do that than with prayer and reading the best source ever – the Bible. If you're away from where you call home, that usually entails being away from parents who may have ensured you had devotion and prayer at the crack of dawn (y'all know what I'm talking about! lol) In your new place, set time aside and talk to your Creator.
Let the search for a Church Home Begin...
And let us not neglect our meeting together..but encourage one another..." - Hebrews 10:25
Searching for a church home in your new environment is probably the most difficult of three ways. You're constantly comparing each and every new church to the one you left behind. For the first four weeks in Delaware, I visited local churches to find where I fit in, where I could continue growing, and where I felt I could serve during my time here. Some were pawpinnnn and other churches were not for me lol. Because of #2 (reading the Word), my spiritual eyes and ears have been opened! It's so much easier to know what you need to be doing when you can hear from God. Focus more on the Word that's brought forth and ensure that your beliefs line up with what the church believes and teaches. It's soooo easy to get caught up in the little things churches often have or lack – free coffee, shiny lights, a 10 member band, etc. Is there a "perfect" church? My thoughts? Nope..but there is definitely a church for you that can feed you the Word directly from the Lord. In your search for a new, and even temporary church home, ask the Lord to lead you!