I Thought I Could Check Church Off My List

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As I prepared to head off to college, I knew I should find a church on campus. I didn’t grow up in church; I grew up doing the right things and being a good kid. I starting attending church in high school with a friend, and it soon became a regular part of my schedule. At the time, I would have said I had given my life to Jesus. But in actuality, I had given my Sundays ‒ and maybe an occasional Wednesday evening ‒ to Jesus. The way I thought about life growing up had carried over to my view of Christianity. If I did what I was supposed to do, God would be happy with me and provide for me.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for when I set foot on Ohio State’s campus. Probably a church that I could attend on Sunday, check off my list, and move on with the rest of my week. But thank God for knowing exactly what I needed even when it was the last thing I wanted. The very day I moved in as a freshman, I met a group of people that invited me to their campus ministry’s cookout. I had no expectations (other than free food, of course), but I left feeling strangely cared for and valuable. I couldn’t figure out why this random group of strangers was so interested in getting to know me and my life. And, as with any good college ministry, I left with a lot of phone numbers and coffee dates.

Immediately I could see there was something different about these people. They so genuinely preferred and cared for one another. Christ was not just their God on Sundays and Wednesdays. He impacted every moment of their lives. This community was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and I wasn’t sure I had what it took to be a part of it.

For a solid two years, I attended church but didn’t engage. I was preoccupied with my perfectionist ways, always turning down invitations because I had to study. My priorities were out of line and I was only giving these people parts of my life, but they continued to love me anyway.

Because of their love and patience, they were able to break through. I began seeing the ways I could serve, instead of expecting to be served. I began laying down my schedule and my time for the people around me. I began to rest in God’s provision instead of trying to control the outcomes of my life with my own efforts and abilities. I could accomplish a lot of things in my life, but I finally understood that Christ was the only thing I needed.

Fast-forward to 2016 and I’m starting my second year of pharmacy school at UK. I didn’t understand it at the time, but God was calling me to come here. Leaving Columbus for Lexington was unknown and uncomfortable, but I had seen God be faithful when I gave up control. My schedule is more challenging than ever, but I am able to live in peace. God is patiently teaching me the importance of rest, sacrifice, and community.

Sam Yeager is a second year student at the UK School of Pharmacy from Columbus, Ohio. Reach her at sam.yeager@uky.edu.