Only The Lonely Survive
Guest Writer: Brianna Algere’
In August of 2014, I began my 4-year college journey and from day one it was clear that faith, of any kind, is rare and that believers in Christ were almost undetectable. The students at my college were consumed with partying, drinking, cussing and sexual immorality. While in college, it was a struggle maintaining the relationship I had built with God in an environment where Christianity was almost nonexistent. I was soon faced with two difficult choices: either conform to the status quo or hold fast to my faith.
I’m sad to say, I chose to conform rather than stay strong and began drinking. If I chose to separate myself from those who drink, I would have no friends, so I abandoned what I knew was right for me personally – in order to not be alone. When I made this choice, I did it out of fear. I feared being ostracized by my peers and I slowly started to feel like Christ was a burden that was keeping me from thriving socially. For awhile college was great, I had “friends” and I felt accepted, but I would soon realize this was temporary. As sophomore year came to a close, it became apparent that the people I saw as “friends” were not my friends. They would tear me down emotionally, tell lies about me, and do anything they could to hurt me. Soon all the “friends” and the acceptance I felt was gone. I found myself alone anyway, even though I had tried to avoid it. I felt like I had no one, not even Christ, because I tried so hard to distance myself from Him.
One night, when I could not handle the loneliness and pain any longer, I started sobbing. I asked God for comfort and peace and He led me to Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” After reading this verse, I truly felt God’s presence giving me the comfort I so desperately wanted. He also gave me one more verse that brought me to my knees. The verse was Roman 12:2,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
After reading this verse, all I could do was ask for forgiveness, and tell God how sorry I was for conforming instead holding on fast to Him. I truly felt ashamed of myself, but I could also feel God’s love for me. I could hear God say, “I am not going to condemn you but love you and guide you on the right path and all you have to do is trust me” and I made the decision to trust Him. The most amazing thing I learned was; despite how alone I felt, I was never alone because God was right there by my side waiting for me to just open my eyes and realize He is always near.
Things have definitely improved for me since I have re-established my relationship with God. Thankfully, the drinking I did engage in was not heavy drinking, therefore; it has been no hindrance to me. I have new friends in my life that are helping me grow in my faith. They encourage me. We pray together. They have helped me to forgive. This difficult time has definitely left me with some great lessons. It does not matter where we are in life, elementary school, high school, college or the work-force. We will always face mounting pressure to walk away from our beliefs. But that’s where true faith comes in. We must remember it’s not about us – but God. No matter the pressure, we can always choose to be a light in His kingdom. Me standing up for Christ while in college can help lead others to Christ. Yes, college and Christianity do mix, because Jesus is in our hearts ready and willing to guide us, and help us know His love – if we choose to stand up for Him. College doesn’t have to be about partying and drinking. In addition to our studies, we should be studying the Word of God and praying – daily. We may have to walk a lonely road for a while, but it’s well worth it. The most important thing I have learned is Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God, and it’s such a comforting feeling to know someone is always by your side.
Brianna Algere’ is from Edisto Island, SC. She is currently attending University of South Carolina Beaufort for education. Brianna loves being with her family and friends and desires to further Gods Kingdom. She hopes to finish her degree in Early Childhood Education in 2018.