Faith. Faith has always been a part of my life, but its place of importance has greatly varied throughout. I grew up going to church all my life, and I can remember all the Sunday school teachers telling me to ‘put God first’. I never really knew what that meant until I started coming to college.
There was a person (a pastor) I used to know that seemed to think putting God first meant going to church for every single service: Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I was a busy person at the time. I was active in 4-H and my academics, so it was hard to go to church three times a week every week. This person also believed that if you went to a secular college (e.g. Ohio State) that you couldn’t really be following God because putting God first meant going into the ministry or Bible college after high school. This hurt because I knew I wanted to study Animal Science and become a veterinarian, and Bible colleges don’t offer programs like those. It didn’t seem right that I would have to choose between religion and my passion for animals. My family stopped going to that church, and although I didn’t really believe the things that guy said, it put a damper on my faith. I kept putting my personal relationship with Him to the side.
During my senior year in high school, a major event that completely shook my mental and emotional world occurred. (It would take too long to explain now). It hurt like hell, and I felt like I would never recover. My parents and friends were there to support me, but I only got through it because I turned to God. Through Him, I found a strength inside myself I forgot I had. I finally found a great support group of real friends that shared my faith and supported me, and that seedling of a faith finally got the nourishment it needed. That’s when I realized that I really wanted to walk this Christian walk every day of my life. It was also when I discovered what it truly means to put God first.
Putting God first means trusting Him in all things and living your life in a way that honors him. It’s not about where you go to college, what you do for a living, or how many times you go to church. It’s about loving and serving others and giving God the glory for all the blessings in your life. That’s the life I want to live. One that honors God and puts him first. God can’t be put in one little box. He belongs in every aspect of life, the big and small. Having faith in something bigger than myself gives my life meaning and purpose. I was put here for a reason, and I am going to work hard everyday to live out the plan God has for me. As a new friend of mine recently said to me “You are a child of God. Everything in your life is spiritual.” I can live out my faith being a vet or a missionary. A Bible scholar or a farmer. I can serve God being a brain surgeon, a nutritionist, a counselor, an ag teacher, or a youth leader. I’m living out my faith right here, right now, being an Animal Science student at THE Ohio State University. I’m not perfect, and I don’t have it all figured out. I’m just trying to do the right thing one step at a time.