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    Are You Ready for a Change?

    Devotional Thoughts to Prepare You for College

    by Amber Penney

    There's just no avoiding it. Life is full of changes. And as you head off to college, you'll probably experience some pretty big ones. You're growing up, moving away, figuring out who you are and who you want to be. It's a fun time, but it can also be scary as you leave behind the comfort of the familiar.

    Everyone deals with these changes differently. Some anticipate them with anxiety, some with excitement, while others are pretty laid back and just take them as they come. You may already be thinking about how much you're going to miss your friends. Or you may be looking forward to meeting new ones. Then again, maybe you haven't given it much thought at all. Chances are, though, you're probably experiencing a mixture of emotions—from apprehension to exhilaration. But no matter where you fall on the ability-to-adjust scale, there are a few truths to tuck away so that when things start to feel unstable, you'll have a secure place to stand.

    First and most basic, remember that God doesn't change (James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8). Relationships will change, your address will change. But God will remain the same. While there's not much in this world you can count on, you can count on him. God was around before the world was even formed, and when it comes to an end, he will still be present (Psalm 90:2). You can find comfort in God's eternal presence as well as stability in his changeless character—his love, mercy, justice, patience and holiness. You can also depend on his promises—especially the one about him always being with you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that God's purpose for you doesn't change either. Whether you go away to school or stay close to home, God's chief desire is still for you to bring him glory (1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 11:36). And the best way to do that is by enjoying a relationship with him and becoming more like him.

    The way you do these things may begin to look different in college. You may begin to explore new ways of worshiping God and spending time with him. And you will daily encounter new ways to grow in your likeness of him—like when your roommate begins to get on your last nerve and you choose to respond in love, or when you have the opportunity to cheat on an assignment yet you choose to do what's right.

    Right now you can't possibly foresee all the changes that await you, so there's not a whole lot you can do to plan for them. There is, however, one thing you can plan. And once this plan is in place, you should be able to handle most any change you encounter.

    The plan is spending time with God. Sure, you don't know your schedule yet. You may have class at 8 a.m. or you may not have to wake up till noon. Regardless, you can decide right now to make pursuing God a priority. Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

    If you will set aside time to meet with God, to read his Word and spend time in prayer, the rest of life will fall into place—the scheduling of classes, your relationships with friends and professors, figuring out your major.

    Of course reading the Bible and praying is not a magic formula. They won't make God love you more—he already loves you infinitely—nor will they keep bad things from happening to you. What they will do is help you better understand who God is and what he wants for you. And that's the kind of foundation that will keep you standing strong—through whatever changes may come.