This summer, we will be launching our oldest to college. So many emotions accompany this transition for our family. Realizing that in the blink of an eye my bright-eyed, dimple-faced baby taking his first steps will be stepping onto a college campus, I know that this time too will fly by. And obviously, I will not be there to pick him up when he falls, wake him up when he oversleeps, or lift him up when he’s down. And that’s okay, because he needs to put all of that equipping into action. This past year, I have thought a lot about that. How to equip him to go out into the world with much dependence on God, responsibility for self, and love for others. And as much as we try to do this as parents, there will be times that we simply fail. After all, we’re not perfect. But Jesus is. And I have been reminded time and time again that Jesus loves him more than I do. And much of my equipping should be simply praying for him.
So as I sit here staring at the growing piles of items with which we will send our boy off to college, I’m reminded that the most important things we can send him off with are not things. They are reminders of who he is in Christ and how he is to navigate the world he’s heading into. So, in the packing of items for his dorm room, I’m packing a list of things I want him to remember. A list to tuck away in his journal. (Those of you who know me well know I love a good list!)
So here goes… the Ten Godly Truths I Want My Son to Bring to College:
- Remember who you are whose you are. You are a child of the King. You are His creation and he uniquely and wonderfully made you. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:4 “For in Christ you are all sons of God, through faith.” The calling of the prophet Jeremiah included these life-altering words from the Lord: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) This applies to you too. And Luke reminds us of this in Luke 12:7 when he declares, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
- Remember that God does not promise you will not have problems or troubles. In fact, in John 16:33 Jesus assured His disciples, and He assures us, that “…in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I (the Lord) have overcome the world.” And in Isaiah 41:10, we are encouraged, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Remember you were made to be in community. Whether with one good friend or 10 friends, finding your people is really important. People who build into you and whom you build into. People who fill you. People who make you a better person and who support good choices. Try to find these people and spend time with these people. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). God never intended for us to go at life alone but to break bread with and share our burdens with one another, which leads me to…
- Remember to check in on those around you. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” No one should have to walk alone with their burdens. We need to walk with others and share in and lighten the load friends carry on their shoulders. The Lord puts us in community so that we can be light to each other.
- Remember you are not alone. Please always remember that those who love you the most are your biggest cheerleaders and will always be here for you. And the one who loves you the most is the One who created the world, and the One who will never leave or forsake you. As Moses assured Joshua and the Lord assures us through His word in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” And be mindful of the encouragement found in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
- Remember to spend time with the Lord each day. Staying grounded in His Truth and Word will serve as your rock. Your (earthly) dad’s life verse is Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Seeking time with God each day will help to make your path clearer and straighter, especially when times get uncertain or tough. But keep the discipline, even when times are good, because you will then you will have the muscle memory to flex in times of need. Build healthy daily rhythms and habits is important in developing discipline and integrity.
- Remember the fruits of the spirit. And strive to have these attributes. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul emphasized these attributes that should be evident in a Christian in whom the Holy Spirit dwells: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Remember God’s commandments. The entire law in the Bible can arguably be summed up in these two commands: love God and love others. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus commanded, “…You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
- Remember to spur others on. Part of loving others is spurring them on. Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” This is an important trait in building community with others.
- Most importantly, remember that you are loved. You are loved more than you will know by God, your parents, your extended family, and friends. God’s love is perfect and is a model for how we love. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
I’m so excited to see the story that unfolds over the next several years. God has gone before you and has written an incredible story for you. For all of us. I’m incredibly grateful that we share in His story together.
Heavenly Father, I thank You and praise You that You love us, and our children more than we can imagine. I pray that the college years for my son and his friends are the most fruitful yet. I pray that they consistently seek You and that they see You guiding their paths. May my son remember these truths and have peace in Your plans for him. May he continue to grow in relationship with You and lean into Your Truth always. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.