January 7, 2015

My only New Years' Resolution.

     I usually fail miserably at New Years' Resolutions, and that is my excuse against not making them. I have always kind of fallen under the belief that life changes can begin at any point in the year or on any special day (such as birthdays, anniversaries, or after starting at a new school or new job, etc), and don't necessarily have to begin on January 1st.

    But this year, I am making only one resolution. And I am determined to keep it. I am holding myself accountable not only to me, but to God as well. Here's what my resolution is:


      To attend church every week in 2015, and for weeks when I absolutely cannot, listen to a sermon online. 



     To some of you, this might sound like a simple resolution, and others of you might not understand the significance. Allow me to explain a little bit more about why I feel so strongly about doing this.


     During my freshman year of college, I found a church that I loved. And it certainly wasn't only loved by me! A large enough student population attended that the church had its own special college small group that met Sundays before the services. I absolutely loved attending. Not only did I find myself grown a lot in my faith and spiritual maturity during this year, but I was accountable to attending church because at my school I was responsible for heading up one of the carpools to church.


Just a few of the girls that I attended church with during my freshman year at my former college!



     When I transferred colleges to go to school in Charlotte at the start of my sophomore year, one the first things that I knew I had to do was find a new church to attend. After church-hopping at a couple different places, it didn't take me too long to find a wonderful new church home (which I was so thankful for!).

     But unlike my freshman year, attending church wasn't a community activity for me at my new college. My new church was a mega church and was technically very large, so the numbers of the church weren't the problem, but it was just finding fellow students at school who shared my faith. I did have some Christian friends last year, but they all already had churches of their own that they attended. The great thing about Charlotte is that there are so many wonderful churches... but it just made it a little harder for me since I couldn't find anyone from school that I knew who went to my own church!

     So I went all of last year by myself. In some ways, I learned that it can be good to attend church alone sometimes. It can sometimes be easier to get into the worship music and also easier to fall into deeper prayer when you're alone. But I truly missed the companionship of having friends to talk to about the messages learned from the sermons, and as the school year went on my attendance got more sporatic because without having a carpool group I didn't feel like anyone was pressuring me to go!


      This year (junior year), during the start of my fall semester I only made it to church maybe two times. I am quite ashamed of that now! Every weekend I would just sleep in on Sundays, and on Saturday nights (another time my church offered services), I was always babysitting. I never completely gave up on my faith, but church attendance just stopped being one of my priorities, which now makes me very sad to think about.

     In November, I started going to church weekly again. It was at the same time that my church was doing a sermon series all about the persecuted church around the world. (You can listen to the sermon series here!) This series touched me deeply. As I heard story after story of believers around the world that were literally risking their homes, freedom, and lives just to come together in fellowship and to worship the Lord together, I felt so guilty for the fact that I had not been making attending church a priority. People had been risking it all to do something that I was taking for granted all of the time! What a blessing it is to live in a country like the United States where I am free to attend church and worship the Lord publicly. I should be taking advantage of this as much as possible- not ignoring it!

     It was shortly after this that God also blessed me with finding a couple of friends from school who attended the same church as me! (Weirdly they had been attending just as long as I had but since it's such a large church we had never bumped into each other. :-) ) I started attending church each week with my friends, and just like my freshman year at my former college, it made me feel that much more accountable to attending church since I had people to go with.


     So a combination of all of these things has lead me to make my only resolution of 2015 to attend church every week of this year that I can. If there is a week when I absolutely cannot go (such as traveling, sickness, finals week, etc), then I will absolutely make it a priority to listen to a sermon online. In this modern age of technology, why not use it for good purposes such as "attending church" when one cannot physically attend?!


     I am excited to see how regular church attendance will help grow my faith in 2015! This is a resolution that I am absolutely determined to keep. I started it off by attending church at my home church here in Maine this past Sunday! It's my last Sunday there until the summer, but it's always nice to be back to visit. :-)


     Did you make any resolutions for 2015? I would love to hear them!


     xoxo Miss ALK

10 comments:

  1. I completely understand how easy it can be to lose your motivation to attend church when you don't have friends to go with you and share your faith with, I'm thankful to still live close enough at home to attend church with my fiance' each sunday as well as small-groups with other couples our age.

    I'll be praying for you to find friends at your church as well as to stay faithful! I'm sure you'll do much better this semester :)

    xoxo, SS

    www.TheSouthernStylista.blogspot.com

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  2. I really admire your resolution! Motivating yourself to go to church is definitely a challenge in college. I missed a ton last semester, and I rarely stayed for Sunday School.

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  3. What a beautiful resolution! I am not a religious person, but I know that something like this can really lift you up and bring you peace!

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  4. That is a great resolution! My resolution is to read my Bible and devotionals every day. I was in the habit of doing this in college, but since graduating I've really been slacking.

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  5. Wow! So cool that you went even though you didn't have people to go with! I admire that!

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  6. That is definitely a great resolution - I know especially in college when you're away from home it can be tough trying to find a church and keeping your faith. I used to be really strong in my faith back in high school but since coming to college I think, just like with a lot of people, it becomes very hard and you're left not really knowing what to do. I really admire your dedication and I hope that your resolution goes well for you!!

    Pick Your Beau

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  7. I love this girl! Thanks for being so open and honest about your faith here on your blog! It's so refreshing! And what an awesome resolution to have. Good luck with it all! And I loved what you said about why not use this technology we have for good reasons like attending church. That's so true!

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  8. Great resolution! Some times it takes a lot of effort to find the right church home. I hope you stumble upon just the right place very soon! In the meantime -- if you're looking for podcast recommendations some of my favorites are Andy Stanley, Matt Chandler, Priscilla Shire and John Siebling :)

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