Let’s Focus On The Heart A Little
Higher education can have a bad reputation when it comes to personal faith. One of the problems is that we spend so much time analyzing, criticizing, reading, and probing that our faith practices tend to be neglected. Even if a student doesn’t believe in anything in particular, I think it is still easy to ignore one’s heart and emotional well-being in an academic environment. I don’t have the perfect answer, but I asked my friends what they do to keep their “heart active” and here were some suggestions:
The School Worship Service: Most campuses (seminary or
secular) have a worship service that is open to students. This is a great and easy way to step outside of the academic environment and focus on faith for a while. A lot of my friends that utilize school services say they love not only the music, but also the sense of school community.
A Walk: I have quite a few friends who say they feel God the most when they are outside. If this is something that resonates with you, make time every day to stop what you are doing and go take a 15-minute walk. This is such a great way to get outside of your own head and connect with what’s around you.
Discipleship Group: When I was in my masters programs, my seminary set up voluntary weekly discipleship group meetings for all the students through their advisors. This group was honestly my saving grace through some really hard times. We met once a week, talked about our highs and lows (at school or in life), and prayed for each other. This can take whatever shape you want, but finding a group of friends to be a support system can bring a wonderful sense of faith community to a solitary, academic process.
Daily Scripture Reading: This is something that two of my mentors have used to “tap into
their heart” in their long academic careers. I had one professor who said that he wakes up 30 minutes early every day to read a psalm and then does a devotion. He said it was a way of centering himself and starting his day off on the right foot. On the other side of the spectrum, I had another professor who said that she went to bed early every night to give herself time to read a chapter in the gospels and have quiet time to reflect. For her, it was a great way to wind down and end the day focused on God.
There are so many other ways to reignite your faith while at school, but I thought it might be nice to share a few that have been successful for others. What has worked for you or your friends?