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Practicing Life Together
My college years were an exercise in trust, humility, and the power of surrender. When choosing Covenant, there was so much I didn’t know about what lay ahead. In many ways, entering college felt like conducting a trust exercise with the LORD. While I didn’t know the future, God knew His exact plans for me.
My first year at Covenant was exactly what I needed in so many ways. I had no knowledge of what life on my hall - Blackwatch - would be like, but I couldn’t have picked a better home if it’d been up to me. It was a paradoxical match that grew me in unlikely ways. An introverted homebody, now experiencing rich and intense brotherhood. An overthinker, surrounded by spontaneity, like trips to Waffle House at 2 a.m. A background player, eventually stepping into a leadership role as resident assistant. None of those characteristics are better or worse than the opposite, but by experiencing both, I saw a fuller picture of God’s design for Christian community. God pulled me into something special, and I was incredibly thankful.
Entering sophomore year, I thought I’d discovered the secret to what Christian community should look like, and as a resident assistant, I desperately wanted the hall to experience growth through that special brotherhood. Many seniors moved off-campus and freshmen moved on. I felt responsible to give the newcomers the same wonderful experience I’d had my freshman year. I couldn’t have been more unwittingly arrogant, and sadly, it took a semester before I stepped back and realized what I was doing, with the help of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
In Life Together, Bonhoeffer explains that having your own ideal of what Christian community looks like is not only equating yourself with God, but also has more to do with wanting things to go your way than God’s. When that ideal inevitably falls apart, you begin to accuse involved parties for the failure. It was like Bonhoeffer was a fly on the wall of my hall. With a renewed sense of humility and with an apology to the hall at our semester-opening meeting, I was able to step back. The LORD humbled my heart and enabled me to surrender to him. By granting space and letting go of control, I saw relationships on Blackwatch grow. Life together is a lot better when you’re not micro-prescribing a standard for what Christian community must look like.
In all of this, the LORD was teaching me what it truly means to trust Him and His plan above my own - something I often profess, but fail to live out. Neither my hall community nor Covenant is perfect, but the beauty is in the faithful work. It’s in the recognition of our finitude, in the humbling times, where we experience God’s love and care for us most. I am beyond thankful to the LORD for giving me these experiences, and to Covenant College for being the place where they could happen.