By Katie Ginn

Dear 2024 Christian Leaders of the Future,

As I write this, our scholarship awards program is only two and a half weeks away, and I can’t wait to meet all of you. I’m so excited to honor and encourage you as you embark on this new phase of life!

Kitchen Tune-Up

Back in the day, I earned a scholarship or two myself. But a few years later, I learned a couple of hard lessons – lessons which all my academic achievements and rule following had not prepared me for. I’d like to submit these lessons to you (and anyone else who may be reading), so maybe you won’t have to learn them the hard way like I did.

First, don’t cling to your faith; cling to Jesus Christ, the author of your faith. Remember Peter? At one point, his faith wasn’t strong enough to claim Jesus in front of others; instead, he denied the Savior three times (John 18:15-27). If all Peter had had was his faith – if that’s what he’d relied on – he would’ve been lost as a goose. But his faith, though obviously weak, was rooted in Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, that’s who Peter relied on; that’s who he swam to frantically after Christ’s resurrection; and that’s who forgave him and restored him to his purpose (John 21). Ephesians 2:8 says our faith is a gift from God. We’ve got to rely on the Giver, not the gift.

Next, don’t ever think you can “figure God out.” If God were to answer every single one of our questions, our brains would explode. We can’t understand everything on this side of eternity, and that’s OK. Because we’re not God. If you grew up with good parents, they probably enforced some rules that you didn’t like or understand. Looking back, you can probably see how those rules were for your good. There could be exceptions; parents aren’t perfect. But God is.

The things we don’t understand about God always have a purpose, are always for our good, and are always for His glory. We just can’t always see how yet. Don’t refuse to trust Jesus because you don’t understand what He’s doing. Let what you do know about Him propel you to trust Him with what you don’t know.

Bottom line? Trust in Jesus and not in yourself. Then live like it.

I don’t have a lot of other advice, but here are a few tidbits, based on things I did well and not so well in college:

Find a Christian community. This means a church, and it probably also means a campus ministry and/or Christian social or service group. NOTE: Make sure they believe Jesus is the only way to God, and make sure they’re grounded in the Bible, not just stuff that “sounds good.”

Find a mentor. Do your homework* on local pastors, campus ministers or other adults, and find one whose Christian walk you want to emulate. Meet that person at a coffee shop or other public place, and ask them about themselves: how they found their calling, what they wish they’d known in college, and any other questions you might have. Meet with them multiple times if you can.They’ll feel honored, and you’ll get to soak up some wisdom. 

*Ask other people about the prospective mentor before you meet with them, especially if you meet with them multiple times, and listen to your gut. I don’t care who it is or how saintly they appear: If you get a weird vibe, even if you don’t know why, find another mentor. I was never taken advantage of as an undergrad, but too many young people have been.

Make a budget and stick to it. Ask a parent or a trusted (and financially wise) adult for help. Figure out how much total monthly “income” you’ll have, then decide how much of it you’ll spend on different categories. Put tithing first! Give that adult a copy of your budget, and ask him or her to check on you monthly. Your post-college self will thank you.

Whether you’re 18 or 98, I pray you’ll experience God’s grace today and every day. Enjoy this edition of MCL!

Pro-Life Mississippi