Emily Duff is from Portsmouth and has just finished her first year of English Literature and Linguistics.
The time last year I was preparing to head to uni as a fresher. I felt really anxious.
Not so much about moving away but about what uni would mean for my faith. I have a tendency to allow chaos and excitement to pull me away from God. But that summer God taught me how fear can be a good thing. Without it, I can’t learn to be brave, to trust God or develop a faith that isn’t supported by my parents and home church.
So I asked God to help me in the right direction. For every step I took, God seemed to take another one for me. I moved to York and my parents supported me as I tried out my first church. The second one I tried was the one I found my family community in. I asked people back home to pray for me and my flat mates. Three of them were revealed to be Christians in a late night discussion on medical ethics and another one got baptised in May.
I think that the key for me has been in ‘together, not alone’. We’re all braver when we’re supported. I’ve turned from someone who just referred to church as ‘that thing I do on Sunday’ into someone who does people’s washing up for them with my cell group, or invites people to apologetics events. Church has helped to show me what I’m good at and what I can work on. My Christian friends encourage me to go to church when I’m feeling lazy. Someone even set up a spreadsheet so that every student at church was prayed for during every exam they took. Together we can do so much more than I would ever have managed alone.
The fear I had last year is still there. I still think I’m going to muck it up any second, but knowing that I have a church family and – more importantly – the God of the universe at my side helps me to carry on being brave.