Learning to Live in Community

I came to college last year with a deep desire to explore my faith. I was raised in the Church, and by the time I left for college, I was uncomfortable with the fact that all of my beliefs were based off of my parents’. I had heard of Lighthouse before classes started, and I was desperately hoping that it would somehow be everything I needed it to be.

I had doubts about Christianity, God, and truth — but I still wanted to believe, and I wanted a community that would be okay with those feelings and encourage me to deepen my faith. And Lighthouse has become that place for me.

But Lighthouse was challenging for me my first semester. I am an introvert, and that made walking into the community terrifying. I felt so lost and overwhelmed. Before I had even met these people, I had placed a lot of pressure on myself and high expectations on them. Lighthouse didn’t truly become my home until I learned what I really needed and how to ask for it.

At the end of first semester, I realized that I still very much wanted Lighthouse to be my home, but that I needed to make some changes. I had a long, honest conversation with someone from Lighthouse about how I’d felt and what I could do to make it better. He encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and jump in to the community. I thought about it a lot over winter break and when I came back, I recommitted myself. I started coming early to pray with everyone on Tuesdays, I asked a friend to make sure I went to the women’s retreat, and ultimately, I applied for the leadership team.

The whole experience has pushed me to grow up. I can’t go through life expecting everyone to immediately understand what I want and what I need. I feel much more comfortable in new situations and with new people, and I am so grateful to have this experience. I know that I am better for it.

I applied for the leadership team because I wanted to continue becoming a member of this community and I wanted new challenges. I wanted even more from this community and I realized how much I had to give to it. Each week presents new challenges and new experiences, all of which are preparing me for the future: I’m learning about how I interact and deal with the world, how I can do so in a more life-giving manner, and how central my faith is to this growth.

I am so grateful and blessed to be a part of this community. I realize now that this is the kind of community I’ve been searching for, but just had no experience with. I didn’t know where to start. But through Lighthouse’s commitment to me and mine to them, I now find myself in the middle of this community, and in a position where I can help welcome others and bring them inside too!