You might have noticed we talk about ‘spiritual formation’ a lot at Columbia. What does that actually mean? How is it happening in the lives of Columbia students? We asked students in Gareth Brandt’s Spiritual Formation & Discipleship class to share a spiritual practice they’ve been growing in this semester.
“Meditation has been a key one for me. In the midst of the stresses that student life throws at you (papers, exams, low funds), taking time to stop and be with God is crucial to letting all of those stresses go. It’s helping me be more in tune with God and discovering just how present He really is in my life.” – Ryan G.
“My prayer life has been completely changed with meditation. I’ve learned how to connect and talk to God and as a result have become a lot closer to God on my walk with Him.” – Matthew J.
“Since starting at Columbia, I’ve learned so much about the beauty of prayer. I’m practising how to tune into the things God is speaking to me and respond with faith.”
“I have come to realize the most important is to place yourself in front of God. He is the one that can and will transform us. I’m learning how to become more “Christ-alike,” learning his values and character.”
“A spiritual practice I’ve been digging deeper into is prayer, specifically writing my prayers down. For me this is a way I can better get my words out and be able look back on those thoughts and feelings and see how my prayers have been answered.”
“One practice that I’ve been learning is how to worship. It’s truly a different experience to be in the midst of homework and stress, but to choose to go to Vespers on Tuesday nights. It allows me a chance to detach from my anxieties and give them to the Lord. I find this to be very centering and connect me with God even more profoundly.”
“Solitude. In a community as readily available, awesome and demanding as Columbia’s – it’s hard to prioritize alone time when you don’t want to miss out. Solitude is necessary to keeping a sane mind and give space to hear God’s leading. In solitude comes clarity.”
“I have been learning the practice of silence and solitude. It has helped me spend more time with God and be more connected with Him on a deeper level.” – Tye Q
“The spiritual discipline of silence and solitude has led me to realize how offensive my internal anxiety and constant distraction must be to the God of true peace. I am attempting to incorporate it into my thoughts throughout the day as I quiet my soul and listen for God’s voice in the present moment.”
“I’m learning the spiritual discipline of solitude. We get so caught up in busyness and I’ve learned to take advantage of little times of solitude whether it’s my commute time or a few moments of silence. This has shaped my journey with God in acknowledging His presence and slowing down and taking a moment to refocus my true priorities…”
“I’ve learned that you can be in a big group of people and still find solitude if you look for God’s voice amidst the chaos. “Be still and know that I am God.” Stillness is where you allow God to meet you.”
“I have been shaped greatly in practising the art of solitude. In my intentional attempts to take time and be still before the Lord in this busy world, I have found deeper contentment and satisfaction in simply ‘being’ with God, learning to live with him in the moment.
“Columbia has really taught me how to be part of a community – that my faith isn’t just about me, but everyone. I grew up in a small town and small church, so living in Christian community is kind of new – but awesome.” – Morgan C.
“I’ve further developed the act of kindness and forgiveness. I came to Columbia as a very broken and bitter person, but the community here and love of God have been transforming my heart towards myself and others and my faith.”
“One new spiritual practice I’ve been learning at Columbia is simplicity. This has been shaping my life and my journey with God by removing the sense of worry in my life and helping me to get rid the things I no longer need to hold onto.” – Aaron J.
“One spiritual practices I’ve tried hard to accomplish is simplicity. I believe it’s important to be stewards of creation. I am now more conscious about my decisions in purchase and life.”
“The discipline of simplicity. It’s about mindfulness and is shaping where our hearts are because that’s where our treasure is.”
” The discipline of simplicity was something new for me. It helped me be less materialistic and focus more on the spiritual things God has in store for me.” – Samuel T.
Don’t Make Me Choose Just One.
“I have been learning about and practising many different spiritual disciplines such as journaling, silence and solitude, fasting, and meditation. They’ve allowed me to experience God in different ways. This has helped shape my relationship with God by exposing me to new forms of worship.”