by Marina Guirgius
My name is Marina and I’m a second-year student from Sydney studying interstate in Bendigo, VIC. Studying in bushy Bendigo has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life. Whilst I’ve enjoyed life in Bendigo it has also been a time of both busyness and occasional loneliness and has taught me 2 very important life lessons:
1. Whilst it is easy to get caught up in daily activities and neglect our spiritual life, the time we give to God is rewarded beyond what we can imagine
2. God is a constant who is always there and gives us His blessings in advance
Being away from home and learning to do things independently at a young age has made me grow familiar with my own shortcomings when it comes to how much time and effort I truly give to Christ. Initially I found it difficult trying to juggle my friendships with others in Sydney, focusing on my studies, taking care of myself and my health and still working to develop my bond with Christ. You start to feel as though areas of your life begin to become compromised whether it’s your friendships, relationships, social life or spiritual life. All these factors make it easy to neglect God thinking we are far too “busy” to give Him time and we can find ourselves procrastinating reading our bible for ten minutes, going to mass or praying. In times of extreme busyness which we all will experience living away from home, I’ve found that even a short recitation of the Jesus prayer can be a good way of remembering Christ in all that we do "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." In terms of studies, my confession father helped teach me a way of learning to remember God in all times: Read the Bible for six minutes before every hour and God will bless that time ten fold. I’ve found this to be a great way of involving God during busy periods of study and I have truly felt more focused throughout the hour with very little procrastination. I also believe that it is has been the amazing support system of fellowship around me that has allowed me to continue to strive spiritually. Pushing each other through attending regular youth meetings, tasbeha sesh's, masses, bible studies and of course the kenonia sesh's. Encouraging one another to participate in these activities places Christ at the forefront of your daily life and makes it nearly impossible to forget him in such a busy world.
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” - Matthew 18:20
Someone once told me that being interstate is the best time to work on your spiritual goals as you are no longer dependent on anyone besides Christ. You don’t have your family to help support you through those dreaded exam blocks, mum’s incredible cooking, childhood friends for procrastination tips, being able to attend and serve in the church which you grew up in, and you can be left without the ability to participate in doing things you love most. It is in these moments that we learn to place our strength and trust solely and completely in Christ. You find no one else to run to and constantly lean on during this time except God alone. When boredom hits it can be extremely tempting to waste time on things of little or no benefit to us like scrolling for ages on social media or watching several seasons of a TV show just keep ourselves occupied. Instead we could be giving that time to the one who gave us time to begin with and not just seeking him during those dreaded exam periods. It is when we learn to habitually seek God regardless of our needs that he becomes an embedded aspect of our lives, providing for us before we make our requests known to him.
Glory be to God Forever. Amen.