Fresh Eyes

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Sara Meier.

Hi, friends! My name is Sara. I spent five years as a member, servant, and leader of The College of Saint Rose BASIC group (Shout out to my #StroseBASIC babes!) and it completely changed my life. Now, I’m a newlywed and a post-grad speech-language pathologist in an elementary school setting for students who are deaf. I love coffee, all things Disney, flowers, lipstick, crepes and macarons, and of course, college ministry. I’m potentially one of the girliest girls you’ll ever meet, but at the same time I’m constantly seeking adventure. I mean – my husband and I spent a portion of our honeymoon zip lining through the rainforest and traipsing through an active volcano. Since we got married, we’ve experienced a lot of change and transition in both jobs and location, and most recently moved back to my hometown.

When you get used to a place, it’s easy to become complacent and lose grip of the vision you once had not only for the area as a whole, but the people too. Maybe this resonates with you as you think about your hometown, your college campus, or even your BASIC group.

While there are definite benefits to moving back to my hometown (like being close to my family again), I worried that I would become complacent and begin to feel stuck. Like I said, I’m an adventurer at heart, and I was concerned that my familiarity with the area and the people would cloud my vision and block my ability to serve the kingdom of God the way He has called me to. Do you ever feel like this on your college campus? Maybe you’re stuck in a routine and bored with the day-to-day of simply going to class, seeing the same faces, doing your homework, and repeating it all the next morning.

I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other. So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth! Revelation 3:15-16

The last thing I ever want to be is lukewarm. The weekend right before we moved, I was driving through town and “Fresh Eyes” by Andy Grammer began playing on the radio. How many people know that God can speak to you through literally anything – including a semi-secular song? He’ll do whatever He can to get through to us, and I am thankful for that. This song is essentially about finding new ways to appreciate your spouse in order to continue looking at him or her with fresh eyes, but as I listened to the song, I began interpreting it in a new way. As I drove through the area I once called home and soon would again, God began speaking to me about looking at this little city with fresh eyes, and I began praying and pleading for a new vision. Boredom produces complacency (lukewarmness) and prevents vision; but fervently attending to (in other words, praying for) your passion protects it.

I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2

Jesus has called each one of us to a life greater than we can imagine. Live your life worthy of that call, not distracted by what isn’t happening or where you’d rather be, but fully planted in the hope of Christ: for your life, for your friends, for your campus, and for the area you have been called to live and prosper in.

If you’re feeling complacent and in search of how to gain some fresh eyes, here are three points that have personally helped me begin to conquer any obstructions to my vision:

Change your attitude

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s SO important to have an attitude of gratitude, and sometimes when life gets busy or stressful it’s hard to maintain a positive attitude if you’re not intentional about it. Maybe you have a big exam coming up, your parents have recently gotten divorced, you are struggling to find where you fit in on campus, or you’re not getting along particularly well with one of your professors. These things tend to place a lens of negativity over the way we look at the rest of the world. But let me tell you something, friends – even on the worst day, we still have the greatest God!

One thing that I find really helpful when I’m trying to change my attitude is to keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, I like to write down at least one thing that I’m thankful for. You’d be surprised how uplifting it can be when you look for something positive in each day, even though some days you might have to look a little harder.

If you really want to challenge yourself, try to choose at least one thing that you’re grateful for about your campus (or any other situation that’s blurring your vision). For me, one of the greatest obstacles to my vision is the familiarity and complacency of the area I’m in, so one thing I’m thankful for is the new businesses that are popping up around the area that are ran by local Christians – one of which I am actually writing this blog in (Shout out to Character Coffee)!

Have the courage to turn away from everything that doesn’t feed your soul

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23

One of my favorite worship songs is “Take Courage” by Kristine DiMarco. The verse that says, “Sing praise my soul, find strength in joy, let His words lead you on. Do not forget His great faithfulness. He’ll finish all He’s begun” is spot on. Your thoughts shape your vision, friends.

If you are hanging around people with a lack of motivation or vision for your campus, it’s going to rub off on you. Try chatting with people who make you see the world differently, brighter, because you see what you choose to see. This actually ties back to the first point about choosing gratitude because your perspective is paving the way for your future experiences. If you have an ungrateful heart, and spend your time thinking negatively about your campus, you’re not going to be able to share God’s great vision; but if you alter your focus and persistently pursue the purpose God has given you on your campus, you’re going to explode with vision and the dreams you pray to see will come to pass.

Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18

Do you have a desire to see your BASIC group grow? Do you want to reach those students who don’t yet know Jesus? So does God. Give Him control of your vision, and He’ll provide you with the excited ambition to recharge and fuel your vision that you and I are so desperately in search of. You might be thinking, “Girl, it’s way easier said than done.” I know, but the word of God has a way of changing things that you have no idea where to even begin to start with. It helps you look forward with hope as opposed to backwards with regret. Make it a regular part of your life, and you’ll be on your way to chasing your vision out the door in the morning because of pure excitement and exhilaration for the things of God. It may not come easy, but it sure stays worth it.

I pray that your 2018 is filled with happiness and sunshine, but even deeper than that, I pray that it’s filled with fresh eyes because of a passion driven purpose. Thank you Jesus for imparting your boldness, your grace and your vision into the hearts of every college student that desires to serve you. I ask you to remove all blindfolds of complacency and replace them with fresh eyes and dreams beyond their wildest dreams. In Jesus’ mighty and loving name… Amen!

Cheers to intentionally seeking fresh eyes together in 2018!

 

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About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.