When church becomes your family
Heart of a Lion: A Guest Post

College Bucket List


Whether you formally write them down or not, we all have things on our Bucket List. This has become a fascination of sorts in our society.


Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dyin’,” Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s movie, Bucket List, multiple books and Internet articles on the topic. We wonder about what we would most like to see and do before we die.


College Bucket List #goals #parenting


In today’s post, I offer up a variation on the Bucket List concept. Following are the Bucket List items I have for my daughter. My older, college-bound girl. Someday.



Whatever that looks like for you. Test your wings. Look into opportunities to study abroad. Going miles from home and immersing yourself in a different culture can teach you things we didn’t.


When I was single, my mom and I took a trip somewhere in the United States every year. If you’re up for that, I’ll pack my bags. 


Every time I traveled for business, I extended the stay at least a few days. That way I could visit museums, Presidential sites, national parks, baseball games, etc. Make every trip worthwhile.


At 26, I found myself heartbroken and needed to find myself anew. I took a trip by myself to Italy. One of the greatest journeys of my life.  



Many times in your college years, you’ll find yourself alone. Away from family for the first time. Learn to embrace it.


This means liking yourself first. Just as God designed you. With your hangups, your talents, your abilities and your struggles. The whole package.


It also means finding things you like to do all by yourself. Give me a book and I can be alone for hours. Days. Find your alone activities. 



We’re right here. Keep us updated. Life will go on as normal without you. But a new normal. We will always, always, be waiting to hear what’s up with you. 


I still remember going home for the weekend from school. I would often arrive around dinnertime and Mom would have prepared one of my favorite meals. After visiting and just before bed, I would sneak off outside. I would spend a few minutes staring up at the stars. The sky looked so different at home in the middle of nowhere compared to the college towns. Looking into the night sky grounded me.


When this growing up thing proves to be a bit much for you, come home. I’ll remember your favorite meals and cook them up for you. Dad will show you around the property. All the changes while you were gone. We’ll re-find our familiar. 



Study to learn an occupation. But never let it stop there. Learn about yourself, friendships, God. Anything and everything that interests you. Stay curious. A college campus offer such freedom to explore topics. Take advantage. 


My first declared major was education. Followed by communication. Both taught me lessons I use in ministry today. 


Also, don’t think you must break the bank to get a good, quality education. School loans are very real and can follow you around for years.



Relationships will come in God’s timing. Don’t rush it or think it has passed you by. There are so many things to see and do in these years. Whether you have a high school sweetheart or find yourself single, don’t miss any opportunities.


I had everything from long-term relationships to one-hit wonder dates. But when I finally met your daddy, at 28, I knew we were both ready to be in a relationship. Six months of dating, a six month engagement and married. That’s my story. Let God write yours.



Speaking of God, you know I feel strongly about this one. Your college years will likely be the first time you’ve had to find a church on your own. Remember, we are part of a worldwide family of believers. So, when you enter a new church, you are actually just coming across distant relatives you haven’t met yet.


The Holy Spirit gives us all a connection like no other. I don’t know for sure what your church years will look like as a college student. Just make sure you keep yourself in church. God gave us community.


I leave you with this. 

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear  God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13


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