Senior Q&A: Shanell Nieuwendorp

How has your view of God changed or been strengthened since coming to NWC? 

For a long time I thought I had to get to a certain spot in my life and faith in order to be an instrument for God to use to build his kingdom. Once I’ve read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. After I have a degree. When I am a better Christian. These thoughts also played into the misconstrued notion that once I knew all the answers, then I would know what God’s will is for my life and suddenly have it all figured out. God doesn’t work like that. There’s this thing called sanctification and it’s a process, a lifelong process in fact.  

God’s will is a funny thing. I recently read a book by Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach To Finding God’s Will. (I highly recommend it.) This book helped me realize I will never suddenly have all of the answers or come to a point in life where I am good enough. God’s will is not a maze. There is no specific path that we should follow. God’s will isn’t about getting divine messages concerning what to major in, what job to take, who to marry, or where to live. God’s will for you and I is to be holy and live lives that bring honor and glory to the Father. God cares about our sanctification—becoming more and more like Christ.  

Don’t fret about your next step in life, whatever it may be. Take initiative and plan in humility, with the understanding and hopefulness that God ultimately controls the future. When it comes down to it, God’s will is both simple and difficult. Simple, because there are no hidden messages to uncover; difficult, because dying to self and living for Christ is much more difficult than choosing a major, moving, accepting a job, or marriage.   

What advice would you give to underclassmen regarding their personal faith walk while here at NWC? 

Foster good habits. Life is made up of a culmination of habits. Like I mentioned earlier, God is concerned with our sanctification. He wants us to become more like him. Our habits play a crucial role in this transformation. Pray. Read the Bible. Go to church. Have fellowship with other believers. Surround yourself with people who will encourage good habits. Don’t believe the lie that I all too often tell myself, “Once life slows down I will have more time to do X.” Life doesn’t slow down. Develop those godly habits now. Don’t wait.



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