Q&A with Alissa Sandoval~
I feel so blessed to have crossed paths with this amazing girl who has helped lead me to Jesus and has been a huge role model for me the last few years. Back in High School, this lady was MY YL leader and now she's one of my dearest friends. Her words are always so encouraging and she has made me want to be a better person in every aspect of my life. I asked her if she would want to do a little Q&A and I'm SO happy that she said yes! This girls heart and wisdom is beyond amazing and I'm so glad you guys get to hear a little part of it.
Q: How do you keep Jesus the focal point of your life?
A: Such a great question! It's a process and in full transparency, there are days where keeping Him the focus is difficult. Although our hearts are now postured towards God, we are ultimately flesh. For me, it's a daily conscience choice to bring Him to the forefront of my mind and day.
Ive noticed in the mornings where the first thing I think of is Jesus, the rest of my day falls into line accordingly. So whether it be a "Good morning God," when your alarm goes off or a "Jesus, today is yours," as you're driving to work, inviting Him into your day is the first step each time. HE never barges in- force isn't love.
And creating a rhythm takes time! Build small practices today that will make a huge impact later! However you feel like you can intimately connect with Jesus, develop that rhythm. Whether it be 30 seconds or 30 minutes, Jesus is pleased by the heart that longs to be with him intentionally.
Q: What was it like going to a Christian University and would you recommend it?
A: I loved my time at BIOLA University and Id do it all over again in a heartbeat! At our school, we signed a faith and conduct statement at the beginning of every year stating that we comply with specific rules and regulations at the university. For example, BIOLA was a dry campus, meaning no alcohol if you are enrolled as a student even if you're 21 and older and enrolled in undergraduate classes.
Theres nothing wrong with alcohol, I LOVE my wine, but because I knew those were the rules going in, my expectations shifted and so did everyone else who applied and decided to go there. So what would we do instead? A lot of 2:00am Taco Bell runs. You think I'm kidding. Im not. So much Taco Bell was consumed between the years of 2011 and 2015.
For me BIOLA was a really good fit and I grew a lot in my faith there, but ultimately, find the college thats a good fit for YOU. If that happens in a Christian University? Dope, go for it! If its a state school, awesome! If you're a Christian at a state school, there are plenty of ministries or clubs on campus to help you get connected with fellow Christians. If you aren't sure where you want to go, go to community college for a few year while you figure it out - also dope!
Q: What advice would you give to someone if they're unsure if they want to follow Jesus?
A: Another great question! I feel like a lot of people are worried that if they follow Jesus, that means they are on an extensive list of rules and regulations that they have to follow. Thats not a life with Jesus. A life with Jesus is the greatest adventure, not a list of do's and don'ts. A life with Jesus is what lead me to go to school in Los Angeles, from there what lead me to North Carolina for a summer, then on to living in Haiti for almost a year and then what moved me up to Washington State where I still am today. Life with Jesus is life in all of its fullness (John 10:10).
And on a more personal note, Jesus to me means freedom from fear. Anxiety causes a lot of fear in my life. When those times come, I compare it to what Jesus says about me in the bible and if they don't line up, I toss the fears, doubts and lies aside! Another example of life in all of its fullness.
Q: What's your favorite Bible verse and why?
A: It changes a lot hahaha. The one Ive been dwelling on for the last two years on is Romans 8:38-39, "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow- not even even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It's a good reminder for the days where God feels far, that it's not true. From my experience, if God ever feels like he's not in a sphere of my life, its more of a reflection of my heart than Gods character. This verse is a beautiful reminder that theres nothing I could ever do to lose the love Jesus has for me.
Q: How do you stay motivated with having a full time job and leading high school Young Life girls?
A: I LOVE leading my Young Life girls. It has been my favorite part of my adventure to Washington. Everytime a girl opens up and shares her story with me Im humbled. It's the love of Jesus that flows through me to those girls. His love is steadfast and enables me to continue to love on the days where I feel tired or want to go home and eat a bowl full of ice cream instead of go to Young Life. Ive always had a heart for people and wanting them to know that they are seen, known and loved. Volunteering with YL allows me to do that!
Im fortunate enough to have a job that I love as well. So life is pretty balanced right now, which isn't always the case, so I'm leaning in and enjoying it. Ive also been learning to prioritize self care and quiet time for myself so I have the energy to show up in all of the areas that I'm expected to show up in right now. Sometimes that means slapping on a face mask and reading the book that I wanted to start two months ago instead of playing Wordscapes on my phone. If you know what you've been called to, it makes it easy to want to make time and create balance for everything going on in life.
Q: Lastly, what advice would you give to girls going into college/graduating from High School this year?
A: Three things come to mind:
1. Find out what you love and get really good at it. I was given this advice when I graduated from High School and am so thankful for it. Keep working at it. Ive been a photographer since my Junior Year of High School and the ways I have improved and the opportunities that have come my way because of those improvements have been incredible. You will likely have to work until you're at least 35-40, might as well be doing what you love right?
2. Your Junior and Senior Year, get lots of internships. Lots and lots of internships. Employers are looking at your experience and what you know how to do more than your grades. Yes your GPA is important but telling someone in an interview that you've already applied and used the skills in the classroom helps you stand out in competitive job markets.
3. If you don't know what to do, thats okay, join the club. Im one of the weirdos that got a job in what she studied in school 9Communications/Journalism), but I'm also doing a little bit of accounting and bookkeeping in my current role. Take opportunities that are good for you (individual you, not what was good for your sibling, neighbor, friend, parents, etc.) and run with them. It will all work out! Even if you aren't sure what that means yet.
Hope you guys enjoyed a snippet into my dear friend Alissa's life and could take some things out of it to apply to your daily life. Remember, you are SO loved and we are always here to listen and talk. Love you guys!
xoxo ~ Savannah