Walking with Jesus is the BEST decision you can make with your life! But that doesn't mean it will always be easy. In fact, the Bible teaches us to expect struggles and challenges. High School is a time and place where many struggles seem to occur at rapid speed and great depth, whether in dealing with friends, faith, insecurities, temptations ... among other things. I've been there. I get it. Here are a few things I found helpful to me during my teenage years. Hopefully you'll find something here to help you in this phase of your journey.
1. Surround Yourself with Other Believers.
Not everyone has a Christian family (including me) but I loved going to youth group, getting involved in teaching kids church, the worship team, and anything else I could, so I could learn from and be encouraged by other more mature Christians.
I also had a Christian group at school, which was awesome! We'd meet over lunch once a week to talk and pray, or do acts of kindness around the school. (If you don't have a group yet, maybe you could be the one to start one up! “Who me?” you ask. Yes YOU!! Check out our “How To Start A School Outreach” article.)
The main thing is making sure you know you're not alone! It can feel that way at school sometimes, like you're the only one "crazy enough" to believe in Jesus and the Bible - but it's not true. It's a lie designed to make us feel powerless and afraid. But when we come together, we see even more all the awesome things we can do with Christ in our lives! Plus, the more you connect with other Christians, you may find that you become the encouragement someone else needs to stand up and grow in their faith, too.
2. Read, Pray, Worship, Repeat.
Your relationship with God is not something anyone else can do for you. You've got to make the time and effort to do it. God won't ever move away from you, but He won't force you to choose Him either. But be encouraged that He promises that as we draw near to Him, He will come near to you! By His Spirit and His Word, He will teach you and show you things. He will fill your heart and renew your mind. He will give you strength and love and power!
We need to recognize that when we go to school (or anywhere out in the world) there are spiritual battles that we will face, and we need to be armed. There will be temptations, discouragement, people making fun of what we believe, lies thrown at us...but God, His Word and His Spirit give us power to stand up and stand firm in His truth. As you read and pray, ask for His help and guidance, and know that wherever you go and whatever you face - He goes with you!
3. Set Boundaries.
You have to make choices each day as to who you spend time with, who you listen and talk to, basically who you let influence you. And you're responsible for what you say and do as well. We need to make sure that as we interact with friends (or even people we're not really friends with but may just pass in the hall or sit with in class) that we are strong enough in what we believe that WE are influencing others for Christ more than we are being influenced BY them and away from Him. You need to know what you stand for, know what you value and believe - and be willing to voice that and not settle for doing things that compromise your beliefs.
This doesn't mean being rude or judgemental of others, but it does mean not letting the crowd set your standards. Our standard is Jesus - and He modelled love, forgiveness, grace and truth. You may need to think about (and make tough choices) about how much time you spend with certain people if they are dragging you down. Again, not ignoring or being rude to them, but you do need to take care of yourself. It's a balance between showing love and kindness to everyone, but also knowing when to set limits and say no if you're starting to be swayed by the crowd in unhealthy ways.
If you're stuck in a tough position, talk about it with a parent, mentor or pastor to help you sort through what to do before things go too far.
Thanks for reading! If you have other questions or specific issues at school you're dealing with, send us a message and we will be happy to write back with more!