Going back to school can be a difficult time of transition. The challenges, pressures, and temptations that inevitably come with every school environment can be tough to navigate. I guess that’s why one reader recently emailed me with this request:
How do I keep my faith at school, because I know how challenging it will be. Please do a blog about this.
She’s right. Standing firm in our beliefs as Christians is challenging in almost every environment. Challenging, but not impossible.
I love that we are never on our own. By God’s incredible mercy and grace, we don’t have to rely on our power, strength, and wisdom to make it through difficult circumstances. God is the one who helps us thrive at school, at work, at home—everywhere! Because of His great power in us, we can be overcomers.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9).
Instead of falling into temptation and struggle this school year, look to Jesus to help you, knowing that He will provide everything you need to live the life He has called you to. Then make proactive choices that will help you stand strong during that time.
Here are eight ideas that will help you remain strong through the school year.
1. Spend time in the Word every day.
If you want your brain to still be sharp in third period, you’d better not skip breakfast, right? Well if you want your spirit to be strong as you face the challenges of the next nine months, make sure you feast on God’s Word! In the same way that you wouldn’t neglect to feed your physical self, don’t neglect to feed your spiritual self. Make spending time in God’s Word a daily priority.
Sing along with these adorable kids to help yourself remember, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.”
2. Pray for strength.
Ask God for strength. He is the source of all power, might, courage, and everything else that you need. Turn to Him as your true and only source for the strength to stand strong.
You can pray straight from Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
3. Stay plugged into your church.
It can be easy to put church on the back burner during the school year due to busy sports and activity schedules. Don’t let that happen to you. Stay plugged into church, and strive to attend weekly and get involved. We all need the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sports can never replace the teaching, accountability, and spiritual refreshment that church does such a great job at providing.
4. Get involved in a small group.
It’s easy to pop in and out of church without getting connected. When we do this, we miss out on one of the very best perks of the church—authentic relationships. I highly encourage you to get involved in a small group or small Bible study. Build those relationships, and find a group that can pray for you on a regular basis.
5. Get a mentor.
Having the one-on-one encouragement and accountability of a mentor is huge. Find an older woman who can meet with you, ask you questions, keep you focused, and point you in the right direction. Don’t assume that you are strong enough to make it through on your own. Find a Christian woman, ask her to mentor you, and be a faithful mentee.
(PS: You don’t have to say something official like, “Will you please mentor me?” Just ask if you can spend time with an older woman you respect and admire, and be honest about the challenges you face).
6. Make wise decisions.
It doesn’t matter what kind of school you go to, you will encounter temptations wherever you are. Guess what? Long after you graduate from school, there will still be temptations. It is part of living in a fallen world. Think ahead, plan ahead, and avoid tempting environments and people. Make wise decisions and predetermine that you will avoid going or being around people and things that will pull you down.
7. Remember where you are going.
When you are at school, you are still a child of God. Remember that no matter where you are, you are an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Live with the future in mind, and remember that heaven is your eternal home. Make decisions that will be a blessing and not a burden to your future self.
8. Choose to be the influence.
You have a voice, so use it. Don’t sit around and quietly let the loud ones mow you over. Stand up for what you know is right, and choose to influence your peers in a good (and God-honoring) direction.
Stronger Next Year
The idea that you have to compromise your faith is a lie. When we depend on Christ and look to Him, He makes us more like Himself every day. You don’t have to look back on this school year with regret or worry that you didn’t live out your beliefs. It is possible to love God and His Word more this time next year, but it won’t happen by accident.
I’d love to hear your ideas.
How will you stand strong during this school year?
Do you have any ideas that you can share with the other readers on the blog?