by Shayla Asselin
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12
Summer is basically over. August is here. School is back in session. So, how can I grow closer to God and maintain my personal convictions while I'm around people who may not share my faith?
I’ll share 5 tips that helped me, but first, let me share a little information about my personal education journey. It’s been seven years since I graduated from high school and three years since I graduated from college. I had the privilege of attending my church’s Christian school (BCA) from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. After I graduated high school, I attended a public university for four years, where I graduated with a B.A. in Business Economics. Last July, I enrolled in an MBA program and, Lord willing, I will be finished in 9 weeks. So twenty years out of my twenty-five-year-old life has been spent in some type of school - Christian, public, and online. I can tell you that there are major differences in each of these school experiences, but I can also see one similar truth in each of them - I had to know who I was.
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend my formative years at a private, Christian school. BCA really created a culture that facilitated both educational and spiritual growth. The teachers invested in every aspect of my life and encouraged me to pursue Christ and knowledge in a way that edified the kingdom of God. However, life at a Christian school is not always easy. Just because it was a Christian school, doesn’t mean every student was a Christian. Sometimes, students misrepresented Christ and challenged my convictions. It was also easy to “ride the coattails” of a teacher’s experience. Scriptures were learned because it’s a part of the curriculum and there’s a trophy at the end of the year. Clothes were modest because it’s part of the dress code. There was the appearance of godliness, but the internal transformative power of Christ was denied. Unfortunately, I’ve seen what happens when students rely on the experience of someone else without cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus. Without my own experience with Christ, I could have played the part and lost my soul to complacency and culture, but I knew who I was.
On Saturday, February 4, 2012, I had an undeniable, unshakeable experience with God. That night I was filled with the Holy Ghost. That night will forever be etched in my heart and mind. I had never felt such boldness and confidence in my relationship with Jesus. This continuous experience was just what I needed to help me a few months later when I started college. I went to college with such a confident resolution to serve Christ, no matter what. To my surprise, my classmates respected my decision to be different. They asked questions with sincere curiosity and appreciated my willingness to stand firm in my convictions. I could have blended in, but anybody can do that. I was called to be different. I knew who I was.
Throughout my school years, I grew so much in my walk with God. I certainly wasn’t the perfect student, but I want to share what I consider “back to school essentials” for a Christian girl.
1. Discover your identity in Christ.
If you have asked Jesus to forgive you and save you from your sins, you are a daughter of the King. Girl, you are royalty!
You don’t have to be ashamed to represent your Father, so represent Him well.
He is literally the #1 Dad! He has promised to always be there for you and always to protect you. You can rest in the assurance of His love every day. Culture and circumstances cannot define you when your identity is found in your Creator.
2. Get in the Word.
There is so much goodness in the Word of God.
It will encourage your walk with Jesus, remind you of His promises, enable you to defeat the devil, and so much more. I would read at least one verse of scripture to start my mornings off while I was in school. To encourage me throughout the day, I would write scripture verses on post-it notes and stick them on my mirror or in my car. In my notebooks and planner, I would write some encouraging verses that would strengthen my faith. In college, I also changed my wallpaper to Bible verses that served as a constant reminder of Who I had in my corner.
3. Connect with other Christians.
Community is so essential in a Christian’s life. Make time to connect with sincere, dedicated young people. The devil would love nothing more than to isolate you from Christian young people and to convince you that you are all alone.
But let me shout in the face of that lie from the enemy- YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Go to Bible studies, youth nights, revivals, conferences - whatever you need to do to get connected with other young people who are in love with Jesus. Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, we don’t have anything like that at my church.” What if you were the one who started it? What if you were the one that created a community for Christian young people right where you are? What if you were the one who encouraged someone to grow in their walk with God? You could be the one.
4. Find a mentor.
Titus 2 encourages female mentorship. There is someone older than each one of us, so it would benefit us all to find a mentor. If there is someone in your life that represents Christ well, and is rooted in Him, ask her to mentor you. It may sound a little unusual, but it is Biblical.
Having someone who will pray for you, counsel you, and invest in your relationship with Jesus is a treasure.
If you haven’t asked someone to be a mentor in your life, I encourage you to prayerfully seek someone who will invest in your walk with God.
5. Listen to music that strengthens your faith.
In Daniel, music was played as the cue for people to bow down and worship idols. That music caused God’s people, the Israelites who were held captive in a foreign land, to worship idols. I don’t think it is a coincidence that music was what disconnected God’s people and their worship to Him.
We would be naive to believe that pouring musical perversion into our hearts and minds, hour after hour, will not disconnect us from a Holy God.
Counter culture and choose to glorify Christ and strengthen your faith by listening to Christian music. Many times, while driving to school, music has taken me to a place of worship that ushered me into the presence of God. When I got to school, I stepped onto that campus, having just been in the presence of the King. Talk about a good day!
I want you to know that you can make it! Keep fighting for what is right and remain surrendered to the will of God. If you need someone to talk to, I'm here for you. Feel free to message me through any of our social media platforms. We'll pray for you. Don't feel like you have to do this on your own.
If you have any tips or questions about surviving school or life, as a Christian lady, feel free to leave a comment below or direct message us. We love hearing from you!