Around this time a year ago, I was in a new place. I had my schedule and my map, and a backpack full of brand new school supplies, and I was trying to find my way around this big monster called high school.
Before then, I had graduated 8th grade from a very small K-8 private Christian school. All my life, I had either been there or been homeschooled. My 8th grade graduating class had sixteen people…
…I came into a freshman class of over 600, at a public high school. It was a totally new style of learning, a totally new group of people, and a totally new lifestyle for me.
The good news? I survived it! I made friends, kept up with the work, and made it through to the end. And I’m a lot wiser now than I was before. I’ve learned many things that I want to share with anyone starting public school for the first time.
1. Being openly Christian is hard, scary, and embarrassing.
Early on in the year, I put up Bible verses in my locker. A few days later, I took them down. I was that insecure about my faith.
Thankfully, I can say that I’ve grown a bit since then. Some different Bible verses went up in my locker later in the year—and they stayed up. I no longer mumble when I tell people I’m going to Christian Fellowship after school. But I’ve got a long way to go.
It’s a lot harder to be an open Christian than you’re probably expecting. I’m still not completely comfortable sharing my faith with others, and many people probably don’t even know I’m a Christian. Be prepared that it most likely won’t come naturally.
2. Christian friends are precious.
I had several Christian friends this year that made everything so much easier. It makes all of the difference in the world to know that somewhere in the building there are those who share your beliefs, and to have someone who can support you when you have to stand up for those beliefs.
You are not alone! Even if there is only one other Christian in your whole school, find them. Make friends with them. Christian friends are far, far more valuable in public school than you probably realize.
3. Just because someone says they are a Christian doesn’t mean that they really are.
I met a girl early on who said she was a Christian. I just assumed that she was living the same life as me. It didn’t take long, however, for me to figure out that we were living our lives very differently and had very different opinions on many things.
In public school, you will meet people who go to church and say they are Christians. Be cautious—that doesn’t mean that they actually are. Many people think that being a Christian just means you go to church. We all know that isn’t the case.
4. You have to fight against getting desensitized to the evil around you.
In public school, you will hear curse words used often. You will be constantly exposed to worldviews that oppose Christianity. If you’re not careful, you will stop caring about the evil.
You’ll stop being offended by curse words because you hear them so often. You’ll stop seeing opposing worldviews and opinions for what they really are, the work of Satan. Even if you know these things are wrong, you won’t consciously think about that on a regular basis. You will just stop caring.
Fight against it. Make yourself acknowledge that curse words are offensive. Test everything you hear against the Bible. Don’t let the world cause you to stop being offended by evil.
5. Have your opinions about cultural issues firmly in place before you enter the school.
This is so important. Know where you stand on issues big (like abortion and feminism) and small (like the dress code and dating), so that when people ask you about them, you won’t be tempted to cave to peer pressure.
Don’t just know where you stand; have a plan for defending your stance if someone ever challenges you. You might want to have different ways of defending your opinions to people who profess to be Christians and people who don’t—that will affect how you use the Bible in your defense.
These things will come up in conversation. Know that they will, and be prepared.
6. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs.
This follows up from the last one. Have your opinions in place, and then when someone asks you about them, don’t be afraid to defend them and stand up for yourself.
Remember that just because your beliefs are in the minority, it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. Don’t be intimidated by people who try to make you feel stupid or like your beliefs are weird. Stand up for them, and don’t be afraid to tell people why you believe what you do.
7. A true faith will be strengthened like never before.
I’ve heard it said that Christians shouldn’t go to public school because there is more opportunity for them to stop being Christians or fall away from their faith.
Here’s the problem with that: if you stop being a Christian, you never were really one in the first place. If you don’t have faith already, the fake faith you do have will disappear when you face the pressures of the world. But if you have true faith, the pressure will strengthen it like you wouldn’t believe.
My experience was that being around people who didn’t believe the same as I did, and having to think through what I believed and defend it to other people occasionally, served to strengthen my faith by leaps and bounds. I hope that will be your experience too.
Being a Christian in such a secular environment can be hard and scary, but you have to believe that God has a reason for you to be in public school at this moment. Maybe it’s to grow your own faith. Maybe it’s because there’s someone there that needs you. But whatever it is, you are meant to be where you are, no matter how hard it gets.
Remember that there are many other people in the same situation as you all over the world, fighting the same fight, running the same race, and striving to hold on to their faith around unbelievers day in and day out. God will always be there for you. You are never alone. Don’t give up—keep fighting the good fight!
What do you think? Were these points helpful to you? Have you experienced public school as a Christian, and if so, do you agree with them? What would you add? Tell me in the comments!
Grace is a 15 year old Christian. She has a passion for using writing to share the Gospel and encourage other Christians in their faith. On her blog, she writes about God, faith, cultural issues, and the Christian life. She also enjoys reading, writing fiction, and dancing.
You can find her blog here: trueandpure.wordpress.com