It’s crazy to think that school starts back in two weeks! I hope your summer break has been one full of making memories and the most of each day! Today I want to share 10 pieces of advice with you that will hopefully encourage, inspire, and comfort you as you get ready for a new school year. These are things I’ve learned, and am still working on.
Audience of One
As teenagers and even adults, we care a lot about what other’s think of us. We have to be ourselves. Who God has made us to be. We weren’t made to be a clone of our best friends. It’s okay to have things in common, and like some of the same styles, but don’t ever buy something just to “fit in”. You were made to be unique. Stand up and be confident in who you are- who you are in Christ. To stand out and be different may take some courage, but it’s so worth it. Don’t let the opinions and words of others define who you are. The only thing that should define who you are is Jesus, and who you are in Him. It’s a beautiful thing when we stop being like the crowd, and start being a leader for the things of Christ. Live to please Him.
Be Bold in + for Your Faith
Leaders lead by example. There’s a special reason for you being placed where you’re at. You may be one of the only believers in your class, or you may be one of many. Either way, I challenge you to be bold and courageous. Live in such a way that makes others wonder why you’re so different, and let your life point them to Jesus. You may be shy, and that’s okay! You can write a card of encouragement, just be a friend, or share your own testimony. We each have ways we can share the light and love of Jesus!
You are not Enough on Your Own
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to believe in ourselves, have confidence, big dreams, and do great things; but without Christ, we’re broken, sinful, insecure, and most importantly, in need of a Savior. What He did for us is something we could never do on our own. We weren’t made to do it all ourselves or carry the weight of the world.
While at camp, we talked a lot about each human being an image bearer of Christ. I was convicted about judging people by their outward appearances before getting to know who they really were. Knowing that each person is made in the image of God really should make a difference in the way we view them. To see someone for who they are in Christ is so authentic and personal. I challenge all of us to look at the hearts of people instead of outward appearance.
I cannot over-stress the importance of keeping yourself surrounded by believers who will build you up, keep you firm when you’re weak, pray for and with you, and always be there for you. My church has a wonderful youth ministry along with Sunday night services. Being at church makes the biggest difference in my whole week. Daily quiet time and Godly community are both vital, but are even better when combined. We have to make sure we’re being fed spiritually! Look for Godly community, not just at church, but at school also. Having those friends with you daily will be a huge blessing!
Invest in Growth
While being in school, there are lots of opportunities to find what you’re passionate about. I started Yearbook last fall, and from doing it, I’ve grown and gotten so much better in photography. I challenge you to take advantage of the opportunities you have. Try a few different things, or just go with what you already know you love. Having an elective you enjoy will definitely make going to school so much easier!
Invest in your passions and talents, but also relationships. Most importantly, strive to keep growing in your relationship with God and becoming more like Him.
What Lasts for Eternity
In eighth grade, there were quite a few nights I cried myself to sleep because of the stress of school. Please do not do that. Since then, I’ve learned that while school and grades are important, they aren’t worth going crazy for! Stress never makes things better. When we are actually enjoying school, managing our time well, and doing what we’re supposed to do, things will hopefully go much more smooth. Don’t get so caught up in the now that you completely forget about long-term. Let’s invest into what’s important.
Stay Connected to Your Power Source
Without your source, you will fall. I want to see each of us stay strong even through storms this upcoming year. To do so, we have to stay close to our source of life, love, joy, and hope! We have to make sure we make time daily to spend praying and reading God’s Word. It’s amazing to see how much He shows us of Himself and what we need whenever we stop and get away with Him.
Don’t be ashamed any longer of your past. Your mistakes do not define you. God used and is using them to make you into who you are today. We can’t change what’s already happened, but we can learn from it, and help others who are struggling with the same things. Your journey may have had a lot of broken roads, friendships, and relationships, but stop looking at the past and start focusing on who you are today, and where you’re headed now! God has BIG things prepared for you. Let Him take you, however you are, and make you new, restored, and whole. He’s loved you for all of time and always will.
This past year, I was really struggling with something for a couple months. Fear, anxiety, that type of thing. It was a hard battle, but I learned to claim victory over it, each day, and my life! I challenge you to wake up each morning and remind yourself that today is a victory day. You have already won the battle because of your Dad being Jesus. He is always fighting for His children, and the enemy has no power over us. So if you’re feeling weak, remember today is a victory day.
Here’s to another school year!
If these tips are of any help to you, I’d love to hear how!