It’s that time of year again. When social media is bombarded with the traditional “first day” pictures. Nerves are strung out, backpacks are full, and, if you’re a student at FCA, the task of trying to remember that dreaded name tag every day for a week is in full swing. School starting can be one of the most stressful times of the year for parents and students alike.
But as school starts to settle into our daily routine, one thing keeps popping up in my mind–it’s okay to be different. As a teenage believer, it is HARD to be a light anywhere, let alone school. There is so much darkness. But Jesus calls us to be lights, even in the darkest of places. And for some, school seems to be one of those dark places.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “How is school a dark place for you? You go to a Christian school for crying out loud.” And you’re right. I do. I go to a Christ-centered school where Jesus is taught day in and day out. But that doesn’t mean those 8 hours are perfect. Not everyone at FCA is a believer. And that is okay. Because it’s our job to point them to Christ and influence them in such a way as to make them wonder–who is this God they speak of? Who is this God of second chances? Who is this man who takes me as I am and loves me despite my brokenness?
You see, Christian, French Camp Academy is a unique place. As soon as I walk into those double doors every morning at 7:40, I step onto a HUGE mission field. Every year kids come from across the country who are hurting. Some have never experienced love, what a Godly family looks like, or who Jesus is. A lot of these kids are yearning for a second chance. An opportunity to start over. And FCA offers just that. French Camp is a personal school that seeks to encourage growth–academically, spiritually, and socially–in the lives of young people, all existing for the glory of God. That’s our opportunity to be that love. Even if they don’t agree with or think less of us because of the testimony we lay out.
On a totally different topic, we all know that Sometimes kids can just be mean. And the same is true at FCA. it’s everywhere. Countless times I have received comments about being a “God person” or a “rule follower” from people who don’t necessarily consider themselves as such. I use to get so upset about it. I tried fitting in with the other crowds but that of course brought no satisfaction. Because Jesus doesn’t call us to be like everyone else. He calls us to be different. And I’ve learned that. It’s okay if people don’t understand why you choose to read your bible during your free time rather than talk about all the “fun” they had that weekend. It’s okay if people make comments about you. It’s okay if you have to walk away to get away from all of the profanity and crude conversation. Because we aren’t here to please men. We’re here to glorify our Maker in everything we do. (Galatians 1:10). I’ve even had people make rude comments about scripture written on my notebooks and inside my locker. And yes it’s upsetting. But what’s awesome is the fact that we can use those opportunities to share that scripture and it’s meaning to that person. Maybe they need to hear just what that verse says. This world needs leaders who are willing to be lights in the darkness. People who won’t give in to the pressures of society. But people who will dare to be different for the sake of the name of Jesus.
The whole point of this spill is as simple as this: when people laugh at you, and when people look at you funny in the hallways because of who you serve, just remind yourself that it’s okay. Jesus never promised that life would be easy. In fact, he promised that we would have trouble. But he also promised that he would never let go of our hand. He has already overcome sin, death and hell. And nothing can ever snatch us out of his hand. Be a leader of light in your school. Don’t be discouraged by the darkness. Rather, continue to be love despite any circumstance you might be in. “Bear your cross as you wait for your crown.”