Advice on Going Back to School

Dear World Changer,

Tomorrow is your first day back at school so I thought I’d share some advice with y’all that has stuck with me through high school and post secondary. Here’s SEVEN things I want to challenge you with for this school year:

  1. People don’t like you as much as you think they do. Ouch right? Let me explain this one. In high school, all I wanted to do was people please. Many of us want people to like us right? I went through so much anxiety, worry and stress trying to get everyone to like me. I would wear the right things, say the right things, act the right way until one day someone blurted this phrase out. I’m trying to please all these people and I’m thinking it’s working, but over HALF of them won’t ever think about me at night, ask me how I’m doing on a bad day, text me when it’s a rough week, or even ask to hangout outside of school. I’m turning into someone else trying to please people that actually aren’t real friends and to be honest, I didn’t respect ANY of them either! Tip: Be yourself, and true friends will be drawn in. Friends that will text you, that will stand by you, and that will like you no matter what clothes you have on. The rest – aren’t worth it!
  2. Be a leader not a follower. I’m at the stage of life now where I can clearly see where everyone from my high school ended up in life. What blew my mind was that the popular kids/leader of the path/”cool ones”/ones who peer pressured everyone into doing drugs and drinking —- they are all still living at home with their parents unemployed. They don’t know what they want to do in life. Why? Because they spent four INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT years pleasing people and focusing on being the IT person, that they weren’t focusing on who they wanted to be and where they wanted to go. The only goals they had in high school was how many people they could hook up with and how much they could drink before passing out. They were called the leaders of the pack, but they were really just following people’s expectations. Advice: Be a leader not a follower. Don’t follow the crowds but instead lead yourself into someone of character, integrity and wisdom. Someone who works hard. Someone who had values. Someone who has dreams. And people will want to follow THAT!
  3. Hard Work Gets you Places – In school, many just show up. I’m challenging you to SHOW UP WELL. Be all in. Work your tail off! We’re a generation that likes the easiest, fastest way possible. Advice: Don’t take the lazy, easy, fast route. Put the hard work in. Proverbs 12:11 says – “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” Work your land and you’ll reap the blessings.
  4. Curses could be Blessings – You may be put into a class with no friends, you may have the worst teacher, things may not go your way, you may be put WAY out of your comfort zone. Let me encourage you  – the most scary/hard times could be right in the middle of God’s will. You may have that mean teacher because they need encouragement and God has chosen you to bring it. You may be put into a class with zero friends because then you’ll be willing to see other students who have none and God wants YOU to talk to them. Jesus doesn’t care about your comfort, he cares about your CHARACTER. Character is sometimes built in the scary moments. What we think is a curse – might just be a HUGE blessing.
  5. Drama isn’t worth it – Oh the drama. It’s going to happen. It may not happen the first week back, but it’s coming! Here’s advice from proverbs. Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” Drama turns up the heat. It gets you angry when people spread lies about you. BUT I’m challenging you to be the bigger person. You get hot-tempered, and you make the flames higher. You stay calm and speak with gentleness, you put out the fire. One word….character. Have character in all you do. Be known as the person with integrity and kindness.
  6. Don’t revert back to old habits – For many of you, you went OVPC, you were a part of the Forge, many awesome encounters happened over the summer and I’ve heard SO many testimonies of how you guys have gotten a solid consistent devo life happening! Don’t revert back to old habits now that school is starting. When Moses went up on the mountain top to hear from God, the Israelites got impatient. Now every time Israel got impatient – they did something stupid, then they begged God for forgiveness, God showed up, all was well, and then they would get impatient again and repeat the whole cycle. This particular time was no different. Moses was taking too long for their likings, so Israel built a golden calf and started worshipping that! They revert back to their old habits every. single. time. Let me challenge you – when you start getting impatient with God, or you start getting really busy again, don’t revert back to your old habits of not reading scripture, not showing up to youth, not meeting up with your mentor etc. Busyness is never an excuse for giving God your leftovers. In the busyness of school – praise him. When He’s not showing up fast enough for you – praise Him. When you don’t FEEL like reading your Bible – still do it. WHY? Because your faith shouldn’t be based off your feelings. It’s deeper than that.
  7. You could be the only Jesus your school sees: I’m going to start this one with a Bible story.

Story of the 10 Virgins/Bridesmaids

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

To understand this Scripture, you need to know how weddings worked back then. When a couple got engaged, they didn’t spend the next year picking out napkin designs and flower arrangements. Nooooo, they actually didn’t see each other at all! The groom would take off and the bride wouldn’t know when he was returning #nocellphonelife. So the bride would wake up every morning, bathe, put on her dress and put on perfume as if today was the day she was getting married! Her bridesmaids would do the same! Plus, they had another task. Their job was to keep lanterns lit to light the path to the bride’s house so the groom would know where she was! 5 bridesmaids were wise – they were prepared for his return ANY day. 5 were foolish and instead of working hard and being prepared…they fell asleep! The groom shows up one random day, and only HALF the community was lit because 5 bridesmaids were sleeping instead of getting ready! It sent a mixed message to the community!

Many of us go to church, read the Word, talk about Jesus in our connect groups but when we get to school, we’re quiet. We act a different way. We talk a different way. But we still say we’re Christian if anyone asks. But what kind of message does that send to our schools? They see people going ALL IN for Jesus and starting up Christian groups, and sharing Jesus with everyone, but then they see the other half that says their Christian but acts different.

This sends the same message as those bridesmaids. The community is only getting half lit. Our schools are getting a mixed message about who Jesus is.

Jesus could be coming back ANY day now. If he was coming tonight – would you be happy with how you’ve lived? Have you represented Christ well?

Go all in this year. Don’t get caught up in drama, people pleasing, laziness and peer pressure. Live for Jesus. You could be the only Jesus your classmates see.

I’m praying for ALL of you this week! Can’t wait to hear how God is using you in your schools!

If you guys have any questions, need advice for this year or want to request a certain topic for the next blog post – go to the CONTACT page! Also, keep your eyes open for our “Overcoming” Series! This upcoming weekend we’ll be talking about “Overcoming Low Self-Esteem.”

Pastor Natasha



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