Have you ever seen the movie A Walk to Remember? You know the movie based on the oh-so-romantic Nicholas Sparks book? Jamie Sullivan, played by Mandy Moore, is known a Christian outcast in her high school who is dying from leukemia. Shane West plays Landon Carter who is a popular, yet troubled teenage boy who falls in love with her. Of course, *spoiler alert* Jamie (Mandy Moore) ends up dying in the end. Landon (Shane West) pulls his life together and becomes a doctor. It’s a tearjerker film on behalf of Jamie and Landon’s love story, but inspiring for Landon’s transformation nevertheless.
A Walk to Remember came out when I was a sophomore in high school. A young Christian girl in my own small high school, I can remember watching Mandy Moore on the big screen and weighing which was more important: my popularity or my faith. In the film, Jamie Sullivan’s faith was vibrant in her school. Everyone knew of her as a Christian. Everyone knew she was different. And boy was she criticized for it. They picked on her, teased her, and called her names. Her friends were few, yet she daily stood strong for what she believed.
At age 15, that looked admirable to me. But what looked even better was her boyfriend. And although she did end up with the guy, I knew my life wasn’t a Nicholas Sparks book.
Now, let me clarify: I was a good Christian good in high school. Ask anyone who went to high school with me and they will tell this to be true. Everyone knew me as the good girl who loved Jesus. But I also was a cheerleader, had a pretty popular boyfriend, and craved attention liked the next girl.
In high school, I always used to merit my Christian behavior based on what I didn’t do. I didn’t go to parties, I didn’t do inappropriate things with my boyfriend, and I didn’t dress immodestly. That made me a stellar Christian, right? Then I saw A Walk to Remember and Mandy Moore’s character made me realize that perhaps I was falling a little short of the mark. If I was going to be a Christian walking the halls of my high school, perhaps I should be known more for what I did than what I didn’t do.
I would like to say that I immediately turned my life around and starting becoming a radical example for Christ in my school, but my actions were slower than I’d like to admit. I started Bible study at our school and invited more friends to my youth group events, but other than that my evangelistic effort were few and far between. In other words, I was no Jamie Sullivan.
Looking back, I wish that I had been braver to share Christ with those in my high school. So if you are still in high school, I want to encourage you to not make the same mistake I did. I want to encourage you to be a light in your school to and try your best your reach those God has placed around your in your school community.
How? First of all, know that the Spirit inside of you is more powerful than you will ever understand. So never doubt your ability to witness to others. Second, pray. Ask God to direct your steps to the right people in your school. Perhaps He wants to use you to reach out to your close friends. Maybe He wants you to befriend the outcasts. Or maybe He will even ask you to be like Jamie Sullivan and minister to the most popular boy in school. I don’t know. Third, figure out the best way to reach whomever God has called you to. Maybe that is by starting a Bible study at school or by inviting them to your house. Maybe it is by sitting with them at lunch or going to cheer them on at their game. Form a relationship with these people and once you get to know them well, tell them about Jesus and why you love Him. If they want to hear more, invite them to your church to meet more people like you who also love Jesus and could teach them more!
Being a Christian is about being bold. High school can be hard. I know. I remember. But you have an amazing opportunity to be used by God these four years as a high school student. You have an incredible mission field in your classrooms, hallways, gyms, libraries, computer labs, offices, and other rooms found in a high school. You can be missionaries everyday you step inside of your school, if you allow God to use you. Jamie Sullivan allowed God to use her. Will you?