Interview With a Public-Schooled Christian: Charissa

I recently got to talk with my friend Charissa about living out our faith in school :).

Hey Charissa! Could you tell us about your testimony?

I was born and raised in a Christian home. My mom and dad have both been Christians all of their lives; my dad went to Seminary. He pastored a small church he started with two other people but eventually, we had to move because he had to get another job. 

We moved around a lot and I was basically a lukewarm Christian. I knew a lot about the Bible growing up, I loved to read, and I remembered things, so I thought knowing things was good enough. 

It was in 7th or 8th grade when I realized that I needed to be doing more. In 8th grade, I tried to rededicate my life to God and make sure He was my focus. I’m still trying to do that today and still trying to be in the Bible every day, pray more, and share His light with others. 

That’s cool! It’s funny because a lot of people I know have similar stories and became serious about their faith in 7th or 8th grade. It might have had something to do with the pandemic, actually.

Yeah, I think because you spend a lot of time with your family. If you’re raised in a Christian home, you’re with them more and you realize more [that your faith is important]. Especially when you have siblings, you see how you act towards them. 

7th and 8th grade is when you’re really starting to grow up; especially when you get to 9th grade. I think it is really good that people rededicate their lives in 8th grade and then you don’t go into 9th grade lukewarm and get swayed. 

I don’t want to assume things, but I’ve heard a lot about band not being very Christian and there being a lot of LGBTQ people. If that is true, since you are in band, how do you stay rooted in your faith while being around people with such different beliefs?

I think that’s true of all of high school, but band definitely is like a “weird kid” place so there are a lot of people like that and there are not a ton of Christians. There are a lot of great people and there are a lot of not-great people. It’s all about finding your people; friends who have similar morals as you. 

People put a lot of emphasis on being friends with others who have similar interests, and that is good to a certain point, but you want to look at who they are as a person. I spent a lot of time in band this year, I was in marching band. You do see a lot of people’s real selves outside of school because in school you’re really tired and don’t really do anything. Outside of school you kind of see their true personality and you’re like “Oh.” 

Putting more effort into being close to God and being with Him definitely helps you stay rooted. 

So choosing the right group of friends and putting effort into your relationship with God, basically?

And putting effort into your relationships with other people. That’s really important. 

How do you share God’s light when you’re at a place like school or a school event like a football game?

It’s about how you treat other people—how you treat people you don’t like, how you treat people you do like. As a person and as a relationship, how you treat them. I was definitely (I still am) that friend who when someone would say a curse word would be like “No, don’t do that. Bad.” And it kind of got to the point where a couple of my friends, when they say something, they’ll turn to me and be like ‘I’m sorry, Charissa” and I’m like “Thank you. Just please don’t do it, it’s not necessary.”  

Sometimes with football games, people get really into it and they’ll be mean to the other team and mean to other people. On occasion, I have been like, “It’s fine.” How you treat other people matters. 

Yes, it’s noticeable when someone treats other people nicely. Sometimes I can almost figure out if someone is a Christian by the way they treat people around them.

And I don’t want to say we have an aura but it’s something like that. I do have a friend who I didn’t know was a Christian but I could have guessed because she’s very nice, sweet, and just open to everyone. She’s a grade above me, and she’s so nice to me, and I was a year younger than her and didn’t know what I was doing. 

Do you have any stories about your faith and school?

I have a friend who has gone to church for I think a while, at least a few years, and this sort of randomly came up one day. He was saying that there’s God and then below Him is Jesus. And I heard him, I was sitting in front of him, and I turned around and was like “No, that’s not how it works.” 

Since it was our study period, I spent twenty minutes talking to him and I was a little stern. I was like “no” because that’s how I get when people question Christianity. I’ll be like “I’m sorry, that’s wrong. I love you, but that’s a wrong belief.” Jesus and God are at the same level because they’re the same being.

That was a really funny encounter but I’m really glad I did say something because there have been some times when people have said something about God and Jesus where I don’t know what to say. I do think it is best to always try and say something, even if just to prove to yourself that the belief is wrong.

I’ve noticed that conversations about God and Jesus come up in school really often, a lot more often than they used to in middle school.

I think there are a lot of people who don’t know what they believe in. They don’t know what their faith is. They have no balance. And I think that’s something I really thought about in early high school and middle school. I really like stability and planning things. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I don’t have that faith in God. Because then what do I do with my life? What is the point of my life? What happens when I die and what happens when the people I love die?

Not in a condescending way, but there are times when I feel bad [for nonbelievers] because when you’re not a Christian you don’t know what to do. You don’t know what the right way to go is. And there have been times when I felt about someone, “I really want you to be a Christian. I want to show God to you because you’re going to spiral and there’s all that stuff, abuse and drugs and alcohol,” and I’m like, “you’re a great person. I want you to continue to be a great person and I don’t want you to get involved in that stuff.”

Do you have any advice for other public-schooled Christians?

Don’t let people walk over your faith. You don’t have to scream it out all the time but standing up for what you believe in is important. 

That’s something I struggle with because I try to be kind to everyone and I don’t want to see the bad in people sometimes. It’s really important not to let yourself get walked all over because you’re a person. If someone’s trying to walk all over you that’s their problem. They’re having issues and it’s not you. It’s not like you deserve to be walked over and it’s not like you’re lesser. 

But also, other people will probably get walked over by that person and you’re showing them that it’s okay if you let them continue. It’s very important. 

What the Bible says as well is that Christians are supposed to take care of the widows and the orphans, those people. It’s not like you have to be best friends with everyone who doesn’t have a great friend group but reaching out to people is really important. Checking in on friends and asking, “Hey, how’s your mental health? How’s your family? How are you?” Just caring about people.

2 responses to “Interview With a Public-Schooled Christian: Charissa”

  1. I’ve been having trouble acting like a Christian and being kind to others lately, so this was really helpful. I really like your interviews, I love hearing about other people’s testimonies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, I’m sorry you’re struggling with that and I’m praying for you. Glad you like them! ❤️


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: