The Perks of Reaching a Wallflower

wall•flow•er [wawl-flou-er]
1. a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.

Have you ever felt like or known a wallflower? Although they "remain at the side," they also happen to be some of the most interesting people around if you take the time to connect with them. They have chosen to largely observe rather than participate in life's little games, and because of that, they can be some of the most ridiculed folks around.

Apparently there are also "perks" to being a wallflower, or at least that's the argument being made by the new film The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The movie highlights the journey of a freshman named Charlie trying to navigate the through adolescent cauldron of angst known as "High School" as a shy and troubled teen.

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But then he meets Hermoine, who helps him discover his magical powers and they transfer to Hogwarts and live out a happy high school friendship!

Wait, no. I think I may have mixed up a few details, but I know Charlie becomes friends with Emma Watson and two other cool (or at least countercultural) seniors, and that's when the perks start to help Charlie Wallflower survive the ups and downs and drama-riddled ride through senior high.

Don't expect a campy High School Musical world from this one, but do prepare for an accurate and sometimes painful portrayal of the teenage world you inhabit. The media often unfairly portrays students as clique-divided pleasure seekers who just want to party and be a part of an epic experience. But most teenagers simply want to make friends and learn how to deal with the pain they openly or secretly harbor because of what life has thrown their way.

That's what Charlie's relationship with his friends accomplished in the film. They had compassion for a wallflower, and it made all the difference in his world.
And do you know who else had empathy for the "not so cool" crowd? I think you can guess:

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, "The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields" (Matthew 9:35-38).

When Jesus looked at his peers gathered in large groups, He saw beyond the social status, the clothing and the personality. What He saw was the same commonality of woundedness that still exists in every corner of our world today. They were seeking relief in self-destructive ways.

And it broke His heart…

Shouldn't it break ours as well?

To me, there are many ways to look at your high school campus:

A party town
A stage
A torture chamber
An insane asylum

But based on the example of Jesus, perhaps we could start to see that our schools are actually hospitals and there are not enough physicians. There are the wallflowers and the popular - jocks and theater kids, hipsters and scene students - but beneath the outward appearances, most are the "confused and helpless."

And when you reach out in genuine concern and friendship, it opens a door to share the only message in the world that will clear up the confusion and provide the hope we all desperately need.

Think about it - the popular and the performers get their worth from the perks of props, but a relationship with Christ gives them a foundation of unconditional love and acceptance.

The wallflowers and the "uncool" struggle with rejection and bullying, so how much do they need to know that Someone died for them and will make their journey into a world-changing adventure?

This is why THE Cause needs to be YOUR Cause. You carry the healing knowledge and skill of the Great Physician named Jesus. He looks at Your school, and His heart breaks.

Won't you let Him use you? And when you do, you'll understand the perks of reaching a wallflower!

Lane Palmer serves as a writer for Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit

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