I've been wanting to write this post for a while. There's a lot of mountains and valleys that come with living out a life like Christ, and there's definitely a lot of things that I wish I could've told my younger self. As we get older, we learn new things from trial and error. Right now we are still learning and still growing as people and followers of Christ, so if you're reading this, keep these in mind. It's always a good idea to learn from others who have gone through the same stuff because most times they had to learn it the hard way, and could save you from a lot of pain and tough times.
1. Take a Deep Breath
Being a teen, especially a Christian one, can be so stressful!! It seems that we have all these big expectations that we need to live up to, balancing sports and school, and of course the drama. If you're like me, then you also like to get involved in lots of clubs and organizations and can find yourself super busy. When I'm too busy, I start to get headaches and it's hard for me to be patient with others. This is definitely not the version of me that I want to be. Sometimes, we just need to take a deep breath and relax. When we take a step back, we can see the big picture and it's calming. Don't be afraid to take a break and a deep breath.
2. You Are Beautiful
Society today has so many rules and regulations for what the world deems as "beautiful". We find ourselves wishing that they looked like the models that we see on social media or T.V. I'm not perfect. I can find myself slipping once in a while, comparing myself to others and wishing that I looked like them. The thing is, we were created in God's image and in His likeness. We were handcrafted, perfectly planned, masterpieces and that's how God sees us in his eyes. I know as teenagers, our appearance can be very important to us, but we need to realize that there's more to a person than what they look like. If you look at yourself and each other through God's eyes, rather than the world's, you will discover how beautiful you really are.
3. Walk in Someone's Shoes
I cannot emphasize this enough. Every person's story is unique and so is their situation. I know this is a cliche phrase, but don't judge a book by it's cover. Until you walk around in someone's shoes for a bit, you have no idea what's happening behind closed doors. You will meet people your whole life who will be struggling with something that you never realized. It's better to not judge because you don't know the whole story. For example, if you started watching the movie Star Wars in the middle of it, when Darth Vader says his infamous quote, "No, I am your father!", it wouldn't have the same effect because you wouldn't know that is going on. Same thing applies to the people you meet. Walking around in someone's shoes can help see others points of view.
4. Every Dark Night Turns into Day
This is a quote from one of my favorite songs, but can be applied to life. It says:
"Every storm runs, runs out of rain Just like every dark night turns into day Every heartache will fade away Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain"
No matter what you're going through, it might be the loss of a loved one, a breakup, friendship troubles, drama, or depression, you need to remember that every dark night turns into day. Keep praying, keep being strong, because you can and will get through it.
5. It's Okay to Wait
This one is so so important. I know especially in junior high and high school that almost everyone is trying to date/get in a relationship. It seems "cool" to be dating since lots of people are doing it and having a bf/gf seems like fun. The thing is, to have a healthy relationship you have to be okay with being single first. A lot of the time relationships in school don't last two months. When you are dating someone, it should be because you want to get to know them better and decide if you want to spend your life with them. If you think about it, the majority of relationships you see in class are definitely not that. It's ok to wait until high school to date. Remember that you want a lasting relationship, not one that falls apart in a month.
6. True Friends Will Have Your Back
As teenagers, we are very close to our friends. However, some of them can be fake and it can hurt so much. You want to be friends with people who have common interests and will stand next to you. These friends will hold back your hair when you're throwing up, comfort you when you're crying, and laugh with you. If you are in a toxic relationship and your friends are dragging you down or pressuring you into doing something you don't want to do, you may have to rethink if they are true friends are not. True friends will always have their best interests for you. On the other hand, you also want to be a true friend to yours. Be kind and put them before yourself.
7. Some Friendships Will Drift Away, But New Ones Will Grow
In eighth grade I had a group of seven really close friends, eight counting me. We always had parties together and hung out a lot. In high school, we did different sports, clubs, and had different classes. Now we've split into different groups. We still talk to each other, but we've drifted away. However, I've made new friends along with two of my old ones. Being on the Cross Country team has introduced me to so many kind and hard-working girls that are now my friends. It may be sad drifting away, but you will meet new people who are just as amazing.
8. Laughter is the Best Medicine
This is one of my moral codes. We all go through things, but laughter can heal so many situations and make you feel better. Laughing makes the situation better and can improve relationships. That's why I sign all of my posts live simply, laugh often, and love deeply.
9. Temptation is a Given
We're teenagers. There are so many things that can tempt us and so many things that people your age are doing. Smoking, vaping, drinking, doing drugs, and more are just a few of the illegal things. I know the lure to be popular is strong. You may feel like it's not that bad, but ultimately all of these behaviors are illegal and lead to bad life choices. Temptation is a given and you will be tempted as a teenager. You need to be strong and turn away from it and face God. His plan is the best one for you and He's trying to protect you from the consequences of doing these things.
10. Keep Your Values Close
I go to a public school which means that we're not allowed to talk about our faith. There's all types of religions who go to our school, so there's a whole lot of opinions. I keep my values close to me, however, because when you let go of your values, then your moral code goes out the window. I value family time, my faith, and working hard. That means that even though there might be many different opinions shared, I still keep these things close to my heart and follow them.
11. Use Your Resources
There are so many resources out there these days that can help. With the internet, you could look up any subject and learn about it. I love to use sites like khan academy to help me with homework and classes. There's also resources out there for Christianity. The bible app is super nice because you can read your bible on your phone, no matter where you are. It also has lots of devotionals that are great ways to learn more. There's also lots of websites and blogs that can teach you different things!
12. You Are Talented!
I know that when I was little I struggled with what I was talented with. I felt as if my friends all had something that they were good at, but I really wasn’t great at anything. However once I got into junior high I discovered my passions and what I was talented in. You may not think that you have anything special right now, but just you wait! We were all blessed with God-given talents and it is our job to use them for His glory. This was something big that I went through and I wrote a blog post that was more specific and even has a quiz that you can take to discover what kind of smart you are.
13. God's Love for You is Greater Than You Can Imagine
Sometimes, we feel as if we've messed up too much. As if we are too rotten, too ruined to have a relationship with Christ. That is so untrue! God created you, his handcrafted masterpiece. He created you out of love, and even sent down his own son to save us from our sins. His son, Jesus, was perfect and did not deserve what he had to endure. He took our punishment so that we wouldn't have to go through it. No matter what you've done or who you think you are, He will be waiting for you to turn to Him, His arms wide open.
Remember: Live Simply, Laugh Often, Love Deeply