I see what is going on. You might think it’s invisible to the people around you, but I see it. I see how you are working so hard for approval from those around you. I see the clothes you wear, the things you buy, the music you listen to, and the way you act around others. Sometimes, I wonder if these things really add up to equal YOU or just some version of you that is “presentable” to the masses. You have so much of your identity wrapped up in what others think of you, and I want you to know that what they think really doesn’t matter.
You might wonder how I know these things. Well, it’s because not that long ago, I was like you. I know you probably think I’m way too old to understand, but I remember going through Middle School and High School. I remember entering the school every day, hoping that I didn’t do anything stupid that would draw the ridicule of the “popular kids.” I remember the uncertainty of the lunchroom, a virtual gauntlet, the caste system with tater tots. Where do I sit? Who are my friends? Who can I trust? I know it’s sometimes overwhelming, and I know you want so badly to fit in, but I think I’ve found a better way.
Instead of wrapping your identity around clothes, music, popularity, and how many “likes” you get on your Instagram, why not try putting your trust in Jesus? You might think that sounds hokey or ridiculous, but here are some truths that I have come to find pretty powerful from God’s Word.
1. God created us in His image. We are His.
Genesis tells the story of Creation. God crafted the world in six days. Everything we see around us was crafted by Him. Yet only one thing He created was confirmed as being “very good.” It was us – humanity! So, the solar system, the beautiful sky, the most incredible animal you can think of…all of it pales in comparison to you! God created you, and you are His!
2. God’s love for you is unconditional.
1 John tells us that God is love. John 3:16 reminds us that God loves us so much that He sent His Son for us. But I think Romans 5:8 says it best. “God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The world is all about what you bring to the table, what you provide. God loves you unconditionally. God’s love isn’t dependent on what you do, He loves you for who You are. You can’t earn more of God’s love, and you can’t escape it. God loves you…period. Read Romans 8:38-39 if you don’t believe me.
3. Trusting in God gives you purpose and direction.
One of the best truths that God gives us is that of purpose. When we trust in God, we believe not only in His unconditional love, but also His divine plan for each of us. God has something in mind that only you can accomplish, that only you can do. He created you, He crafted you to be the person you are, and gave you your gifts, abilities, and personality to accomplish His purposes. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has a plan, so you have a purpose.
I have found great joy and solace in knowing that I have a God who loves me unconditionally, who created me in His image, and who has a plan for me. With these truths firmly in place, I am free to follow Christ, to focus on what He has in store for me, and to rest my identity in the One who will never let me down. And that, dear student, is a beautiful place to be.
In Christ, Your Youth Minister