Hmm… not that it’s a picture of how a teenager should act (or pose) for that matter, but probably because it’s the most “teenage” picture I can find of myself. 😉
I’ve meant to post something like this for a long time. Sadly, I’m not considered a teenager anymore. 😦 But since I’m handling a bunch of teenagers in my youth group in our church, I decided to put up this letter to encourage them and also to other teenagers out there. So listen up guys and I hope we all learn something! 😀
Dear Teenage Self,
We all know that being a teenager has its ups and downs likened to our hormones going haywire. This stage of life is like a portal to our destiny. What we make of it depicts our future so the choices we make are crucial. I’d like to lay down some chunks of “wisdom”, not that I’m the wisest person in the world, but because life may be tough and with God on our side, we could conquer the hardest of battles that teenagers like you usually face.
1.) It is okay to have a responsible take in life.
Teenagers always want to have fun. Who doesn’t right? I mean, so does everybody no matter what age they may be. However, that would always depend on how each person defines fun. It is said that “You only live once.” That mantra doesn’t mean that we take on every exciting whim that life throws at us. It’s okay to have fun but if it would not benefit you or anyone in any way, don’t even bother. It is wise to think for the future. If you must own a planner or organizer, by all means, do so as early as now! Time management is essential and it would help you get by your duties in life! Who knows what kind of job you might land on in the future, right? Prioritize your life in this order: GOD, Family, Friends, and Studies. If anything you do doesn’t fall within these categories, think twice!
In line with number one…..
2.) Make the choice to stand up for what is right.
This is the age where you would like to explore things, the age where we have the need to belong. “Just a small sip, a whiff, a puff… it won’t hurt anybody…” Sure it won’t… for now. Peer pressure is inevitable and if it points to the negative direction, it could be one of the main factors that sometimes drive our will to do things we might regret later on. When you were younger, you have been taught what’s right and what’s wrong. The choice whether to do wrong or right can be so nerve-wracking that sometimes we are tempted to put these aside, go with the flow so we can be “In” or “Cool”. As young as you are, it is not too late to take a stand. It is gut-wrenching at times when you get out of your comfort zone and be called a killjoy or an outcast to some. But that is what I call courage and maturity combined! If others won’t do, then you do! Especially when you have come to know Jesus, all the guidelines are stated in His word. If you choose to stand up for Him, not only do you make HIM gleam with pride, but you won’t regret that you did! Also, what’s cool about this is that He’ll actually give you strength to stand up for HIM when it seems impossible! Just ask of Him!J
3.) It is okay to wait for the “One” God has appointed for you.
While others may jump in the romance wagon at such a young age and hit it off, it is not for you to do the same thing as well. We all know “True Love Waits”, as cliché as it sounds. Let it ring ’till it gets into your soul! Relationships are not to be toyed with. Sadly, the world has a twisted view of love. The media shows you that your happiness can be filled when you have this special someone that somehow completes you. Well, that could be true at some point, but not at the wrong time. Think of the many divorces and failed marriages lately because people just can’t wait for the “one” God has appointed for them. If you have questions about love, read 1 Corinthians 13. Replace the word love with GOD, and you’ll get my point. Don’t worry about your love life to the point that it destroys your relationship with GOD and others. Enjoy your single life while you can! Being in a relationship or getting married is a whole new level! It’s not too late to pray for the one though! God is romantic and He knows the right person for you. I’m not saying that you don’t make friends with the opposite sex. But I mean don’t go stalking or hunting! Just wait and pray. God will provide! 😉 Also, if He intends for you to be single forever, don’t fret. It is not the end of the world. That means you have more time to give to Him and to others who need your care! Besides, we are not considered single once we are in Christ. He is our lover after all! 😉
4.) Obey your parents or older people who give Godly wisdom.
Being a teenager sometimes prods you to rebel against your parents especially when things don’t go your way. Nowadays, teenagers think that they know better than their parents or their mentors. Later on, they’d regret their actions. Listen to your folks or the people of God, especially when their advice coincides with the word of God. Ephesians 6:1 states, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” These people have tons of experience than you. How can you say that you are better than them? Respect these people for someday, you will grow older yourself and probably have kids. Who knows? Then you would be able to pass down their wisdom to the future generation. It’s something that money can’t buy at all!
5.) Your friends define who you are. Choose wisely!
Sometimes because of the need to belong, we’d rather stick with the wrong group than find ourselves out of place. The saying, “Birds with the same feather flock together.”, still rings true today. If you are in a studious group, people would presume you are studious as well. If you are in a group that loves to party every week, others would think you’d be a party animal as well. If you know that you are not with the right group, start looking for “True” friends. These friends should positively encourage you inside and out, love you for who you are, and definitely a good influence to others as well. If these friends are spiritually mature, that would be a great bonus! Of course, it doesn’t mean you snob people you dislike. In fact, do make many friends as possible. But always remember, it’s not the many friends you have that matter but the friends that you can keep forever. 😉
And that my dear, is just about half of my wisdom… The other half, the better half, is found in print from His word! Nothing is more reliable than that! Lastly, I leave a quintessential verse for you to remember and to live by!
“Let no man despise your youth; but be an example of the believers, in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12- (King James Version)
So, don’t start dreaming of changing the world when your knees crumble and bones ache. Two words, Start NOW!
(In the future, I’d probably write another letter to myself… but we’ll have to wait! J )