Saturday, December 10, 2016

What I Would Tell My Teenage Self

As a teenager, I went through different phases of attitudes, interests, and attire. I experienced periods of isolation and being a loner, and at other times spent time with friends or boyfriends every day for hours without fail. I did not attend church at all during my adolescence, other than sporadically.

My guidebook for living, sadly, was the culture, a corrupted and godless mindset, and lust. As you can imagine, my teen years were wasted on selfish indulgence, sinful entertainment, and poor company. Much time was spent and wasted on what brought me pleasure, what brought me comfort, and even what brought me pain.

I chose to disregard heeding my mother's counsel that in dating, I should choose to be with a Christian guy. If I were honest, I think I saw her as outdated or too innocent and naive to have any fun. I feel regretful as I ponder the years of my youth and wonder who I would be today and where I would be today had I lived fully for Christ during such formative years of my life.

Here is a bullet point list of what I would tell my teenage self:

  • "It is better to be alone than in the presence of bad company."
  • Associate with people of high caliber. It will bring you further in life and character than an excess of acquaintances ever could
  • Titillating music lyrics, television shows, movies, websites, and conversation will feed the monster of lust in your life to the degree you will be bound by sexual pleasure and it will lead to consequences that will last for years to come (repent now!)
  • Christ-like character, a Biblical worldview, an unwavering commitment to Christ, the application of God's word to everything, and leadership/servanthood qualities are what you should look for in a guy (even if it means waiting for years before dating or losing your virginity)
  • Starting or basing a relationship on mutual attraction and fun is no guarantee it will last
  • Pride and perversity exhibited by guys is not as intriguing as you may think and will be total turn-offs as you mature and realize such qualities are destructive to a person
  • Life has many pleasures and its enjoyment is not limited to just sex
  • Pop culture is not worth patterning your life after
  • The models you so wish you were are most likely not women of value and have little more to offer than their bodies
  • Being popular says nothing about a person's inner worth
  • Following the crowd or following your heart, indulging in random hook-ups, being dishonest, and wasting time will bring nothing but negative repercussions and truly wound those who engage in them (smiling now in these pursuits isn't worth the tears it will later bring)
  • Being mature for your age, serious, having a deep-thinking mind, and speaking eloquently is a precious rarity and should be prized (don't listen to people who mock you as if such qualities shouldn't be true of an adolescent)
  • Being smart is attractive. Girls who lack intelligence will often have relationships that are based on something other than thought-provoking conversation, which wouldn't be worth the time invested. Likewise, date a smart guy. Intelligent conversations are riveting
  • Study Apologetics (it will be what increases your faith and intellectually satisfies you)
  • Spend quality time with your family and learn from them
  • Eating disorders, weight loss supplements, or profuse exercise is not the solution for obtaining a nice figure. Only a consistent plant-based, healthy diet and walking/running a few miles per day will do that (and maintain it)
  • Go to sleep by ten pm every night, including weekends. It isn't cool or attractive to miss out on sleep
  • Get good grades and study diligently (laziness, fun, and apathy isn't worth failing and dropping out)
  • Your mom really does care about you. She's right when she says that Jesus is the meaning of life and obeying/living for Him is our best option. She's also right when she says to not stay up late on the internet or stay out late at night
  • Be content with living a simple, God-honoring life (this world is full of luring and dangerous opportunities to sin and it will only destroy you)
  • Money isn't the key to lasting happiness and one day you will be thankful you didn't grow up rich
  • Save 20% of every form of income you receive, do not buy everything name-brand, be thoughtful with gift ideas instead of breaking bank to impress others, and learn to live without (a lack of sufficient funds later in life will bring more stress than you now realize)
  • Comparison is futile. You have no idea what goes on or has gone on or will go on in the lives of the people you envy
  • Finding your security, identity, and purpose in Christ alone is the only way to be liberated from the demands and unrealistic standards of the culture
  • Knowing your worth in Christ and seeing Him for who He is will be the key to overcoming insecurities
  • The Bible really is THE handbook for living and Jesus is the way to healing, freedom, peace, restoration, and life indeed
  • Being aware of the reality that choices have consequences will help you to weigh your decisions by the outcome and not immediate gratification
  • Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder (there isn't a one-size-fits-all for what is considered attractive)
  • Just because you feel ugly or dirty or rejected at this point in your life doesn't mean it will last
  • You will learn as you get older that looks matter little but what is most important that you will take pride in one day and actually like about yourself is having a deep-thinking mind, intelligence, being goal-oriented, family-oriented, and devoted fully to God, learning lessons and investing in the lives of others
  • It is actually a blessing to not be called "hot" because this shows guys see you as a body, not a person, and being flirtatious actually takes away from a guy respecting you and makes you appear easy (which will not attract the right sort of attention)
  • A day is coming years down the line when the very way you dye your hair and the weird ways you dress will actually be popular among people of various ages and will be seen as hip (not viewed as "screaming for attention" like a boy at school said about you)
  • Everything influences worldview, attractions, and desires so seek wisdom as to the best path to take regarding what you read, watch, listen to, and pursue
  • Trying drugs and alcohol may give you something to talk about with people at school but you will only look back woefully in sorrow
  • Do not meet anyone online and do not trust strangers with personal info
  • Contrary to what the culture is teaching or what most entertainment portrays, not all men are perverted and not all teenage guys watch porn
  • If you don't live with God's glory in mind and obey Him in all things, you are sure to make choices that will bring you to certain ruin
  • Your thought life matters. Without filtering your thoughts through the grid of Philippians 4: 8, your mind will be the hotbed from which choices of self-destruction, hurting others, planning your suicide, self-loathing, making excuses for poor behavior, and constantly putting yourself down will result that could take years to undo
  • Just because you go through seasons of loss and the people around you seem to be living in ease does not mean your circumstances will never improve or guarantee that the lives of others who appear to lack nothing will only be filled with good things. Hardship touches every life. No one is exempt from loss and suffering
  • The priorities, interests, and mindset of many adolescents really is strictly confined to that stage of their lives. What is important to teenagers most definitely will not be important when they hit their twenties and beyond, so do not be overly concerned about what is popular. It really is no big deal to stand out from the crowd (and with God, will actually prove to be the wisest choice you make as a teenager)

              As you can see, there is much I wish I would have known during my adolescence. I can only imagine the pain I would have been spared and the blessings I would have reaped had I walked faithfully with the Lord from a young age! Please learn from my mistakes and pursue Christ wholeheartedly. Nothing should take His place in our hearts and the teenage years are no exception. We are safest when clinging to Him, and His word contains the ingredients for a life well-lived. A life, in fact, that when resembling Christ and keeping Him first on the throne of our hearts, will result in a winsome gracefulness and protection that the masses wish they had.

              I would love to continue the conversation on such an important topic. Please write to me at or leave a comment with what you would tell your teenage self or any advice you'd give to the adolescents of today's culture.


              Anonymous said...

              This is something i needed to see.

              Emma Joy said...

              I'm so glad you found the article and consider it helpful!

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