My husband is a youth pastor and I teach high school. By the nature of our jobs, I hang around teenagers a lot. I love students that age and getting to minister to them. More specifically, I love getting to minister to teen girls. I have such a heart to help them navigate typical struggles of being a teen girl in a way that glorifies Christ. As I hang around these girls and listen/watch as they go through these struggles, I often think back to my teenage years and about what I would tell teenage me if given the chance. Obviously, I can’t go back and give teenage me advice, but I can use what I’ve learned to minister to today’s teen girls. So, girls, here’s what I would tell teenage me if I could:
1. Your identity is in Jesus Christ. Cheerleading, academics, student council, and all of those things are great, but that is not who you are or how you should define yourself. Even friends are great, and so is being a leader in the youth group, but that is not who you are. Specifically for girls going through the teen years now, who you are is not defined by the number of Instagram likes or followers you have (Instagram didn’t exist when I was a teen!). You are a daughter of the King of Kings. Jesus died on the cross for you & to Him, you are worth so much more than what that boy thinks about you, or what that girl said about you, or even that grade on your math test. To Jesus, you are His. He loves you & wants a relationship with you. Find your worth & identity in Him & nothing else.
2. Be bold. As you walk the halls of your high school, you are walking in one of the biggest mission fields you will ever face. I know it seems scary, but those people you sit next to in class need Jesus, so tell them about Him. After you graduate, you won’t see a lot of those people again. You only have 4 short years to spread the Gospel to as many as possible on that campus. Don’t hold back.
3. Your parents know best. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s very true. They’ve been there & done that. They can tell which friends are good for you and which aren’t. They can tell the same with boys as well. Listen to them and take their advice.
4. Spend time with Jesus. I know you think you’re busy, and you are. Extra curricular activities & academics take up a lot of time, but trust me, you will never have as much free time as you do now. Use that free time wisely by digging in to God’s Word, praying, & growing in Christ.
5. Don’t worry about boys so much. The purpose of dating is marriage. If you can’t see yourself marrying him, don’t even entertain the thought of dating him. Instead of focusing on finding love with a boy, focus on falling in love with Jesus. Instead of focusing on finding a boy with all the right characteristics (this is important!), focus on allowing Jesus to form you into the girl with all of the right characteristics.
6. Be modest. While yes, that outfit is cute & you think the attention you will get from the boys will be nice, that outfit isn’t helping anyone. You aren’t dressing in a way that glorifies Jesus and you are being a huge stumbling block to your brothers in Christ. Plus, that attention from the boys you think is nice really is not the kind of attention you want from boys. In fact, the type of boy worth dating & marrying will do his very best to turn his head at any sight of immodesty.
7. Choose your friends wisely. It’s okay to have friends who don’t know Jesus as long as your faith is strong enough & you don’t participate with them in activities that don’t glorify Jesus. After all, who else is going to share the Gospel with them? With that said, your very closest friends should be Christians who are pursuing the things of Christ just as you are. These are the girls you should go to for accountability, advice, encouragement, etc. (Disclaimer: keep in mind that these girls are still a teen like you! They don’t know it all! Have a parent or other Godly adult you can go to for these things as well!).
Teenage girl, I know these years can seem rough. I mean, after all, there’s friends, school, boys, etc. to deal with! Your teen years are special and fun, so enjoy them. Have fun, and stop worrying so much about who is following you on social media and who isn’t! Take every opportunity to grow in Christ and pursue Him with everything. Many people count you out, but I don’t. I know Jesus has big plans for you. Take the opportunities He gives to change the world for Him. Spend your teenage years & every year after that making the name of Jesus famous. You won’t regret it!