Dear Teenager: Stand Out

Dear Teenager, 

Everyone is pretending. 

Kids in your school may look like they have it all together, but even the coolest, most confident kid is desperately seeking to belong. Trust me. The problem is, too many teenagers are looking for these things in the wrong places. 

Let me explain. A few days before he died, Jesus was upset by people who “sold and bought” at the temple. They had basically turned it into a Walmart. This was wrong, and Jesus took a stand— knocking over tables and chairs and casting out the “moneychangers.” 

Every day, your peers are “buying and selling.” What do they want to buy? Acceptance. Love. Approval. Validation. Belonging. And how do they buy it? Immorality. Immodesty. Crude language. Cool clothing. To get that laugh, that compliment, or that text, they are selling themselves. 

You are surrounded by money changers. 

Sadly, what they are buying in this “den of thieves” is not REAL love or belonging. And it takes a lot of people several years into adulthood to recognize the counterfeit. 

So what do you do? I wouldn’t recommend turning over tables in the cafeteria and yelling, “Get thee hence!” That’s an awkward way to land yourself in detention. 

Instead, STAND OUT by anchoring in Christ. 

By doing this, you will stand out in natural ways. You will speak differently, dress differently, act differently. You will be careful about who you associate with, who you emulate, and who’s opinions matter to you. 

You will still care what people think— this will never really goes away. But if you worry more about your connection to heaven than your connections in the hallway, what God knows about you will forever be more important than what people think about you.  

Don’t be afraid to stand. 

Friends come and go. Jesus stays. Don’t be afraid to lose a couple friends so you can keep your Best Friend. Because, with Him on your side, you will never really be alone. 

Mercy River