If you are anything like me, you have grown up conditioned to the understanding of Jesus and the love he has to offer. You accepted Christ at quite a young age and spent most of your younger years believing God was literally "in your heart," sitting in a bean bag or something like that. A lot of us have lived our whole lives believing in God, and have been sheltered under our "Jesus bubble" that has not yet revealed the truth behind what society has to say about Christianity. On the other hand, those who decided to follow Jesus in their latter years have seen the reality behind their decision in a separate understanding, because many have been ridiculed for their choice.
Whether you have known God your whole life or only recently met him, the society that we live in today does not accept Christians with open arms and an ear wanting to hear all we have to offer. We are oftentimes ostracized, and it makes it incredibly difficult to build relationships with those who do not share our same views. We are entering into adulthood being told that sex, drugs and money are what is going to ultimately make us happy and successful, and even though we know differently, it has defined the reasoning behind a lot of the criticism received on a day to day basis.
We are seen as the Goody Two-Shoes who will judge you for every wrong act committed.
This perception is what is going to motivate many of our friends to leave and find those who agree with their wrong decisions. It sets many people off from getting to truly know us because they believe "we are too good for them" and that all we want to do is shove Bible verses down their throat.
I have personally lost many friendships because I did not participate in harmful actions and they became bored with what I was allowing myself to partake in. It is extremely discouraging at times and does not add to popularity in any sense. It is a sacrifice teenage Christians make every day, and sometimes we are stuck sitting and wondering, "OK, God, how can I reach people for you if I can't even reach them for me?"
The promise that we have to consistently keep in mind is that we are not alone. First off, our Heavenly Father is going to be there every step of the way, but he is also going to place the people in our lives we are supposed to make an impact on and who are going to help us make that impact. Find good and godly friends that are going to do nothing but encourage you in your walk. Incorporate an accountability partner and keep in check with each other. Because the Lord says, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20). And with him by our side, the hearts of others will be softened and he will allow us to find meaningful relationships.
We question God in why he is allowing us to experience some of the things we are experiencing.
High school and college are going to hold some of the most difficult times we will ever experience. We are trying to discover ourselves, figure out our future and keep everything under control at the same time. The disappointing reality is that performing all of these tasks perfectly is never going to happen, and many times we are going to be unsatisfied with the results. The thing we have to keep in mind is that His plan is so much more than we can even fathom at this point.
I can testify to this. I entered college believing I was going to major in Athletic Training and go to grad school to become a Physical Therapist, but boy, was I wrong. God has showed me the influence I have been allotted in my writing and, for now, He is leading me into a path of Journalism and Mass Communications.
I have no earthly idea where this journey is going to take me, but I have seen the opportunities He has already provided me with and I have faith that they will only become larger.
Keep your head up whenever things begin to unravel or become difficult, and put your trust in His ultimate want for your job in His kingdom. Because whatever he has in mind for you will surpass anything you have planned for yourself.
Earthly objects, relationships and temporariness seem to provide us with more happiness than God can sometimes.
We have all experienced it. Sometimes it seems so much easier to binge-watch a show on Netflix than to crack open our Bible and absorb what He has to say. We begin to idolize our friends, boyfriends, cell phones and other worldly things because it provides us with temporary happiness and satisfaction. But that is the key: it is only temporary.
The Bible says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2: 15-17).
We must have faith that this world is not our home and that we are going to live in eternal joy whenever He decides to take us home. It is OK to be involved in the things of the world, but we must not let it consume our heart and mind. He is to remain prevalent, and then, and only then, will we hold lasting happiness.
Our job is not easy. When everything and everyone in society is opposing our faith it is hard to find the strength to stay confident. But we have to remember that we have something they don't — and that is God. He can heal any hurt and provide joy that is going to outlast anything society says it will bring to you. All you have to do is put your trust in Him and he will bless you beyond comparison. I know these times are hard, and it may seem impossible, but with the help of our Savior all things are possible.