rebelling against low expectations

What do you do about drama?


KIERI WRITES: Drama is a huge part of my youth group. Things like people switching personalities depending on who they’re talking to, others feeling left out of conversations, even though they aren’t even trying to participate (causing drama for the sake of drama), girls liking the same boy another girl likes (I despise that one), or a girl thinking a boy likes a different girl instead of her.

There are other things too, but I’m sure you all know what I mean. Just petty drama that causes hurt feelings or fights or just plain annoys people, about stuff that doesn’t even matter in the big scheme of things. Not just at youth group, but also on social media and texting, etc.

My question is, how can you stay out of unwanted drama, and how do you keep from causing it yourself? What are your thoughts on the drama in your youth group or social circles? It’s EVERYWHERE!

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  • Yes, talking to and working with leaders is always good to do, and very responsible. And prayer is key to all areas of our life. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. He can guide us and prompt us. It is always amazing to me when I see Him working through people! We can have supernatural insight into another person’s life, sometimes without even knowing it!! It all starts with seeking God. And yes, He knows, always!

  • Hm… Well, to be honest, I abandoned my youth group four years ago and am just coming back this year, so I am kind of new to the whole atmosphere. However, from what you have said, it looks like their whole focus is wrong. I am learning from observing my own life and talking with friends to see the actions that are a problem and then to look deeper for the cause. The issues that you are seeing are not actually the issues, they are the product and the outward signals of deeper, often times hidden, issues.

    My biggest advice to you would be to be careful not to judge them. Do not be prideful, don’t become a Pharisee. And pride can sneak in there so easily without being detected. You are never not vulnerable to pride. I found this out myself recently.

    Also, love them. Jesus didn’t change lives and capture hearts by coming in with this holier-than-thou attitude and pointing fingers, he came with love and humility. Now, if anyone ever had the right to come to people with that first approach it was Jesus, and certainly is not us, but even Jesus – God on earth – was a servant to those around Him. How much more should we be as well!
    Does your youth group have a leadership team? We just started one at my church and I am part of that team. They expect a lot from me as far as responsibility and setting an example, but it is great! We have meetings during the month to discuss concerns we may have, suggest changes, and plan events. If you do have this at your church I would say that is the place to bring it up, and if you aren’t on the team talk to one of the people who is and maybe they will say something to the others in leadership. It might be good to try and start a team if there isn’t already one, it helps draw out the kids there that want more out of youth group time but feel stuck in the shallow, petty stuff that is there now. It trains you and builds you up in Christ, prepares you for life experiences down the road when you will be called to lead, and gives you a team of people who can support each other as we try to figure our way through life. Well, enough advertising!

    Lastly, pray for them. Pray consistenly. Pray for more passion to pray about it. After everything is said and done, you can do nothing to change them. As I said earlier, the problems you see are only the result of deeper heart issues. That is something only God can work on. You can be a tool He uses, always be willing to reach out to them. Actively engage them and point them to God, in a loving way. Revival can only come through God’s spirit sweeping through the hearts of His people. The best thing you can do is say “Me first, God!”

    And know that I am praying for you, Kieri! We are in this one together, but like Sam said, God knows!! Seek Him passionately, above ALL else!

    • Hey, sorry, I know I already said way too much probably. But there is one other thing I have seen in myself at my youth group. I kind of relate to what you said about people feeling left out yet making no effort to join in. I am a pretty quiet person. I’ve never been in the “in circle” and I don’t jump into doing crazy things or just insert myself into other people’s conversations. It always feels awkward and it is sooo out of my comfort zone to do. However, at the same time I want to talk to people, I just don’t know how to start it very well! I feel sad at always being left out and not having lots of friends. After a while it became a kind of identity for me. I associated that with myself, I expected it and even though I didn’t necessarily like it, I kind of looked for it because that is what I knew, that is what was comfortable – familiar. Now being in a place of leadership, I really have to push myself HARD to reach out to other people, or to join in a group activity.

      I say this for two reasons. One, be aware of areas in your life that might be like that. Matthew 7:3-5 has been my guideline verse for that. It also helps me stay humble towards the other kids in my group. Secondly, don’t automaticlly judge someone who is acting that way. Try to be understanding, which helps with acting in love, and is also brought about by love. They may not even realize what they are doing – I don’t know the exact situations. Who knows where they have come from?

      • Haha you really are on top of the notifications thing aren’t you!? 🙂 It takes you like 3 seconds!

        It does? I know this discussion isn’t really about me, but if you don’t mind, how did you change? What helped you in that process? (I’m not doing so well at it, really.) I’m kind of stuck at the concept stage 😛 How did you transfer that into actions? Or is it just good luck, go do it?

        • Okay, well thank you for your time! Yeah, I am the person people are talking about when they say homeschooling makes un-socialized people! I would do the same thing about not having friends, but realistically that isn’t actually true. Well, I guess that is why it’s do HARD things, right? We just need to keep obeying God’s lead and stumbling back to His feet daily. I will be praying for you! I know it is hard!

      • I can really relate to what you’re saying! I used to be soooo shy. Initiating conversations with people (or even just saying hi!) used to terrify me. But doing exactly what you’re doing, pushing myself outside my comfort zone and doing the things I was terrified of doing, changed everything. That and the hand of God in my life! Though I’m still bad at inserting myself into other people’s conversations. It feels really weird, but other people do it all the time without a problem! Oh well, maybe someday… 🙂

  • Being younger than all of the youth is incredibly hard. I agree that sometimes I do want to be included in conversations I don’t even understand about. Or even just want to be like someone else in the youth group. I sometimes try to change my personality, but everybody knows its not my “true” self.
    I think the best way to keep a distance from this is to express yourself, and what you like, and especially what you agree and disagree with.

    • Yeah, I struggle sometimes with wanting to be different so that I will fit in better or whatever. I am usually the youngest in whatever group I am hanging out with, and my personallity is not “tipical”, but in the long run pretending has never been worth it! 1 Timothy says that age carries no weight in the ability to affect change. Leading by example is definately the best way. Be the change that you want to see. Peoople will notice the difference in the way you act and the way your life looks.

  • Oh…. I have an answer. if its the right answer or not is a totally different story. 😛

    I TOTALLY KNOW HOW THAT IS! When i joined my youth group about… never mind I don’t want to say how long ago, i felt like it was like that all the time! people talked behind other peoples backs. If you weren’t in High school, then you might as well have been made of dirt because, no one was going to speak to you.

    Well… now I’m a high school-er. and my friends and I have worked really hard to make the atmosphere different. We pray with the middle schoolers, and try to make it less dramatic. (It’s hard. :P)

    People pay attention to how you act. If you are different, then people are going to pay attention to that. The words that you speak, the way that you act… people pay attention to that.

    And then things change!

    So, my addition to this discussion would be this, Pray! (You will find that answer a lot on this blog. 🙂 ) and then be different. If your friends are the ones that are being dramatic, then talk to them about it. (Just please speak the truth with love!)

    I’ll be praying for you Kieri!

    • Great answer Rachel! If I could add to what you said, I’d say you should also be flexible Kieri. I come from a family of 8 kids and yea personalities are all over the place lol. So I had to learn to how to deal with different types of people at the drop of a hat. That’s a difficult skill to learn (took me years…..) but it’s incredibly helpful when dealing with lots of people with lots of different personalities.

    • Great answer Rachel! Sorry I borrowed your sentence David. What you said about acting different and the words you speak and the way you act reminds me a lot of 1 Timothy 4:12.

  • As a senior and leader in my youth group at a church I’ve been at since I was 3, this is definitely something I’ve started noticing the more I grow in my faith. When I first started noticing stuff like this going on, my first reaction was to talk to my friends about what I was seeing, but that just made me a part of the problem. My encouragement to you is process this with leaders and with God, not peers! It really easily becomes the gossip game otherwise, and it’s hard to catch that in yourself.

    That being said, I’m going to agree with what everyone else has said: PRAY! One of my favorite quotes is from Ghandi- “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” With stuff like this, it’s impossible to be the change without Jesus. It just doesn’t happen.

    I’m praying for you! It’s a journey and there’s a lot of learning in it.

  • Wow, this is tough. I struggled a lot with the drama in my youth group for a couple years. I would say, first and foremost, pray. That literally changes everything (though not necessarily right away!). Pray that you can be a good influence on those who have a tendency to create drama (or if that’s you…well, pray!). Pray that God will make your youth group more like a family and less like drama club.

    To get specific… A few years ago my youth group was in pretty bad shape, from my perspective at least. We’re a small group (fifteen is big for us), yet we still managed to do things like form our own little group of friends and ignore everyone else, ignore the people you pass in the hallway, not even saying hello….

    I participated in this. I didn’t realize it for a while, but after a couple years, it struck me how selfish I was being. For example, I would have my feelings crushed because I paused a fellow youth in the hallway and they didn’t say hello, and then it occurred to me: I didn’t say hello either. After that, I did everything I could to make a difference in my youth group. To say hello to new kids, to initiate conversations with youth I didn’t talk to much. And this was really difficult for me. I was incredibly, incredibly shy at the time, but God helped me do it and I think he blessed my efforts by changing my youth group. We aren’t perfect now by any means, but we are a million miles away from where we were just a couple years ago.

    So, basically, there’s no magic formula. 😉 Ask God to show you what He wants you to do in this situation. It can be tough, but do your best! God will do the rest. 🙂

    God bless! I’ll be praying for you, Kieri. 🙂

  • Well, if anyone has seen any of my comments over the last couple weeks that then they can pretty much guess what I’m going to say. But Rachel took the word right out of my mouth! Pray. [and read the Bible]. I know that this may sound like a cliche answer….. but it’s the truth. And it [a.k.a.–through prayer, God] works. I was at a Bible College and there some ‘drama’ there, and then I seriously and intensely prayed about it and this is what happened:

    “Wednesday an event occurred which got me thinking along the lines of how the Bible teaches that we should lovingly, with gentleness, and humility (and I’d say with prayer too) be willing to correct our brothers and sisters in Christ, from time to time, if necessary. Then Wednesday night in my quiet time (we have scheduled morning and night quiet times, which is a wonderful thing), during my quiet time, it was hard to focus on reading the Bible because a thought kept coming to me that I should do something along the line of humbly correcting or warning a fellow believer. I felt it was urgent, but I wasn’t sure if I should do it, because the enemy is impatient and we’re
    not supposed to live off of impulses nor emotions but rather the Word and the Spirit. These are usually touchy situations, requiring God’s leading, timing and also His wisdom. So I did pray about it Wednesday night, and then again Thursday morning. I prayed earnestly, and then sent them the message. Such a thing can be nerve-racking, because you don’t know how they’ll react. But, in this sense also I think it is right to say that we are ‘watchmen’ (Ezekiel 33) and we are held responsible only for the warning, not for whether or not the warning is heeded. But woe to us if we do not warn, for then the responsibility lies with us. The great evangelist, Billy Sunday, said, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.”

    And after I had sent the message in the morning, my journal records, “And boy I prayed hard.” (None of this is to focus attention on me nor my ability to pray, which is nothing special, but to focus rather on God, Who, in His unfathomable grace, mercy and goodness, chooses to use saved sinners in His service, yes, even me). And it was positively received! But they wanted to know my reasoning, to which I had to respond that I needed to time to pray about how to rightly answer them. Thus I spent the rest of the day—in between the Bible School schedule, so all of our free moments—praying and thinking and praying and writing and praying and typing and literally praying and rereading and then finally praying a couple more times before sending. 70 minutes later, after the nightly quiet time, I got the answer, and I could only read a few words before I wanted to shout out loud praise songs to God, but it was late at
    night, so I praised God intensely in my heart and soul. It had worked; God had done it. And the confirmation for me, besides the fact that it worked, was that they said that they had been seriously praying about it for a while, and God used my message as their confirmation about what to do. HALLELUJAH!”

  • Unfortunately, drama is everywhere. Even I’m sometimes the causer of it, but what I do is basically ignore it. For example, at school, I do my best to ignore the people around me and focus on the work I have to do. Another example, for youth group, try to talk to someone that doesn’t cause too much drama. Some of the teens aren’t obsessed with drama and are committed to their own walks with God. Of there’s anyone like that in your youth group, talk to them instead of listening to gossip. At my church, all the gatherings of people (youth group, main service, kids’ church) take place on Wednesdays. This creates the opportunity to bond with people from any generation before and after services.

  • I know plagiarism is wrong and everything but you’ve got to agree that praying is a good start. Then be examining yourself and try and sort yourself out first if there are any problems. For girls, there’s this great book I read when I was younger called ‘Mean Girl Gone’ which works as a group study too. It helps you sort out the mean girl in yourself because we all have one. Not that I’m saying you’re causing the trouble. If you were, it probably wouldn’t bother you so much. So praying is good, even praying with the people who are in the conflict. But there’s a few practical things you can do to (these are from painful experience)

    1) Don’t let it stew – If someone accuses you of saying something behind someone else’s back then take aside the person who has been hurt and explain to them what actually happened/ was said. I find this very effective. ne girl I know comes straight to me the moment anyone tries to tell her I’ve said anything and asks me what happened. If you do this, you begin to build a reputation for honesty and people will trust you. I remember the first time I just took her aside and said ‘I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to apologise for hurting you by saying [whatever it was] but I wasn’t aware that I’d said it until [the person] told me I had.’

    2) Say nothing – Your parents probably taught you that if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing. Even if you don’t like the person. It keeps you out of trouble.

    3) Don’t Listen – If you can hear the conversation heading ways it shouldn’t be just refuse to be a part of it. You’re guilty by just listening. You may lose friends but it’s worth gently pointing out that it is not kind to talk about one another in that way and there are plenty of more healthy topics to talk about especially in a Christian setting

    4) Just don’t go there with people – This is the hard one because you get made fun of for being ‘so much better than everyone else’ but sometimes you’ve just got to be the mature one and set the example. It can be hard, lonely even, and it takes a long time but if you can help even one other person in your youth group to be more godly by your example then it’s worth the tears. Rise above it but do not be self righteous.

    These things take ages. They take a lot of hard work and you really have to stick by your guns but then you have youth group leaders to help you if you’re in a good group. It’s hard to see teenagers who call themselves Christians behaving in these ways but it’s dead common sadly. Just remember that you can’t change others, only yourself so be a good example, provide one, and if they really want to change then they will. Those just out for the banter and the boys will lose interest eventually but if you lose them as friends because you won’t participate in the drama, it hurts a little but it’s no big loss.

    And above all (sorry this is so long), above all, pray for them each specifically, by name even. Pray that God would work in their hearts by grace and change them to become mature, godly young men and women.It may get worse before it gets better but from someone who’s been there and still often has to deal with it, keep on hanging in there.

    Do all in love and keep the drama for the stage.

    Cara x

  • Best advice on the drama issue; keep it real. As humans we want to fit in and be accepted. We want people to like us. There’s nothing wrong with wanting these things, but the problems often come when we take it upon ourselves to bring about these results. A good friend of mine who was struggling with this lately -the whole, wanting to fit in but having to act different in order to do it- asked me for advice on this subject, (in a roundabout way), so I told it to her straight. Be yourself. If people don’t like you or accept you for who you are, that’s their problem, not yours. Who you are in God’s eyes is much more important than who you are in the eyes of your peers. That’s where your real worth is found. So be yourself and if you’re struggling with acceptance issues, talk to God about it. He’s always there for you and He’ll always accept you.
    Also, it’s easy to get annoyed with other people’s drama. I find myself increasingly irritated at some of my friends and their “double personalities”, but then I put myself in their place, realizing at the same time that sometimes I’m guilty of this crime myself. So I pray for them. That’s the best thing you can do for a person with a split personality. =p Seriously though, that is the best thing you can do for your friends. Sorry, didn’t mean to write a book there. Hope I didn’t bore ya to pieces with it.

  • Your concern is admirable, but it is sad to say that the students of this day have been raised in a social environment that doesn’t beget mature behavior. As a former youth leader and teacher, I have seen the degeneration of the youth culture over a number of years. The drama is just an extension of the ongoing drama on their social media sites and the drama at home. With the lack of a parental involvement and the increasing number of single parent homes, the future doesn’t bode well of these kids. This society has dressed up children as adults and we are expecting behavior from them that they are unable to give.

    My advice to you would be to set a standard in your own life showing love to these friends/students. They will not grow up until they realize who they are in Christ. Promote Bible study and service to others. Their lives are all about themselves and it does them good to be busy with their eyes on others. Expect godly behavior. Correct with lovingkindness. And do not weary.

    Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  • I know what you’re talking about! Not that I have it all figured out, but here are a few things that might help: Number one is, of course, Pray for the ones who are showing this immature behavior. I know other people have already written that, which means that it must be pretty important, and I want to reinforce the idea in this comment. These kinds of words and actions stem from the heart, and could be fueled by pride, past hurts or family struggles, etc. The power of God is what will change them, not us. Secondly, try to do things that promote goodness and kindness- be friendly to each person, include people as much as you can, make intelligent conversation with people. Be true and straight up to everyone, regardless of how they act themselves. Often people make drama just because they want something interesting to happen. You may be surprised by the folks who will join in if you start a serious discussion or coversation about real life. It’s hard to get drama going without some juicy bit of gossip, a jab at someone, a whisper behind someone’s back…so don’t provide any! I know it’s hard and no matter how hard you try there will always be some body who’s got to be a troublemaker. So just make sure you are doing right, so that if you are falsely accused you can be free from guilt. I know, at least in my life, it can be easy to be a hypocrite and not realize it. Don’t talk about petty things that don’t matter! In the youth group setting, you have some substantial leverage- God’s word. Hopefully if these kids are at YG they know god’s commands and instructions, so it could be as simple as, “Hey guys, do you think God is pleased with this conversation?” or something like that. You might try sharing a Bible verse or passage with them that is applicable to the situation. And the best part is, if they have a problem with it, they can talk to the Lord about it, it’s not your words.

    And just a quick note on guys and girls- We are brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. We are to love each other and be kind to each other always. Going up to a guy or girl and talking to them doesn’t mean you plan on marrying them someday! When people get hung up talking about who likes who, who’s crush is doing what, it might not be such a bad idea to either try and change the subject to something positive and worthwhile, or simply…walk…away.

    There is so much more to this, and I know what I’ve written here is incomplete information, but I hope that maybe it helps in some areas. One final thought is this: Any kind of transformation always starts with an individual. Then, if that individual share’s with others, chances are the transformation will spread. If we want to see things change in this area or anywhere else, let’s pray, grab our friends that will listen, and make tracks in the right direction.

    In Christ,

    • Oh my word! I absolutely love what you wrote! There is so much truth here!! I agree wholeheartedly and have seen a lot of what you said to be true in my own life, thank you 🙂

    • Hi Ezra, that was great. But my question is, how do you get a serious conversation going. I don’t go to a youth group, but I do go to a home-ed group (Australian name for co-op), and some of my friends are not Christians, and I don’t know what to talk about. The only conversations that we have are frivolous ones, and though it’s been on my heart to share about the Rebelution, I don’t know how to go about doing it. Can you help me?
      Thanks, Rachel

      • Hey Rachel, you came in at exactly the point where it becomes hard: putting theory into practice 🙂 To be honest this is still a big hangup for me. But here is what the Lord has been showing me through prayer and scripture reading- In the grand scheme of things, there are really just two kinds of people in the world: those who are heading for an eternity with the Creator of the universe, and those who are heading for eternal death and separation from Him. Fortunately, God has given us instructions on how to converse with both types. I don’t mean to over-simplify it, but we basically have two missions. Check out 1 Corinthians 5:17-21 and Matthew 5:16 for our mission to unbelievers. It sounds like you may have a great opportunity to witness to the unbelievers in your home-ed group! That’s awesome that you want to share the Rebelution with them, and here is the best advice I can give you on that: Do It. I didn’t just make that up, I don’t remember where I first heard it but it has proven to be one of the most reliable ways to make something happen 🙂 I know, this is hard. “Hey guys, have you all ever heard of TheRebelution? It’s a teenage rebellion against low expectations.” That may get some odd looks, but it might spark some interest as well. Do you want to share it with them? I can’t put the words in your mouth, and if you don’t know exactly how to go about it, pray, think, and then…Do it. Remember, “to fall is not to fail; you fail when you don’t try”. When you speak, remember the parable of the sower. A lot of the seed sown may not produce. But be diligent! Galatians 6:9

        Now when it comes to your believing friends, your mission is laid out in 1 Timothy 4:12, 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 2:6-7, the list goes on. Building up your fellow believers is very important. Encourage them with scripture. Share what God is showing you in your time with Him. I may have come across as very strict in my last comment as though we are never to do anything but quote bible verses to people and be serious all the time. If it came across like that I did not intend it to! Obviously, we are living here in this world and there is the stuff of life; work, school, etc. All I mean is, be extremely careful what you spend your time talking about. For example, instead of talking about movies, sports, and cool songs ALL the time, bring the real world into your conversation. What is going on in your country? What is going on in the lives of the kids you co-op with? What are you learning that you could share with someone? These are just a few ideas, but I think what would be a fantastic resource for you is a book called “Will Our Generation Speak?” by Grace Mally. It is mostly concerned with evangelism, but of course so many things in it are applicable no matter who you’re talking to.

        One of the hardest things for me is he change over. I mean, I always joined in and goofed off and everything, and then one day I want to turn the conversation into something profitable? I’m not saying you are doing the same thing, but if so it will be tough. I know that from personal experience. People aren’t going to think you’re serious at first, but don’t let that stop you! Be persistent and it will become apparent to them that you mean what you say.
        Ugh, that was a lot, sorry. I would love to know if any of this was helpful to you.
        God bless you, I’ll be praying.

  • From a 25-year-old who “survived”: The best approach among teenagers – and even a lot of adults – is polite but head-on. Be prepared to live hard for a while – spiritual maturity is seldom popular – but soon you’ll start seeing people take your side and even join you, and you will definitely have God’s attention on the matter.
    When your circle starts the gossip, kindly but firmly interject that “I don’t think this is something we should waste our breath on. The Lord has been dealing with my heart about gossip/drama/’multitude of words’/etc.” Alternately, say exactly what you’ve posted here – this would hurt X’s feelings if she knew we were talking about this; in the big scheme of things, in God’s eyes, does this matter? should we concern ourselves with it? Be the salt in your group. It stings a bit, but it’s a purifying agent. You may not be able to make a direct impact on everyone in your group, you can’t police everyone’s interactions, you won’t see an instantaneous change, but you have a unique sphere of influence that the Lord holds you accountable for. Influence it already. 🙂 God will bless your perceptiveness and your obedience to His Word!

  • There is so much to say and I’m thankful that others have offered so much good advice that has been edifying for me. One thing I would like to add in the “not causing drama” department would be to make sure you are always holding other people up in a good light in conversations. It’s something a lady from church encouraged me to do and it really is helpful. Basically, its Philippians 4:8 applied to how you talk about others. that will help to reduce and negate drama you cause and if you encourage others ot do the same it will hinder even more drama. The key to solving any situation where there is trouble is people being serious about imitating Christ.

  • I totally know what you mean!!!! My advice would be just ignore the drama that happens and don’t take sides. Also talking about the people who cause drama is usually a bad idea because it adds more fuel to the fire. Being kind to everyone regardless of who they are really helps.
    God bless

  • That’s a really good question! In my youth group, this one other girl and I are really trying to break up the cliques, so we do things like a bake night only for girls and we have different groups with a mentor grade 12 student and all the younger girls separated depending on who they hang out with. We also make a point not to gossip, not to talk about boys, to try to talk to everyone, no matter who they are or what grade they are in. We also do not give into the drama the other girls try to start. We ignore comments about us, if someone is upset with us for some random reason, we try to just ignore it and they usually get over it, or if they don’t we talk to them to figure out what’s going on. We encourage, pray with, talk to, and love on every girl in our group to try to be an example for them, and lessen the drama going around!

  • That describes my youth group exactly! My youth group isn’t very big, so my method of avoiding the drama is to do one of two things:
    1. Change the subject from people to things or ideas. My dad always tells me “small minded people talk about other people, big minded people talk about things or ideas.”
    2. Walk away. Often people will talk about other people even when you change the subject. Don’t be rude, just excuse yourself and walk away. It is better to be alone than with someone who creates drama. Remember the saying “Bad company corrupts good character.”

rebelling against low expectations

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