You are daring and fearless and bold.
You have an undeniable sense of justice and you’re ready to fight for it. You dream big and step up to the plate.
You are doers. You love with no reservations. You take risks. You forgive. You are accepting and empowering.
You laugh and enjoy and create. You are energetic and adventurous. You give yourselves away. You are relationship-driven.
You aren’t afraid of the future and you don’t let hurdles stop you. You question the status quo and ask the imperative question of “why?”
And dear teen, we need you to be you in the kingdom of God. Your fearless, bold, questioning selves are absolutely necessary to make life on earth as it is in Heaven–right now.
Not when you’re older.
Not when you’re more educated.
Not when you’re more experienced.
But too many people have told you to calm down. They’ve crushed your dreams. They’ve told you to be realistic and make solid plans. They’ve treated you like you’re uneducated and inexperienced. They think your fearlessness is recklessness. They mistake your questioning for disrespect.
They’re waiting for you to grow up.
Make no mistake: these wonderful qualities you possess can have devastating consequences if they aren’t pointed in the right direction. If you are pointed in the direction of a mirror, trying to make yourself great, you’ll run over the people who love you, take risks that have unexpected consequences, and find yourself painfully empty.
If you are pointed in the direction of a person, maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend, you will find that relationship incredibly unsatisfying and you will crush them with your expectations. Even if your life is pointed at a goal or dream, you will find yourself striving for a small legacy, causing those good qualities in you to shrivel up and die.
An Invitation to live differently
All of those qualities you have in you were made for something greater. You are invited to be a part of the kingdom of God. Eternity work. And you are invited to be you in this glorious kingdom. Instead of your life being pointed at something small like yourself or another person or a goal, your life gets to be pointed toward a God who is on the move to restore humanity’s shattered relationship with him and to draw us closer to himself.
You are a world-changer, a kingdom-advancer.
Don’t listen to people who want to crush what you have in you. And don’t let yourself run in the wrong direction.
Imagine what would happen if you ran full-speed toward Jesus.
In your daring and fearlessness, you could dare to sit with the table of unpopular teens, younger kids–those your peers don’t associate with. You could be their friends, care for them, love them, and bring them to a place where they could meet Jesus and be changed forever.
In your fight for justice, you could stand up for kids who are bullied and feel like nobodies. You could build friendships with the outcasts. You could start an organization that fights to end modern-day slavery or gives hope to kids stuck in the foster care system.
As a dreamer, you could dream up a community of believers who love each other, meet real needs, and reach out to those who need to know Jesus. And then you could step out and do it.
You can bring the energy and enthusiasm God deserves in worship.
In boldness, you can write about your faith for anyone to ask real questions and learn and believe.
You can create an accepting space where other people aren’t afraid to be broken and imperfect.
You can question the status quo and dare to bring Jesus from church to your home, from youth group to your school, from your Bible study to the streets.
Following Jesus requires daring, dreaming, adventure, joy, energy, excitement, and fearlessness. It requires you to give everything away.
You have all of this in you right now.
And you can inspire others to join you.
We are in this together
We want people to see Jesus, be loved by Jesus, and love like Jesus. You can have a role in changing people’s eternities, but no eternity will be changed if your goal is for people to think you’re awesome.
It’s so easy to make it all about us and use all of the great qualities in us for vain pursuits. So, you need to get people in your life who want to run right alongside you as you use everything in you to grow the kingdom of God. And yes, you need adults. Older, wiser Christ-followers who won’t crush the good in you, but embrace all of who you are, and desire to follow Jesus together with you.
We need each other. We have so much to learn from each other.
Don’t Waste Your Youth
There is so much at stake.
Don’t waste time and energy on the wrong things. You have so many good qualities in you to be used in big ways in the kingdom of God. Don’t waste your time with popularity, good looks, buying the right clothes, getting followers on Instagram, being the best in your class, being invited to parties, getting drunk, or searching for the next reckless adventure. If it’s not loving people so that they can know Jesus or making Jesus’ name big, then don’t waste your time.
You’ve got bigger matters at hand and God wants to use you in eternity work.
As you are.