rebelling against low expectations

Dear Teen, Don’t Waste Your Life


Sometimes, we lose sight of what’s truly good in our lives.

It seems that the biggest achievement for some is binging a whole TV show in a week. A person may feel validated by partying every weekend. Others pride themselves on their endless Youtube sessions. Regular shopping sprees could be a goal for some. Meanwhile, others are amused by scrolling on Instagram for hours.

On the outside, this is normal. But I know deep down, teenagers want more for their lives.

And as Christians, we know what that “more” is. We can get sucked into the habits of over-watching or overindulging, but we have a reason to get out of those habits.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10).

When we see that Jesus has a full and abundant life in store for us, we can’t afford to get distracted with worldly things. There is a higher standard for our lives, all because of Jesus.

We need to be the difference in our generation

We can’t waste our lives

The quote that always comes back to me when I catch myself wasting time is by CT Studd, which says:

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

This keeps me accountable and helps me remember to do something beneficial in the moment. Thinking of life like a race (Hebrews 12:1) helps me to focus on the course in front of me. Similarly, the fact that we’re in a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12), helps me to stay on task.

You can’t just give up in the middle of a race or a battle. Being distracted by movies or social media is like an escape from the race and battle that is before us. We need to be led by the spirit for productivity and purpose in our lives.

Choose Jesus over everything

We tend to forget the magnitude of the gospel in our lives. If we’re preoccupied with worldly things, we can take our salvation for granted. This means we need to prioritize Jesus overall, seeking his kingdom first in everything we do (Matthew 6:33).

We need to take on Jesus’ teachings in order to spread the gospel. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and similar verses are direct instructions on how to lift up Jesus for all to see. It’s hard, but it can start with looking up from your screen, reading your Bible or saying a prayer for someone. In that way, we’re putting the love of God overall.

We’re made for more

God made us in his image (Genesis 1:27), which means we can do more than we’re expected to. Think of the intelligence of people in the ancient world. They created buildings and machines to use in everyday life. While today our technology can do amazing things, it is also making us use our brains less.

Neil Postman in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death puts it this way, “People will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.” I believe we’re created to do more than be entertained by a screen. As rebelutionaries, we can change the world if only we’d get up and get going. We can do what God created us to do, one dollar, one article, one invention, one business, one volunteer at a time.

Be a light in your conduct

By simply using our time wisely, prioritizing Jesus and doing more with our minds, that speaks volumes to those around us. People will see that you’re focused. Your peers may be encouraged by your efforts and talents. They’ll see the productivity in your life and the fruit it produces.

We need to stand out from the crowd and be a light for others (Matthew 5:16). By living for God’s kingdom, our behavior will be different, attracting people to the goodness of God.

There is a standard we have as Christians. Everything we do should be for God and the kingdom, and by getting distracted on earth, we’re no different from the average teenager.

We must set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2) in order to lead an abundant and fruitful life in Christ.

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About the author

Anita Shami

is an Australian teen who strives to glorify God through her writing. She wants to be a nonfiction author someday and is a part of the Young Writers Workshop. Aside from writing, she loves reading, piano, and French. You can check out her blog at Proverbs 9Ten.

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By Anita Shami
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →