We asked some young adults this question: What advice do you wish you had heard, or had listened to as a teen?
I Am Enough
When I was a teenager, I wish someone had told me that I was enough. Instead, I always felt the pressure to improve. My antennae tuned in to the constant change required of me by my peers, parents, and authorities in order to be "acceptable." Packed into the middle of all of this, I nurtured a need to belong. Secretly, I questioned if anybody would ever love me if I wasn't attractive, or if the reason I wasn't popular had anything to do with my personality flaws. I desperately wanted to be accepted for exactly who I was, all the while trying to be better.
Yet when I peer into God's mirror, I realize I am enough for Him. Sure, He wants to better me, use me, and mold me. But He created me, and I make Him smile! I have faults. Still, He really does just love me for who I am, amidst my lopsided overpowering opinions, and my sometimes loud, thoughtless words. None of me scares Him. He sees me. He loves me. I am enough just as I am.
If someone had told me that, and if I had listened, I wouldn't have tried so hard to please everyone around me. Maybe, pleasing Him would have been enough.
Robin Brunson Radi serves with her husband, Carlos, as a global missionary for the Church of the Nazarene in Argentina.
"Don't worry," is advice I have received from many different sources (including the Bible) throughout my life. It was only recently, though, that I finally discovered how much time I have wasted worrying. Generally, things turn out just fine, yet I missed out on God's daily blessings because I was too preoccupied to notice them.
As a "recovering worrier" I have felt the abiding peace that accompanies the decision to pass all of my concerns to the Lord, because He is able to bear it all.
Lauren Wegley is a 2011 graduate of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. She is pursuing a career in medicine.
Be Authentic. Be Real.The people we surround ourselves with mainly determine our identity. The community we are part of influences who we are. That is a good thing if we are surrounded by good people, if we are part of a good community, good friends.
The danger, though, is that we lose ourselves in this process. We lose who we are. Don't let the group just take over: determine first if the values the group lives by are good. If others, only, determine who we are, we will always wear masks. Determine. Change. Be real!
Dennis Mohn was born and raised in Germany and is now living and ministering with his wife, Lara, in the Netherlands.
You Are Loved
As I think about that question, many thoughts come into my mind:
- Don't worry about what others think of you
- Find what brings you joy in life and use that to meet the needs of others
- Think twice before acting
- Conflict is not always a bad thing
Actually, I'm sure many adults did give me advice on these things and so much more, but I was probably just not willing to hear it at the time.
Now, I realize that what I wish I really knew when I was a teen was how much God loves me, how much my parents love me, and how much so many others loved me as well. Adults (parents, grandparents, pastors, youth leaders, teachers) don't always get everything right, but they do love and care about us and want us to experience the best life possible.
I think I knew this as a teen, but I didn't grab hold of it strongly. So if I could go back to my teenage years now I'd embrace those significant adults in my life: learn as much from them as possible, knowing how much they truly loved me.
Mark Walker is pastor of Woodview Church of the Nazarene in Lansing, Michigan. He and his wife, Jennifer, are working on teaching life lessons to their toddler son, Anderson.
Please note: All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of original publication but may have since changed.