Who am I if I don’t qualify for the basketball team? What will my friends say if I admit I’m struggling with my mental health? Climate change is such a huge issue, how can what I do make a difference?
If you’ve ever had anything to do with teenagers or want to be equipped for when you have a teenager in the house, these are the kinds of questions you should be prepared for.
Teenagers are a walking bundle of questions, but according to the Fuller Youth Institute there are three big questions that undergird them all. These are the questions of Identity, Belonging, and Purpose.
Identity is the question, “Who am I?”
Belonging is the question, “Where do I fit in?”
Purpose is the question, “What difference can I make in the world?”
How can we as parents and supportive adults help teenagers navigate these three questions? Perhaps more importantly, does God have anything to say about these questions? In just one powerful verse God speaks to all three of these big life questions.
1 Peter 2:9, in the Bible God says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
In this article, we’re going to tackle the Identity question and what the Bible says about who God sees us as. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 where we’ll take a look at Belonging and Purpose.
God says that you are Chosen, in fact, we are going through a series at Collision Youth group on Fridays about exactly that right now.
Not only are you Chosen but you are Royal and Holy. How cool is that?
In another verse, it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” That’s what it means to be “called out of darkness into his marvellous light.” You are a new person full of potential that doesn’t have to be weighed down by the failures of the past.
Forget trying to tell yourself you’re a good person, you don’t really believe that anyway. If you listen to who God says you are you have the recipe for an amazing identity that goes way beyond all that.
The problem is that we all have memory loss when it comes to our identity. We need to be constantly reminded of who we are and who God says we are.
If that’s true for us as adults, then let me ask you a question, how often do you talk to your teenager about their identity?
I actually really like the Hindu idea of “Namaste”. It’s a Hindu greeting where you are acknowledging the divine in another human being. While I don’t believe that everyone is God, I do like the idea that when you say hello to someone you are reminded that this is a person that is truly special. You’re not only reminding yourself of that but you’re also reminding the other person.
What would it look like to create a habit in your home that reminds your teenager that they are truly special in the eyes of God? What practical steps could you take to make that a reality?
Teenagers are in the middle of exploring the mostly uncharted waters of their identities and are often pulled in all sorts of directions. It’s our job to give them a place where they can be safely moored and reminded that God gives them an identity that won’t change based on tides or winds. It’s secure because Jesus has finished his work on the cross “once and for all.”
Join us again next week as we look at the question of BELONGING and how God speaks to this core need in us and the teenagers we care deeply about.
If you’re interested in exploring these topics in more depth, check out 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager. You can even download the first chapter for free.
Isaiah Logan, College Pastor