Dear Teenager (From the Heart of a Youth Director to Their Students)

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Dear Teenager,

I see you. I’ve seen you bogged down by the pressures of culture. I’ve see you torn between becoming what God designed you to be and pleasing culture. I’ve seen you wanting the attention of the world and willing to forgo yourself to fit into something that will be irrelevant in a few years. I’ve seen you desire to be real but not know how. I see you.

I’ve seen you struggling to find who you are in a world of finding identity in anything. I’ve seen you attempt to balance two tons of school work, year-round sports with practices every seven minutes, family life, church, youth group, friends, and rest. I’ve seen rest take the back seat in your life because you are overloaded and trying to keep up. I’ve seen you tired and discouraged. I see you.

And my heart goes out to you. And I have to plead with you…

STOP. PLEASE.

Take a step back. Rest. Do not forgo this. You will shut down so fast if you do not stop and I know cause I’ve been there...multiple times. You need to rest. Because God is better.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Rest comes in many forms, but the only one that will fill you and refresh you is the finished work of Jesus, the grace that is given freely and the Holy Spirit who makes this all real.

“Our rest is in God’s glad acceptance of us through Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Matt Chandler

When you see the word “yoke” here, it refers to the thing you would see around the necks of oxen on the Oregon trail. The thing that gives the one in the wagon control of the direction that all go. Jesus is saying here, “Let me take control, I know the best for you.” Please let Him take it!

I’ve seen you be inundated with things attracting your attention. Stuff that you want that you know won’t add any value to your life. I’ve seen you spend so much time on social media seeking validation from others you barely know. I’ve seen selfies posted with an inspirational quote that has nothing to do with the picture itself.

I’ve seen you sad when you don’t get more than 100 likes on a picture. I’ve seen you advertise on social media for people to “like your recent” or to “add you on ______.” I’ve seen you to beg people to like your photos. I’ve seen it take over your heart.

“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 2:11 ESV

Solomon had everything. He had everything because God gave him many things as a result of Solomon's wisdom, but as everyone does, he sinned. He kept himself from no pleasure and realized all is vanity. All is meaningless compared to a gracious Savior.

I’ve seen the real side of you. I’ve seen the compassion, the empathy, the care, and the desire to change the world. I’ve seen you want so much for yourself and so much of God. I’ve seen you show me a real glimpse of who God is by you being real.

I must plead with you.

KEEP DOING THIS. PLEASE.

There is nothing better to be than real. I pray you live your life in surrender to Him. I pray that you may look back at that Scripture from Matthew and give Him everything, that you may obtain rest and that He may be glorified. Trust in the Lord.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Focus upward more than outward. Keep your mind on Heavenly things. Trust in your identity being placed in the Cross of Christ. That He is good enough to cover all. That we are not good enough but His grace knows no bounds. That the God who created the infinite, seen and unseen universe looks at you and says, “I love you and you are mine.”

“For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Psalms 139:13-14 ESV

He loves you so much that you have been justified by His death and resurrection.

I’ve seen you, and so has He.

In Christ and all love,

Your Youth Pastor

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Thanks for sharing this Austin