Dear fellow high school student,
We’re kind of in the same season of life, aren’t we? We’re both floundering around, trying to scramble up onto the mountain of adulthood without falling off the edge of a cliff. At least–that’s how it feels to me.
High school means more than hanging around with friends and eating pizza. It means more than writing essays and becoming familiar with the periodic table, too. High school is, for many of us, when we have to start living our own lives.
In many ways, it’s a good time. It’s a time when you get to learn about your unique personality– and beyond that, your giftings and callings and interests. It’s a time of getting more responsibility, more freedom, and more opportunities to make your own choices.
And in many of the same ways, this is a hard time. Because learning about who you are raises questions– lots of questions. Questions like, “What is my purpose?” “Am I worthy of love?” “Am I up to the task?” and “Who am I, anyway?” And those questions demand answers. More responsibility means more chances to mess up– it’s easier to fall when you’re not holding your parents’ hands anymore.
And all of this is stressful.
Can you blame teenagers for trying to drown out all of these heavy questions with distractions ranging from drugs to cell phones to reading a book?
I’m not a very quick learner when it comes to spiritual things. Head knowledge is the easy part– but it takes an awful long time to get to my heart. But I do know this: I have seen God working in my life during my high school years.
My purpose in writing is to tell you not to lose heart– even when you can’t see God’s hand, He’s there. You might feel like a crummy person with no talents and no direction for your life, and an awful lot of sin to spoil it all. (If I’m honest, I’ve been tempted to feel like that quite a bit recently.)
But it’s not true. God is working– in the dark, in the pain, in the confusion, in your mistakes– He is working. Do you believe it?
Last year wasn’t my best. Ninth grade was super hard for me emotionally. I didn’t see that much spiritual growth when I looked back on it, and that made me discouraged. But then I saw… God wasn’t working on leaves and branches and fruit, He was helping me put down roots. How? By helping me realize, on my own, not just on my parents’ word, that God is what I need.
Does that make sense? It’s like all of the teenage years are meant to give us an insatiable hunger for God.
Think about it: it’s a super “organic” trial that everyone goes through. Their bodies change. Their hormones change. Their life stage changes. Their friends change. Their relationship with their parents changes. They have to plan for the future. They realize that in just a few years, everything will change. Everything they’ve known will just up and fly away.
And what’s left? What remains unchanged in all of this?
And… that’s it.
It’s like the chrysalis that everyone must go through, the time of decision that we all have. Many enter, only to feel the most tumultuous emotions and sensations inside, and to feel utterly worthless and pointless. Forget finging yourself. Do you think that caterpillar feels like it’s “found itself” inside that chrysalis? I don’t think so.
But when it emerges… it’s been transformed in the most beautiful way.
Do you see, my high school friend? This is what’s happening to you and me. We may not see the fruit. We may not see the butterfly. We may have nothing but dirt in the ground, and goo in a chrysalis.
But this is the time that God’s making something beautiful with your life. Don’t doubt Him. Don’t despair. Don’t get discouraged.
God is bigger than your hormones and grades and drama. He’s bigger than your sin and your shame. He’s bigger than your plans and questions and dreams.
Even when it doesn’t seem like it.
No one’s supposed to be perfect as a high schooler. (Or, um, ever.) But growth, growth is what’s important.
So trust God while you’re in the middle of these years. Trust that the fruit will show up, the butterfly will emerge. But for now… all you can do is trust God.
Be still, know that He is in control, believe that He has a plan.
It sounds trite… but it’s so true.
Do you believe it?