1.) Listen to others.
You’re most likely walking that line right now when your old enough to make your own decisions in some aspects of life like who your friends are and what music you listen to etc, and then there are the heftier decisions that you can’t make on your own. My advice in those situations? Listen. Listen to your family, your pastor, your youth pastor. Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for other’s advice. The Bible says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15
2.) Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Lots of little things are not going to go according to plan in your life, and that’s ok. Our lives are not our own, they are God’s and it’s silly to waste our energy worrying over something that’s not going to matter in the long run when we could be doing good for the kingdom of God. 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
3.) Obey God.
At this stage in your life, you are more or likely starting to face peer pressure to sin in some way (i.e. dating, cheating, stealing, drinking, etc). Don’t give it. It’s not worth it. The things that this world offers are temporarily gratifying and fade over time, leaving you wanting more and feeling empty.
The things that God offers are eternal and everlasting. He has your best interested in mind and is not a killjoy, the Bible really means everything it says when it says that God is the only true source of satisfaction. Acts 5:29, “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’ “
4.) Re-think your use of social media.
Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, found, “All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all non-screen activities are linked to more happiness. Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 percent more likely to say they’re unhappy than those who devote less time to social media.”
Her findings? “If you were going to give advice for a happy adolescence based on this survey, it would be straightforward: Put down the phone, turn off the laptop, and do something — anything — that does not involve a screen.”
If we are to serve God to the best of our abilities, we need to take mental health seriously. We need to sleep. We need to go outside. We need to read books and eat real food. We need to submit to the limits, rhythms, and rest that God has given us.
5.) Get a job (if you can).
I get that this might not be possible for everyone but I got my first job when I was fifteen and it taught me time management, how to plan for a deadline, effective communication, etc. Bottom line? Getting a job can help teach you life skills you will need to know later in life. So, get a job–if you can. Proverbs 22:29, “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”
6.) Get involved at church.
God’s plan for you includes church, there is no plan B. I hope your parents are going to church, and if they are not, ask them if you could start going. If the church you go to has a youth group, get involved. Invest in your church, volunteer, and give your time. Acts 20:28, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
7.) Develop a devotional life.
Focus on reading the Bible, journaling, memorizing Scripture, etc. Set aside time to delve into your heavenly Father’s Word and prepare to be changed. The time I invest in His Word and still invest to this day has changed me in ways that I am so thankful for. So, schedule in that devotional time, you’ll thank me later. 😉 James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
8.) Don’t worry about the future.
We’ve hit that age where the question “What do you want to be when you grow up” becomes real. You have to pick which college to go to, what you want to major in, etc. What if you don’t have a clue? That’s ok. Don’t sweat it, hand your worries to God and watch Him move. In fact, He commands us to not worry (Philippians 4:4-6). He takes care of the birds, and He will take care of you. That includes your future.
9.) Family relationships are important.
Yeah, maybe your family is loud and puts you on edge every once and a while, but that’s ok! God placed you in the family you are in for a reason, He gave you siblings for a reason, He gave you the parents you have for a reason, so thank God for them! They are there with you through the thick and thin, they see you at your worst, and they love you despite the fact. Spend time with them, laugh with them, help them, do a random act of kindness or your sibling, or make cookies together.
You only get one family and it’s important that you spend time cultivating relationships with them and making tons of memories!
10.) You can make a difference right now.
Just because you are young doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference in other’s lives today, as the apostle Paul said to Timothy: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim 4:12).
11.) Have fun!
Why? You are a teenager! Enjoy your friends, high-metabolism, and your no-bill life while it lasts and soak up every last bit.
I hope you enjoy your teenage years, they fly by faster than I can keep track of. Wasn’t it only yesterday that I turned thirteen? *shakes head* I pray that the Lord blesses you and no matter where you go, or who you become remember this quote by C.T. Studd, ” Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”