A couple days ago, Christopher Witmer from The Rebelution sent out an email to the Rebelution Writers group. In it, he discussed how many Reb readers feel like they are alone in doing hard things.
“Some of them feel trapped by the low expectations culture has for what they can actually accomplish as teens. Others don’t feel support from their family or other teens and youth in their area. And others have not only felt a lack of support, but have actually felt discouraged from their peers.”
He also asked us to think about addressing this for ourselves. I found this really relatable and said, “Well, there’s a post idea right there.”
I’ve noticed this for myself to be quite true. It’s confronted me in different forms over the past few years, but it’s been like a neon sign, flashing over and over again: You are different than the culture.
And to be perfectly honest, sometimes that has been something really painful to hear. We all want to be accepted. I love knowing I’m accepted.
But to quote 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness.” We are not from this world of darkness, friends. We aren’t gonna fit in. Hate to say it, but it’s true.
On top of that, as a Rebelutionary, I’m gonna stand out even more. I’ve vowed to do hard things. I’ve decided that I’m not gonna let my teenage years be something that I look back on when I’m forty and say, “If only I’d done ____,” or, “I had so much time to share God’s love, but I didn’t.”
I don’t want that to be me.
But how hard is it to have that mentality?
It’s even harder if your family or friends don’t have that mindset.
I’ve been blessed to have a family that understands and encourages me in this walk. But I’ve only ever had a couple friends who understand this. And let me say, it’s hard being around those people because of the decisions they make.
I want my teenage years to be something more than a boyfriend or a party. I want it to be a launch pad into a full, colorful life with my Father. I have so much potential, and it seems like not many people understand that we can do things as teens.
I’ve gotten that look from adults. (You know that look. It’s the look.) If you’re anything like me, you know there’s always that one parent of a friend who completely doesn’t get why you do what you do. Or the blank stare I get when I say that I’m a writer and a blogger. Or worse, the look of surprise/wonder/amusement that happens when I say I’m in a band.
“Really? Aren’t you a little young?”
“You don’t need to start so early. You have years before you have to do anything.”
If I ever became an actress and you were trying to get me hyped for a super intense battle scene where I needed to be REALLY angry, repeat the lines up above please. I dare you.
It takes everything within me not to slap those people. Are you kidding me? Are you telling me to NOT take responsibility for my life? Are you saying that I need to NOT get a jumpstart on life? Are you telling me that doing hard things for God can wait?
I could pull out a list of reasons of why I believe this stuff. I could probably even gather a group of my beloved Ydubbers/Rebelutionaries. We’d come surround you and talk your ear off for hours, listing the reasons for what we do and probably quoting our “writing parents”, Brett Harris and Jaquelle Crowe, nonstop.
With all due respect to these people, how dare you? I know you mean well, I know you truly do wonder, but dude. Those words are poisonous. Us young writers/musicians/dreamers don’t need any more doubt in our lives, believe me. 🙂
It’s slightly different when we’re around teens. Where adults are fairly good at masking what they’re truly thinking (actually I don’t know if that’s true in some cases…), teens are pretty transparent.
They let you know what they think. I know I’m the same way, but our facial features are dead giveaways to everything our brain thinks.
Some teens may be respectful about your views, but some aren’t the nicest about this type of stuff (have you guys noticed?). It can be pretty hard to find like-minded people.
So what do we do about this?
- Honestly, one of the things that has gotten me through my teen years so far has been finding a small number of true friends. Being honest here, I only have like three close friends who I would discuss deep topics with. I know those three people would trust me with their life. I know those people have their heads on right. I know without a shadow of a doubt that if I have a problem, I can find them and they will drop everything, love me through it all, and point me back to Jesus again and again. You only need a few close close friends.
- Surround yourself with adults who love you and want to see you grow. I have a whole bunch of adults who have made it clear that they will love me no matter what. I’m constantly seeking those people out because adults have gone through all this teenage madness. Even though our generation is different, the advice we need is the same. Whether it’s your small group leader, your pastor, a teacher, your parents, etc. etc. etc., find people who you trust and just spend time with them.
If you are feeling alone in this way of thinking, you’re not alone. There are hundreds, even thousands of teens internationally struggling with this same thing. We have decided that we aren’t living for the things on this earth. We have chosen to strive towards serving God through our talents at a younger age.
It’s perfectly doable. It’s even admirable. I’ve heard so many adults lamenting wasting the teenage years, and there ain’t no way in heck that that’s gonna be me someday.
I pray all the time that people are being touched through what Rebelutionaries do. I pray that we are being lights. It’s hard sometimes. It’s really hard. But it’s worth it. I’m praying you all are staying in the Word and giving this life your all. You are each amazing and doing beautiful things.
Now go forth, mis amigos and amigas, and smile. Your day is just beginning. Make the best of it. Don’t procrastinate. Work hard. Make me proud. 🙂
Love you all,
P.S. I highly recommend reading Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, or This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe. These books are the main two that have majorly impacted my life