Question From A Reader:
Hello! My name is Abigail and I am a teen. I was saved about 4 months ago. I’ve been attending a Baptist church ever since my friend invited me a little less than a year ago. My dad is “Catholic”, but he doesn’t live a Christian life. He isn’t to hip on the idea of me being Baptist since he grew up attending a Catholic school. My mom has never had any religious background and I highly doubt that she is saved. She doesn’t live a Christian life either. I’m not really sure what’s going on in my life right now. I think I’m depressed, and I am according to the signs of depression. I’m not, and haven’t thought of suicide, I would never kill myself. I haven’t told my parents this, because I”m not sure what’s wrong with me. It’s not just PMS I promise. I’m not myself. My family life is stressful, because my parents aren’t much of Christians. They drink every night, but they’ve never been abusive. They are good parents when they haven’t had to much to drink. When they drink, they put me in charge, whether I like it or not. They(especially my mom)can be very irresponsible. I am a good girl, and I try to be the best Christian that I can be. I get all A’s, except for a B in math, and I’ve always behaved well. Lately I’ve been faltering from my path, my Christian walk. I think it’s because I want to concentrate on me and not God; because I want to get myself in order before I can “give it all to God”. I can tend to be a bit of a baby sometimes and just want tot pout about some things. Another thing is that lately I haven’t really cared as much about my school work. I don’t really care. I’m in gifted classes, and the work can be a little stressful sometimes, but I’ve always been able to handle it before. I usually don’t get rewarded very much when I do good. At least no more than my parents saying”Good job honey, keep it up!”. Maybe I’m just being selfish by wanting more. I’m so confused. There are only 4 people who know about this and it’s you, me, God, and my best friend. I don’t know who I am. I’ve heard before that one thing about being a teenager is finding oout who you are, I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know how to find out. Please help me in any way you possibly can!!! I’m desperate!Love in Christ always, Abigail p.s. Thank you.
I am so happy to hear that you have become a Christian. Certainly, your faith in Christ is what can carry you through this time. You have many issues to deal with here, but, your focus on Christ and determination to grow in your relationship with Him will give you strength, hope and wisdom for the days ahead.
What may be going on: You may also be dealing with fluctuating hormone levels since you are going through puberty. The estrogen levels will affect your mood. Concentrate on fighting the depression you feel by exercising and doing things which help give you hope and make you feel encouraged…. calling a good friend to talk; taking a bike ride; taking up a hobby or musical interest, etc. God has given you life and your life has a purpose….living it for Him will give you the most satisfaction and serving and helping others will bring you joy.
I wonder if you have been spending time with the Lord? Do you read the Bible and also spend time in prayer? Might I suggest — that is the place to start. Since you just became a Christian it is going to take time for God to change your thinking and your behavior.
It sounds like you have been finding your identity and your purpose in your performance — school work, etc. Now is the time to transfer your quest for finding out who you are in what you do — to finding out who you are in Christ!
Here are some facts about your new identity and who you are in Christ:
1. You are now a child of God and part of God’s family: John 1:12
2. You are a new creation in Christ — the old has gone — the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
3. You have been justified by faith in Christ and have peace with God….thus, you no longer have to work to try to make yourself right before God. Romans 5:1
4. You have been completely forgiven through faith in Christ and His death and resurrection: Ephesians 1:7
5. You are completely loved by God in Christ: Romans 5:8; John 17:23; John 3:16
6. You are “in Christ”: John 17:21; Colossians 3:3
7. You are on your way to heaven: John 3:16, 36.
8. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ: Romans 8:35-39
9. The Holy Spirit now indwells you forever: John 14:16; Ephesians 1:14
10. You have a new purpose in life — to live for Christ and to know and share His love with others: Phillippians 1:21, 3:13-14; Colossians 2:6-7;
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. NIV
Live for Christ Fully: In other words, concentrate now on living fully for Christ. In living fully for Christ you will find strength and hope for living; new meaning for your life and a new identity; an eternal perspective when you feel hopeless about the circumstances and people around you; a joy even when life disappoints you because Jesus loves you and will carry you through.
Make a 31 day commitment to study the gospel of John and the life of Christ. Read a chapter everyday and ask these questions:
1. What does the passage say?
2. What is God trying to tell me?
3. How can I apply this passage and the life of Christ to myself today?
Then, keep a journal of your prayers daily. Use the ACTS model of prayer:
Adore and praise the Lord for who He is.
Confess your sins.
Thank God for all He has given you — your home, your parents (though they don’t measure up to your expectations), your friends, your school and activities.
Supplication: make your requests known to God — pray for your personal concerns: family, friends and make intercession for unbelievers in your family and social life.
Make a commitment to grow in Christ through fellowship at a solid, Bible-believing church. Pray with other believers. Pray about everything…..you will discover that Christ will answer your prayers– maybe not in the timing you would like — but, He will answer: yes, no or wait. Trust Him because Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding (feelings– which are deceptive). In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”
And read some good books for self-esteem and growing in your faith such as:
The Search for Significance (workbook included) by Robert McGee
An Anchor for the Soul: Help for the Present, Hope for the Future by Ray Pritchard
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About the Christian Life by Ray Pritchard
© 2007 Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC