Eleven Myths Teenagers Believe

1. I am more mature than my peers and don’t need adult guidance or protection.

I don’t really care how brilliant you are or what your IQ is.  Teenagers still lack worldly and life experience.  A wise and godly adult is always beneficial – bar none.  It’s a foolish person who thinks otherwise.  Stay under protection while you are still a child – and find a good adviser even as an adult!  We can always learn from someone older and more godly than ourselves.

2. Life won’t be better or happier if I choose to put away this person, sin, or activity.

Bad friends, premature boyfriend/girlfriends, or sin problems – regardless of the issues that’s plaguing the teen’s life and holding them back from true righteous behavior and godly maturity, it’s often impossible to get the teenager to believe that God truly has their best in mind.  A life without Friend X, love interest Y, or sinful/foolish activity Z sounds dull, empty, and heartbreaking to them.  No matter what God promises or how happy and joyful their peers with a clear conscience are, it feels occasionally impossible to convince the erring teen that he should strive for the same.

3. My parents don’t understand me.

Again, even if you have a seriously old fogey set of paternals, there’s just so much more to life that they know about.  If you have kind and loving parents, chances are they A. care about you, B. have gone through similar things, or C. can imagine it anyway, and D. have the answer due to a more developed brain and understanding.  Give them a try.  Please.  You might be missing out on the best friends you ever could’ve had.  I know.

4. I have feelings for this person, therefore that entitles me to have them.

Teenagers WILL have some sort of hormonal feeling at some point in these years toward the opposite sex (and we’ve got a bunch with feelings toward the same sex now too, unfortunately!)  Your emotions don’t entitle you to have any part in another person’s life.  It doesn’t give you the right to pursue them, it doesn’t mean you throw all wisdom to the wind and start a relationship prematurely, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can disobey God’s laws and go for your same gender.  When did “I feel” come to mean, “the world owes me”?  Stop and think about what is common sense, as well as what is best for that person.  Most teens are not ready to get married.  Therefore they’re setting themselves up for heartbreak, pre-marital intimacy, and wasted time.  Avoid relationships.  Pre-eighteen is a bad time in your life to be in a relationship, and for most late teens it is as well, due to college, no money, and immaturity.

5. Money grows on trees.  I can waste time now and suddenly have a great job and a house and a car, be able to get married at nineteen, and live like my parents.

Think.  Think.  Think.  Does that make any sense?  Your parents worked hard to get there.  They put in time and energy and more time.  Save now.  Think about your future, not just living for the present.  Get a good job, go to school, or spend little on fun stuff.  You can’t just do what you want to do as an adult without some forethought in your teen years.

6. My siblings will never be my best friends.

Maybe not.  But they definitely could be.  And while you’re shoving them away so you can spend more time without outside friends, you’re missing out on growing a relationship with the people that will be around your whole life.  And, let me tell you, when you leave home, you’ll suddenly realize that no one quite knew and understood you like your family.  They will be missed, and they are often the main people who stick by you.  Give them some of your time now.  You won’t regret the investment.

7. Music doesn’t affect me.

This one doesn’t just apply to teens, but to most of humanity.  Music is a drug, especially to the emotionally immature, hormonal young person.  WATCH what you’re listening to.  Run it by that godly adult.  Don’t always listen in private where no one can keep you accountable.  Take out a pad of paper and write honestly every thought that comes to your mind while you listen.  You might be surprised.  If you’re struggling with feelings, hormones, rebellion, or arrogance, stop listening to anything that isn’t hymns straight out of the Word of God.  The music will feed your obsessions, sense of empowerment, testosterone, estrogen, and whatever else is raging through you, fighting to have control.  Music IS a drug.  Clear your head by backing away from it often.  Test it like you would an “evil spirit”.  (1 John 4:1)  See if it is from God or if it makes you feel happy doing wrong things.  And I don’t just mean the lyrics.  Test the actual music itself, which is far more intoxicating and influential than lyrics are.

8. I don’t have time to serve.  I have homework, a job, and friends.

You always have time to serve.  Even with school, you will never be as free as you are when you’re a teenager.  Full time careers, running your own home, marriage, and, for grief’s sake: children! are time-consuming like nothing you can imagine.  You have the energy and body and abilities to do much more than you will when you double your age.  Service isn’t an option for the body of Christ – it’s a command.  (Romans 12:11)  Schedule it in.  Find a shelter, go to an elderly home, pick up music for congregational worship, teach Sunday school, go on a missions trip.  The possibilities are endless.  Not only will it help with that experience and maturity we talked about in point #1, but it will give you a gratefulness for what you have, will put some of your free time to better use, and will be obeying God.  You have no excuse not to serve.  Cut out some video games or TV time to fit it in.  I’m serving now more than ever as a mother of two toddlers by efficiently using my free time.  I wish I did more in my angsty young adult years when I had gobs of time.

9. Everyone’s watching me and judging me, caring about my hair and clothes and shoes and bags and accessories and cell phone and car and…

No one cares.  No one’s watching you that closely.  They’re all busy looking in their own mirrors.  It’s such a waste of time.  Wear what you (modestly) want to wear.  Be who you (righteously) want to be.  Stop wasting emotion on something that doesn’t exist.

10. The verse on “your sin will find you out” is a trite little old wives’ tale.  It’s not really literal and won’t happen to me.  I can get away with this sin.

Nonsense.  That verse is a promise.  I guarantee it.  If you are a believer, you are one of God’s children.  How often do we let little children, whose deeds are so obvious, get away with the stupid or naughty things they do?  We catch them because we’re bigger and smarter than they are, and it’s very apparent to us what they have done – so how much more can God see and understand?  Do you really think He’s sitting watching with His hands tied?  The verse, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in you” should not just encourage you.  it should scare you.  That’s a promise too.  If there’s anything foul left in you, God vows He’s going to remove it.  He’s going to complete His work.  He will chastise you like a Father.  He might give you mercy the first or second time you do something, hoping you’ll repent before He has to lay down the law.  But, on the other hand, He might discipline firmly on time #1, and you could end up pregnant your very first try at it, for instance.  Or you could be fired from your job that first occasion you view porn.  Or you could be labeled forever a sexual offender, and be on every public map for the rest of your life.  Which leads me to my next point:

11. The sins I do now won’t affect my life or future.

You might still legally be a child, but you’re in an adult body with some serious sins inside of you.  You’ve been given a driver’s license, a job, friends, and many new avenues of freedom.  That drink you take could be the trigger that makes you a raving alcoholic for years, destroying every relationship you have.  The night out could put you in charge of your first child that you have to parent all alone.  Getting fired from that job could set you up to never get hired by anyone again besides McDonalds.  Or, let’s take something much less extreme.  Let’s go a little personal here and pick on me.  That one bad friendship, where you arrogantly acted foolishly, could lose you almost every other friend you have.  it could come up for years afterward as something that makes people gossip about and worry about getting close to you.  Your best friend could marry someone you specifically hurt, and you could sit in fear forever that she’s going to up and abandon you one day.  You can’t make this stuff up some times; the ripple effect can be endless.  Take sin seriously.  You are not two years old stealing an extra cookie before dinner.  You are stealing your own future away from yourself by these senseless, and some times spontaneous, decisions.

Even adults believe these myths some times.  It’s not just you guys.  Trust me, from my heart and others’ experiences, that you don’t want to be the simpleton believing these myths.  You want to be the protected, wise, and armor-wearing teenager.  You want to be the teen that clings to God in holy fear, praying not just to make it out alive from these worrisome years, but to have a beautiful testimony of what you did for the Lord in the process.  ❤

Any myths that I’ve missed?  Add them in the comments!

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9 thoughts on “Eleven Myths Teenagers Believe

      • I think that teens who quit high school or run away from home aren’t so easily judge-able. You’re looking at specific actions, whereas I was referring to heart problems or thinking problems. Why did they feel the need to run away from home? Where they being abused? Then that might be perfectly valid!
        However, if you’re referring to irresponsibility or heart problems, I think that some of the points already listed probably cover the wrong thinking. 🙂

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  1. #9 So much truth. Seriously- no one cares.
    Build the person you want to be measure it against God’s word and make adjustments as necessary.

    And when people do care? (Such as in the work place, seriously work place gossip….encountered more gossip here then when I was a teen!) Do your standards align with God’s word? Then it doesnt matter what people think. It looks better to be confident in who you are then spending time worrying about if people like your hair/car/phone/shoes.

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  2. There are a lot of great thoughts here! Lots of important things teens need to hear. I really wish I had invested more time in my siblings and trusted my parents more to understand me back in those days! You really can’t get that time back.

    Haha, a friend was just telling me the other day that her teen daughters feel SO judged at church and think everyone is scrutinizing and judging them all the time. She pointed out to them that in reality, they are the ones judging everyone else in that situation! It’s all a feeling, not true at all, that people are all watching you! People generally have more important things to do than judge the teenagers in their style choices. 😀

    On that note, though, serving the church, etc. is SCARY to a teenager. Serving means putting yourself out there instead of quietly fading into the background, and it can mean humbling yourself and thus being noticed in your humbled state. Teens need to be encouraged that God will bless their serving, and it will please Him – it MATTERS to Him that they serve Him. He will rejoice over it! There is no benefit in NOT serving Him, especially when you have lots of time to do so. (But of course, especially with younger teens who need to be driven places by their parents, commitments should always be okayed with parents.)

    A question on the music one. How is plain music MORE influential than lyrics? In what way? How so? With instrumental stuff, the only thing feeding sin in the listener’s life is their own thoughts. They are using the music as a channel for sinful trains of thought already in their own heart – it’s not the fault of the music, which doesn’t even have words to encourage their sin. Are you saying that they should merely take care that the music they use doesn’t fan the flames of their own sin (to which I totally agree)? Or are you saying that types of music themselves can be a bad influence? As a teen, I listened to soundtrack music, Celtic music, and old music like sea chanties, ballads, and historical tunes. I certainly don’t feel like those instrumental things flamed the fire of sin in my heart, but would it have been worse for me if I had listened to techno or some other more “intoxicating” stuff? I guess I don’t understand that statement at all and on the surface it seems superstitious to me. Can you explain more of what you meant? 🙂

    I have to admit…the part I enjoyed most about this post is the last paragraph, where you admit that adults struggle with many of these lies too (do we ever!!) and urge teens to live submissively to the Lord. I know you have a heart for teens, and you love them dearly and want to inspire them to live for God, ❤ but I fear if I was a teenager I might not have appreciated being given this list. 😛 #2 was especially painful in tone, where you said teens are "impossible" to convince that God's promises are true about holiness (ouch!!). Perhaps a list of "11 Truths Teens Desperately Need to Hear" would have been more encouraging? (Maybe not as much of a hook title?) Let's have strong faith in God's power to use teens mightily for Him! 🙂

    Lots of truth here, friend! I hope God uses it to open someone's eyes and change their outlook on life!

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    • I think people coddle teens too often. I think I was a bit coddled and oohed and awwed over. I respected books like “Do Hard Things” that talk straight to the problem and don’t use cutesy words. But that’s why my post is just my opinion. Someone else might like a more coddly, soft-toned post – someone who maybe already beats themself up. I was a pretty arrogant teen, so I appreciate firm words. 😉

      Yes, I don’t think that music creates sin, but can encourage and bring out emotional responses that can lead to sin.
      That’s why I mentioned that if you’re struggling with sin, watch heavy, emotional music. Maybe for some it would be lyrics, but I know that simple dance/techno music is played at a lot of clubs. Why? It hypes up the heartbeat and gives one a sense of playful empowerment while drinking. No lyrics needed. I think that music – even without lyrics – can simply be a drug that hypes up the emotions and allows the sin to look good while coming out. Does that make more sense?

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      • Talking to teens in a coddling and cutesy way isn’t good either! I would never advocate that. 😛 So what you were going for, then, was more of a blunt, tough love approach. There are definitely people who appreciate that, especially some TJ types, I imagine. I was one of those teens who was sometimes self-absorbed in the “I’m so awful” kind of way. 😛 I definitely beat myself up a lot for a few years there, and was often terrified of adults – especially my parents – thinking that I was stupid or sinful. My parents had high standards for their teens; in fact, they refused to refer to us as “teenagers” because of the stereotype that teenagers are rebellious, lazy, disrespectful, etc. My mom always said, “Set the standards high and your children will rise to meet those standards; set them low and they’ll only rise to meet that.” So, they would always tell people, “We don’t have teenagers. We have young ladies and a young man.” “The teenager years” are only a very recent invention, after all. There was a time when you were either considered a child or an adult, and no one coddled kids through 7 years of celebrated angst and hormones. 😛 I guess that’s where a lot of my perspective on young adults comes from. (I am hoping to blog on that soon!)

        Essentially I believe it’s important that we not look down on teens, whether it’s in a, “Do you even use your brain???” kind of way (which isn’t respectful to anyone of any age) or a, “Poor dear, you’re so young and can’t be expected to actually THINK this through,” kind of way (ugh!). We should speak to teens honestly, directly, and kindly. “Hey, is [XYZ] how you’re thinking about this issue? Would you mind talking with me about that for a minute? My experience has been [this]. Have you ever considered…” My mom always marveled at that part of Isaiah where God says, “Come, let us reason together…” Was there ever a more beautiful example of gracious condescension? If the almighty God can do that with a lowly human being, we fellow human beings can reason WITH teens rather than reasoning AT them. (And of course there are the rare occasions when you just have to say to people, like Jesus did, “You brood of vipers!” Hahahaha.)

        Eh, I’m just rambling now, sorry! Lots of thoughts on this topic. 🙂 I can’t wait to be a mom of young adults. I’m so weird, but I’m really excited for that. It feels like a precious opportunity to guide and facilitate a beautiful metamorphosis. 😀

        P.S. Oh, that makes sense about the music! Music is enjoyable to listen to, therefore, sin + enjoyable music = sin feels more enjoyable.

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      • I agree. I just like a blunt approach to what could be emotional nonsense. I always appreciated when someone cut through the rose-colored glasses look I had on myself.
        I bet you were a wonderful “teen” (Young adult!) I already know that you were very pure and righteous in your behavior. Unfortunately, especially with worldy, I-just-believe-in-God-because-this-is-what-I’ve-been-taught sort of teens, of whom I’m writing this to, some times a wake up call is needed, because behavior goes very south.
        That’s a great verse, though!
        And yes, good succinct way to put what I had to say on music. 🙂

        P.S. For the record, the feedback I got from actual teens who read the post was very positive, like, “Ah, yes, I needed to hear that.” 🙂

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