Sometimes We Get It Really Wrong

I think we, as the Body of Christ, sometimes get it really wrong, especially with our teens. We challenge them to be an example, be a light, to dress, walk, talk, be different so others will see Jesus. And yet those words, without the growing love of Christ in them, are just one more expectation, one more place to fall short, let others down, fail.

I used to feel differently, before I was the mom of teens. Before I got a glimpse of why some of these kids feel hopeless. Hopeless enough to drink, take drugs, cut, starve, binge, give themselves away, long to die.

And it breaks my heart. And I want to ask them, “Don’t you know that you are beautiful? Talented? Special? Amazing? Created in the very image of God? Loved with abandon and without expectation, more than life itself? Enough to die for?

But they don’t. Because hopelessness swallows vision and skews perspective, and somehow the love extended completely misses their hearts. And those who love them never even know.

We’ve become a culture adept at masking pain and loneliness and need. An affluent, educated, cultured people living in the suburbs with dozens of friends and busy social calendars and a web of on-line connections, who have no idea what it means to need – to be vulnerable enough to admit that we don’t have it all together, that we’re overwhelmed or insecure or unsure or lonely or hurting. And that we long for someone who gets us.

Way back in creation, before the fall, before sin, when Adam walked in complete, unbroken fellowship with God, God Himself said, “It is not good for the Man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” (Genesis 2:18)

“It is not good for the Man to be alone….” Not my words, but God’s.

We need others. We were meant to live in community, to share our hearts and lives, to be intimately connected, for where “two or three are gathered in My name” Jesus said, “there I am in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) We were meant to do this life together.

And when we don’t the meaning, the value, the hope bleed from our souls one slow heartbeat at a time.

Our teens don’t want to die, they just want the pain to end. They long to be part of something bigger than themselves, to be seen, heard, wanted, loved in spite of, regardless of, right in the messy midst of rejection and loss and falling short and loneliness and disappointment and failure.

Our kids need to know they are loved, first by us and then by God, for only then will they rise up as witnesses, examples, lights, powerful beacons born of the One living in them that draw others to Him — His Heart, His Life, His unquenchable, unfailing Love. And it will change the world!

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12 Comments

Filed under Devotionals

12 responses to “Sometimes We Get It Really Wrong

  1. This is good, Cindee. I also think that we as adults could model this need before them. We are very good at wearing our own masks, but if teens can see that we don’t have it altogether, either, and we need godly friends to come alongside of us, then they will know it is ok to take off their masks, too.

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  2. dad2five

    Bottled up words that many need to hear. The Lord’s timing and the vessel he used to deliver these were perfect as always. Well done, honey! Love you, Tony

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  3. This is so true, Cindee. Too often parents preach, lecture, and criticize instead of showing by example, expecting good instead of looking for the bad, and most importantly showing love during failure. We do need to guide with love and compassion. In fact, we need to look at how Jesus guided his sometimes wayward disciples. He is the perfect model.

    Your message is very important. We need to reach out to those hurting, who need our compassion and wisdom.

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  4. You are right on when you say they just want to be seen … and for the pain to go away. I believe God has given you a gift to listen, to see (with spiritual eyes) to listen and pray for ‘the teens’ around you and your children. I will pray with you for the young ones.

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  5. You have summed this up well. “they don’t want to die, they want the pain to end”. They need to be loved and told the good that we see in them. But then again, don’t we all? Blessings on you today,Cindee.

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  6. This is a powerful post, Cindee. I know you’ve drawn from some deeply painful experiences. Would you consider reposting this on Lisa’s site in the future?

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  7. So true, and written from such an honest place.

    We recently went to a Young Life banquet, and I could tell our local guy gets it–just what you’re saying.

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  8. Yes, Cindee! I think the biggest gift I ever received was being LOVED EVEN MORE when I messed up. That’s when any failing human love is burned away and Christ’s amazing mercy flows through. I have cried right along side my beautiful SALT girls in youth group in the depths of their own pain and depravity, sharing the testimony of my own darkest hours and witnessing how Christ redeemed it all. Such a wise post.

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  9. “Our teens don’t want to die, they just want the pain to end.”

    Right! Ever-increasing loneliness in a hyper-connected but disconnected world is excruciatingly painful.

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  10. Yes, sometimes we do get it very wrong – with our teens and with each other. I think lower our guard too often means attack instead of comfort.
    Beautiful post. Thank you.
    (I somehow lost you for a long time – multiple internet problems on my end – good to find you again!)

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  11. Anne Huffman

    Awesome thoughts to remember. We all long for purpose and connection. We are made for it.

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