The Search for Identity

Our sons and daughters are growing up in a world that has so many lies to tell them about who they are supposed to be, how they are supposed to look, talk, dress, etc. A natural part of adolescence is searching for identity. Our teens will look for answers through the culture they live in: family, social events, classmates, social media, TV, books and movies.

Questions and comparisons are normal:

  • Am I tall enough, thin enough, pretty or handsome enough?
  • How smart am I compared to others?
  • Am I good enough at athletics, drama, music…?
  • What do my friends think of me?

What’s alarming is that our teens today are bombarded with images and ideas through social media that influence their search and how they answer their questions; some benign and some not. Perhaps, more than ever before in history, a mother’s primary work for our time is to guide our kids to find answers to their identity questions that are based in Eternal Truths, not cultural norms of the moment.

I recently listened to a talk by Lisa Cotter, titled “Real Womanhood.” She recounted who the culture has told women to be over the past five decades: the domestic woman with a whisk in one hand and an iron in the other; the business woman wearing shoulder pads and pantsuits to appear more manly; the “equal” woman breaking glass ceilings; the feminine woman able to quietly balance it all while donning a flowing skirt and a smile. Sheesh, if we were to conform with who the culture tells us to be as women, we’d need to change our identity every 10-15 years!

God has a few things to say about our identities too! After all, He saw us and carefully formed us before we were born (Psalm 139:13-16) and made us in His image (Genesis 1:27).

Let’s guide our teens to stand firm on the knowledge of who God says they are. Below are five TRUTHS that our teens need to KNOW deep in their hearts:

    1. You are worthy. Period. Exactly as you are. Your worthiness is constant and never changing because it is given to you by God, through the merits of Jesus.
    2. Your self-worth must never be defined by how much or how little you achieve or accomplish.
    3. WHO YOU ARE is never diminished by a bad hair day, an undesirable grade in school, by not making the team, or by what someone says about you.
    4. WHO YOU ARE is never increased by the number of Likes or Followers you receive, by how many nice comments you have on your Instagram selfies, by winning the game or by succeeding in a pursuit.
    5. You are amazing, worthy, beautiful and whole EXACTLY AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. For the simple reason that GOD says so.

Tell your sons and daughters often. EVERYDAY may not be too frequent. Allow God’s Truth to take root in their hearts and minds to the point where He guides their daily lives, not the culture or the latest on social media.

You can download a printable copy of our Five Truths for Teens by clicking on the picture below. Tape it to your son or daughter’s bathroom mirror, stick one in their lunchbox, tape it inside a school folder, etc.
Five-Truths-for-Teens

Mothers, as powerful as cultural messages and social media influences are, we are just as powerful! We teach our children about who they are, based on who WE are. We teach our children how to think about themselves based on how we think about ourselves. So, this post is also a call for us moms to get more familiar with the identity beliefs we hold about OURSELVES.

Below is an exercise that you and your teen can take part in together. Perhaps you would share your journal entries with each other. Share the questions in your hearts and pray together for God’s answers.

EXERCISE: Exploring the Truth of who we are. Grab a journal or notebook to write your reflections and responses.

    1. Sit quietly in prayer each day, even if only for a minute or two, and ask the Lord to reveal HIS truths for you. Ask Him: “Lord, what do You want me to know about myself today? Show me Your truth so I will learn to see myself as You see me.” Write down what you hear Him telling you.
    2. Focus your attention on your strengths and gifts. Begin each morning by telling yourself two things you appreciate about YOU. Say these aloud, using your own first name. For example, “De, I appreciate your sense of humor and your smile.” Or “De, I appreciate your patience with Adam yesterday.” The purpose of doing this is to cultivate a practice of noticing your many strengths and gifts. And to intentionally affirm the beauty of your True Identity. Write your self-appreciations in your journal.
    3. It won’t be long until you each have a journal full of self-affirming comments and prayers. Create a special weekly share time, when you and your teen(s) can talk about what God has revealed to you that week through this exercise. What a beautiful way to encourage and support one another!

 

I want to share with you our newest T-shirt, designed with teens and young adults in mind. Get one for yourself and one for your daughter too! Let’s spread the word that WHO WE ARE is not only enough, but perfectly designed by God!

With love,
De

God-created-me-black-T-shirt-teen

Join the conversation!
  1. Colleen says:

    You are uncanny in your ability to put in writing what I need to read!

    Reply

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