Why Don’t My Parents Understand Me?

“My parents just don’t understand me! Ackkkkkkkkkkk!”

Is this really a true statement or is it a biased one? Most misunderstandings happen because of poor communication between the two parties. Many teenagers hate the fact that their parents don’t treat them as adults. Being an adult brings responsibilities – one of which is talking about difficult and hard to discuss issues. If you want to be treated like an adult, then you must first start acting like an adult. This may not be what you wanted to hear but it is exactly the root of the problem. Acting like an adult is not easy if you haven’t been taught how!

So with this in mind, let’s see what Scriptures have to say about this topic. First, remember your role as Christian teenager. The Bible says that children (and this includes you) must obey their parents. Why? Because it is well pleasing to God! If you are disobedient, then you will reap what comes with disobedience and that can result in parents who are disagreeable.

~Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

~Colossians 3:20 Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Disobedience brings about punishment: being grounded, having privileges taken away, etc. Obedience is not just a “child” thing. Even adults have to answer to authority: the Bible, the laws of the land, rules at work, etc. How we react to these things as adults depends on how well we learned obedience in the home. If you are unwilling to obey now, you will have struggles with rules and authority throughout your entire life.

Most parents want to give their children everything they possibly can. Parents have to make choices and keep in mind what is best for their child. They will also make decisions based on how their child accepts responsibility. For example, are your chores done without being asked? How’s your attitude? Do you complain when you’re asked to set the table? Or do you wait to be asked several times? Your attitude and obedience will dictate your parents’ reaction. I’m sure you experience the exact same thing with your younger brother or sister. How do you feel when you ask your little sister to stay out of your room and she doesn’t? It’s basically the same thing. Obedience comes with practice and submitting yourself to God and His Word. It’s been this way since the beginning of man. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and paid the ultimate price: they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden – the perfect home! Wow! If they had just obeyed, we would all be living in paradise right now. But before you get too hard on them, do you disobey your parents? It’s the same thing!

If you are a good Christian teenager and do exactly as you are asked, the issue between you and your parents may be due to a lack of communication. How are your communication skills? Do you get frustrated when your parents say things you do not want to hear? Or do you really listen and hear them out? Do you interrupt them and yell at them: “You just don’t want to understand me!” Most parents want to talk to their kids but anger and emotions get in the way of communicating. Don’t you get upset when your younger sister yells at you? Your first reaction is to yell back, right? This is where most families go wrong. Angry words don’t get you anywhere but into a mess. The solution is to explain yourself and how you feel in a calm manner. If you’re too upset to talk at the moment, ask them to sit and talk at a later time when emotions have calmed down. Starting this technique will bring a blessing to you – not only in the home, but it is good training for relationships as well as good training for when you get a job in the work place. You’ve probably heard the saying, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” right? Sweet words will bring about better results in a conversation than angry words. It’s all up to you, teenager. Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. and Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. Angry words will definitely produce an argument, but sweet words (calm words) will produce a calm conversation.

God gave us His Word so that we can learn from it. He wants us to be able to grow from it and learn how to please Him. We please Him by obeying Him. You must remember that your parents do love you. They want what is best for you. If you make it a habit to talk to them when each problem arises, you won’t have a whole list of pent up emotions waiting to explode at the next conversation! Keep your complaint list short and “talked up” with your parents. They will become your best friends when you’re older. :) Now is the time to set the ground work.

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1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

On any given day at school, the popular girls are making fun of the other girls. Their comments are hurtful and have a lasting impact! You’re right, it isn’t fair. But the fact of the matter is that it’s important for us to feel accepted by others! It’s not just a teen girl issue – it’s a people issue in general. It happens to the boys – it happens to adults in the work place. It’s sad, but true!

Although the problem is the same in all age groups, the only thing that differs is how we chose to deal with the problem. No one can control how YOU feel unless YOU let them. Today’s verse explains that although man looks on the outward appearance of others (like those popular girls), God looks in our hearts. I realize that this may not be very comforting when you’ve been hurt by another girl, but do you know that you really don’t have to stay hurt?

The wonderful thing about being a Christian teenager is that you have the power of Christ in your life where the unsaved teenager does not. God’s word is just as powerful for you as it is for any Christian adult. The key is the way you use God’s word in your own personal life. An unsaved teenager would be hurt, bitter and would seek revenge. However, the saved teenager doesn’t have to take that path.  In fact, God doesn’t want you to take that path. He’s given you power to overcome these things. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Jesus took a LOT of abuse in His ministry, didn’t He? He was ridiculed by the Pharisees – He was ridiculed right up to His death on the cross.

But you aren’t being ridiculed to the point of death. I’m sure you feel like dying at times, but remember that God’s Spirit lives within you and you can encourage yourself by reading His word. 1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; You have the advantage! God can help you to heal from your wounds :) Isn’t that good news?

So how can you heal? You cannot be successful at healing if you first don’t forgive those who hurt you and make fun of you. I won’t tell you that it’s easy to forgive because it isn’t. But it’s the first step in your healing process. If you don’t forgive, you’ll simply be carrying this burden of hurt and pain.  That burden will only get heavier :( Jesus said: Matthew 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. So that’s the first step in fixing your hurt and pain. Once you forgive that girl who has hurt you so badly, you will be able to start healing.

Once forgiveness has come, I’ve found that reading Psalms puts my heart in a “right attitude” and helps me to heal my broken heart. That is where God reaches down and hugs me. :) Isaiah 43:4a Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: God loves you and you are precious in His sight! That’s so wonderful, isn’t it? When you realize how special you are to God, you should begin to have a more tender heart toward those who are lost and have hurt you. YOU have the power to hold on to the pain or to let God heal you.

This is the difference between being an immature Christian and a mature Christian. Which one will you be, teen girl? It’s up to you :)

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Worldy Desires

Photography by Cecelia Becker

~Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.

Coveting is not a word that is common today.  It is better known as the “I’ve just gotta have” disease. The latest technology – the latest clothing – the latest sneakers – the latest everything is on top of every teenager’s list. If you don’t get it right now, it’s practically the end of the world!

Let’s look at what God thinks of this type of desire in your life. You will have to be honest with yourself to get anything out of today’s topic. Put aside what you think are your “rights” and dig into the Word of God to see what HE thinks. Coveting is really strong desire to have something that someone else has and that you want. Coveting also goes to the point of doing whatever you can to get what you want, even if it involves doing something wrong to get it. Someone who covets is never content or satisfied with what they have – they always want what they don’t have. This isn’t just a teenager’s problem – it is a “people” problem. We are in the “gotta have it NOW” generation and it affects everyone. But it isn’t what God wants for us.

Two things come from always getting what you want: (1) debt (2) and wanting more. The Tenth Commandment, today’s Bible verse, condemns the practice of coveting – it condemns the DESIRE to have something you don’t have or have enough of… coveting always wants MORE. This is what the Tenth Commandment condemns. It’s like looking at today’s picture. Coveting is wanting the whole “globe” instead of waiting and getting it piece by piece. Young married couples want the new house, furniture, cars, boats, etc. right after they get married. They get themselves into tremendous debt at the beginning of their marriage. This sets them up for some major arguments, struggles and long-term debt. This is all due to a lack of maturity – they are not content to wait until they can afford to buy certain items… they have to have those items NOW.

Coveting is also a very selfish desire and when it reaches this point, a person is willing to get what he/she wants at the expense of others. This is especially true in relationships. A good example of this is when a girl will do whatever she can to get a guy, even at the expense of losing her best friend. This is extremely self-centered and is not Christ-like at all.

~Philippians 4:10-13 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The Apostle Paul new what it was to be content. Being content is the end result of maturity. Just because someone is an adult doesn’t mean they are mature. There are many adults who covet and are never satisfied with what God has blessed them with. They always want more. Being a spiritually mature teenager demands spending time in the Bible and applying what God teaches to one’s life. God wants us to be grateful for what we have which, in turn, makes us content. :)

God may want you to have clothing but He doesn’t necessarily want you to have $100 shoes. It’s unfair for you to ask your parents to buy you such costly things. However, some things are costly and are needed – like uniforms for sports, etc. Rather than desiring the latest trends, be satisfied with what your parents can buy you at Wal-Mart. If you absolutely have to have an expensive item, you should be willing to work for it.

Think about those things which you think you must have. Pray about it and talk to your parents about it. Ask their opinion. If they say no, then be content with what you have. Throwing a temper tantrum because you can’t get what you want is not being mature at all. It only enforces that you do not know how to be content. The answer is to train yourself to be content (satisfied) with what you have.

~Proverbs 23:4-8 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. 5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for [riches] certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. 6 Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: 7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee. 8 The morsel [which] thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

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Salt Makes You Thirsty

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

When you eat too much salted potato chips, your mouth gets “pruny,” doesn’t it? You have to get something to drink right away to wash the taste out of your mouth. That’s a good example of too much salt. On the other hand, when you sit down to a great meal and the mashed potatoes haven’t been seasoned, you reach for the salt to give it some flavor. Too much of a good thing can be bad but just the right amount can be, oh so good! :)

I hope that this analogy helps you to get a better understanding of today’s Bible verse, teen girl. Read the verse and think about it for a moment, in light of the analogy above. Your salvation and love for the Lord should motivate you to tell your friends about Jesus and how they, too, can be saved. Salt makes one thirst, amen? Our words – our walk – should cause others to thirst after what we have.

Not only should your words be “seasoned with the salt of the Gospel” but your walk should be as well. You can preach all you want but if your walk is like that of the world, your words are no longer seasoned with salt – they are foul and leave a bad taste in a person’s mouth. I don’t know about you, teen girl, but if there’s something that upsets me is when someone says one thing and then does the opposite. It’s so hypocritical, amen?

Paul says that our speech should always be with grace. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines grace as:

1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.

If your speech is seasoned with favor, good will, and kindness, it stands to reason that you would not be a hypocrite in your walk but would be practicing what you preach, amen?

Do your words and actions cause an unbeliever to thirst for Jesus in their lives? Do they see something about you and want to know more? Do they thirst for what you have in their own lives? This is what Paul is talking about, teen girl. Our walk with the Lord should be such that we cause others to thirst for the same thing in their own lives!

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True Repentance

Photography by Cecelia Becker

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Repentance – what a much hated word in today’s world. People who call themselves Christians claim they are saved yet they cling to their pet sins. Some love to drink – some can’t seem to stop lying – some steal “little” things from work, like paper clips, etc. This is not repentance. A true born-again believing teen girl will feel guilty in her heart. She will have sorrow for what she has done. This is true of every true born-again believer!

Is it that way with you, teen girl? Are you still lying to your parents? Are you still stealing from Walmart? Are you still cursing? These things should not be so. Today’s verse is clear – “Let him that stole, steal no more.” If you are continuing in your sin, you must ask yourself why! The latter part of the verse tells you how to conquer your sin: “… labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

When our eyes are focused on helping others and doing work for the Lord, they are not busy thinking of those sins that so easily tempt us.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Get to work, teen girl! Ask your Pastor what you can be doing to keep yourself busy. Praying and reading your Bible daily at the beginning of each day will help you. Staying busy on “good” things that will please the Lord will help you stay focused. Pray throughout the day and seek the Lord’s face each time you are tempted.

You are not alone in your struggles – every born-again adult struggles as well. Hugs!! :)

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Photography by Cecelia Becker

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Let’s look at these two verses in today’s teen girl terms: “I urge you, I implore you, teen girl, by the mercy of God, that you present your body as if it were a living sacrifice to God (unspotted like Jesus was – without sin), holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (it’s the bare minimum that we owe God in our service to Him).  And, teen girl, don’t resemble the world (don’t look like the world, don’t talk like the world, don’t do as the world does): but be renewed (changed in form or external appearance; metamorphosed) by the renewing (changing your thoughts/heart from the old life before salvation to the new life) of your mind, that you may try/examine what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

These two verses are not for adults only, teen girl. These two verses should very much be a part of your everyday life. How can you go about fulfilling what Paul exhorts you to do? When you read your Bible, teen girl, do you just read for the sake of reading or do you apply what you have read to your spiritual walk that day? This is what will change you! This word, “renewed,” means metamorphosis – just like a cocoon miraculously becomes a beautiful butterfly. When you were born again, your old sinful nature (the cocoon) dies and you become a beautiful new creature (clothed in Christ’s righteousness – the butterfly)! There should be desire to be more like Him! If not, something is sincerely wrong.

Just as a baby screams and hollers until she receives milk from Momma, so should we be when it comes to God’s words in our Bible.

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

The more we read, the more we will grow, amen? :) This is a fundamental need in all Christians’ lives, teen girls. Every believer that wants to live for Christ has to do the same things in order to be molded into His image. :) At salvation, we became part of the church – Christ’s precious bride! Imagine that! :) It is our duty to become more like Him with each passing day. If you fail, start over!

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Teen Depression

Photography by Cecelia Becker

Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

At a time where life ought to be exciting for a teenager, it surprises me when I read about the rate of teen suicides. Why are there so many? Teenagers struggle with so many things these days. Sin is ever before them – young people desiring to be treated like adults and they dive into adult sins at such an early age. Television, talk radio, music, and the Internet are filled with horrible things – things that I was not exposed to as a teenager.

Sinful things are ever before the eyes of teenagers and it’s robbing you of your innocence. Do you really think a teenager would be depressed if she didn’t read/see the horrible things around her? Yes, I got depressed as a teenager but I was not saved and didn’t have the Lord to turn to like a saved teen girl.

Prayer for me was saying the rosary – there was no personal relationship with Jesus Christ at all. I didn’t know that I could have such a close relationship with the One who could be end up being my very best friend! In fact, I could have turned to Him and told Him all about my troubles and He would have given me peace. I was trying to live my life by my own strength – and that strength, teen girl, was very small indeed.

Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

Prayer is telling God all about your needs, your sorrows, and your troubles.  God then talks to you and provides comforts through His Word. It is then that you realize that it is God’s strength that helps you through depression. Your eyes are taken off of you and placed on Him, where they belong.

Are you depressed right now, teen girl? READ, READ, READ your Bible. Dig into the Book of Psalms and see how David dealt with his depression. Psalm 51 shows David’s heart and his tears were very real. Yet through it all, he knew what he needed – and it’s exactly what you need as well. :)

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

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