October Newsletter

Are You Valuable?

Teenagers Ask This Question…

I coach high school students. This means I sit across from them and listen carefully as they talk about their goals, struggles, and hopes for the future.

My role is to ask great questions, pay attention to their reactions, and help them move forward. 

Here’s what they’re all asking, even when they don’t say it out loud: Am I valuable? 

From that question, comes others …

If I am valuable, why am I always left out? What if I’m only valuable for what I’m doing—and I stop doing that?

Who cares about me? Or, more honestly, why does anyone care about me?

The $50 Cup!

Here’s another part of meeting with teenagers. Lots of them have these $50 tumblers called Stanleys. Or, as one of my students called it, “my emotional support water bottle.”

Stanleys are valuable. They keep ice solid for hours through the Texas heat and also feature a big straw and a helpful handle. 

After watching many teenagers lug these mega-sized tumblers through the halls, I broke down and bought one. And yep. Water bottle perfection. My Stanley is with me everywhere I go. 

Stickers, Meet the Dishwasher.

But then I made a dumb choice. In a terrible decision to personalize my Stanley, I put stickers on it. Unfortunately, I then ran it through the dishwasher. Now, the peeling sticker residue makes my $50 look dingy.

Honestly, though, the grime doesn’t really matter. Even with the gunk on the outside, the inside still keeps my sparkling water cold and my coffee hot. Of all the tumblers I could use, my Stanley remains my very favorite.

Our Value Doesn’t Change.

As your high school student strives to feel worthy, they’ll experiment with different identities. To feel more valuable, they might attach themselves to bad ideas. They’ll abandon their goals. They’ll make terrible choices. They’ll cover themselves with proverbial stickers, mess up, and walk around with the ugly stains of those decisions. 

Here’s the truth to share with your high schooler: your value has not changed. You still belong to God. He always loves you and always sees you as valuable. Ugly stickers of dating the wrong person, fighting with your friends, failing a test will not change your identity in Christ. Remember—nothing can change your worth to God. 

We All Believe We’re Imposters.

For every Stanley in the world, there are just as many imposters. Knock-off tumblers still keep water cold—even without the famous Stanley logo (or the famous price tag). What’s on the outside doesn’t matter nearly as much as what’s inside. Yes, these other tumblers d look different. They might even feel a bit unusual—but they are still valuable. 

In the same way, God created each of us to be His unique design. This individuality makes us exquisite. This is why you should never decide your value by comparing yourself to someone else. 

Encourage your teenager that they are worthy because of God’s huge, miraculous love for them. Tell your son/daughter, “You are never second rate. Even with all your insecurities, all your mess-ups, and all the ways you haven’t figured life out yet. You are so valuable for exactly who God created you to be. He loves you and gave you this specific story, these talents, and these people.”

We Become What We Consume.

My Stanley-love was temporarily tainted when I heard rumors about mold. It doesn’t take a biology teacher to tell you that a warm, moist straw could become a petri dish for mildew. Yuck.

In some cases, these tiny bits of mold have caused stomach problems. The message from the science experiment going on in your Stanley straw is clear—be careful what you consume. 

Of course, as a parent, you know this warning reaches beyond a moldy straw. Your teenager is also consuming hours of social media, YouTube, and questionable internet content. How does what they watch affect the way they see themselves?

What if You Fasted from Scrolling?

I teach a religion class called Articulating Your Faith. Last month, my class experimented with what they consume. These students gave up social media for a week. They replaced mind-numbing scrolling with reading their Bibles.

They reported better everything. They discovered that what they consume affects the way they see themselves.

A steady diet of shiny Instagram posts makes you compare yourself and feel unworthy. Hours of mindless videos zaps your motivation. If you want to feel valuable, you probably won’t find that message in your cell phone.

Ask your teen to pay attention to this. How does what you consume affect you? Do you see yourself differently after you scroll? Remind them that God wants them to take care of themselves—this includes what they are watching. 

Look at Psalm 139:1-6 to understand how God sees you—you are enough, worthy of every blessing, fully forgiven because of Jesus Christ, and eternally valuable. Nothing can change that.  

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