This world is scary and confusing and overwhelming, I know. It’s chaotic and cruel with all its wars and rulers, horrific headlines, and evil-doers. It’s filled with disease and death, division and destruction, and desperate people everywhere. And through your teen years, you might feel utterly powerless living in the midst of it all.
And sometimes you wake to start the day feeling unsteady and tired, a little bit sad and a little bit mad, and you wonder why you feel that way. You might be edgy and everything seems heavy and you feel lost in a haze. That’s how most teens start their days.
In the murky places of your mind, buried behind your everyday life, you wonder about looming battles in faraway places and the endless headlines filled with scary situations. You’ll hear about new COVID mandates changing and your just waiting for it to be all over so you can have your full life back again. It seems everyone is angry and fighting about everything with so many situations you know little about. You try to tune it all out, but it surrounds you everywhere.
And you are just waiting for the next eruption to your life, the next big thing that will upend anything you tried to trust, and all this worrying and wondering what will come next, can make you feel bitter and anxious, discouraged, and hopeless. Are we going to war? Is our economy crashing? When is another variant of Covid coming?
It’s an ever-changing world, full of uncertainty and fear, and all of that pain and heartache, vitriol and violence, somehow seeps into your own little world and you can’t do anything to change it. You barely understand what it’s all about, but you are well aware of all the angst everywhere.
This world feels so wrecked and you wonder if it will ever be repaired. It’s a blurry baffling mess, it seems. But what can you do? What do you know? You’re just a kid after all.
It’s so much, it’s so hard, it’s so exhausting, and really confusing, I know. But dear teen, this is not your load to bear. It’s not your job to figure it all out and it’s not your job to try and fix it either.
Please don’t let this world bring you down.
You have enough to worry about in your life, full of so many things that will require your full attention. Growing up is tough enough these days. So, try as best as you can to focus on developing who you are and who you want to be. These teen years are when you’ll do the hard work of self-discovery.
It can be agonizing and awkward, exciting and fun. There is so much pressure to fit in, and deep down there is an ongoing need to be loved and accepted for who you are. And sometimes, you’ll feel rejected and betrayed, ignored and criticized, and there’s nothing more painful than that. Other times you might make choices you’ll soon regret, and living with those mistakes can lead you down dark paths of shame. Growing up is a long and laborious journey, filled with wrong turns and unpredictable terrain. You are bound to take missteps over and over again.
But dear teen, that is how you find your way. It’s a rugged road for everyone your age.
And as you keep trudging ahead, through each shaky step you take in this vast and unpredictable land of growing up, you’ll develop new strengths you never knew you had. You’ll find that some things aren’t as important as you once thought they were and some people aren’t as powerful as you once believed. You’ll realize opinions of others don’t define who you are and your mistakes don’t either. And as you slowly begin to believe that you matter, as you come to understand that despite all your faults and failures, despite all the stumbling and falling you’ve done along the way, you are the only you there is, and that’s something to celebrate.
This process takes time. Lots of time.
But you will get to a place, where growing up won’t feel as hard and scary, where other people won’t impair your view. But for now, please don’t let the rest of the world threaten you. I promise, this world and all the madness you see has been that way throughout history. Your awareness of it all means you’re maturing and that’s a good thing. But it’s still not your responsibility.
Your mission is to figure out all the countless details of the life you’ve been given and weed through your weaknesses to discover the gifts, traits, and talents you have. And tending to all those things is more than enough for you to withstand.
In your search for purpose and your quest for a plan, please know that there are no dead ends.
Growth goes on and on through the years, and you are just at the beginning of this lifetime journey, so pace yourself and be kind to yourself too. Everyone has faults and failures, battles and brokenness. Please care for those vulnerable pieces and parts of you with gentleness and grace. There’s nothing worse than self-hate. Learn and evolve, change what you must, but love yourself through the worst parts of your story, because that will help you find the best parts too.
And as you grow up through these tough teen years, the outside world will go on. It will continue to be scary and unsettling, confusing and overwhelming. It’s always been this way, and it always will be too. But soon you will see that within all the ugly parts, there is also so much beauty. And in that beauty, there is resilience and strength, hope and healing, and heroes who show us the way. You’ll find all this in you too, someday.
What this world needs most is for you to grow into a healthy and well, strong and secure, wise and responsible person, who knows your strengths and is aware of your flaws, who has found a purpose and passion that will make this world a much better place.
The world will wait for you, while you do the hard work of transforming into the very best you, you were born to be.
And that, dear teen, is enough weight for you to carry.