Being a preteen is HARD. Anyone that says it isn’t either had a charmed life, is lying or was home schooled. Ok, I’m just kidding about the home school thing. It’s hard for them too. But, seriously, it’s just a hard time in your life.
Peer Pressure: Part of what makes middle school so hard is peer pressure. Sure this exists prior on some level in early elementary, but not to the same extent. Of course it exists in high school, but many kids have learned how to say no by that time. But, when you are 11 or 12 years old saying no to peer pressure feels impossible. I mean, what your friends link of you is important. Or at least it SEEMS important at this age.
The problem with peer pressure is that it can lead us to do things we don’t want to do. Peer pressure can lead us to do things we know are wrong. We do them because others are doing them, because our PEERS are doing them. We do them because we worry that our PEERS will think less of us if we don’t. This is why Peer pressure is a problem.
The truth about peer pressure is that it is about finding value for ourselves. We worry that we will feel less valuable if our friends make fun of us. We worry that we will feel less valuable if our friends stop hanging our with us because we won’t do the things they are doing. The truth about peer pressure is that it is about building ourselves up in the eyes of others, even if it means giving up who we really are.
Where SHOULD we find value? If peer pressure is the result of or leads to us finding our value in the opinions of others, then where should we be finding value? Here is the truth about your value as a preteen, as a person: YOU WERE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD Genesis says that Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. As descendants of these first humans we are also created in the image of God. This does not make you God, but it does mean that you have value.
A child of God: For those that have received salvation through Jesus Christ, we are also called CHILDREN OF THE ONE TRUE GOD. In a royal family the children of the king derive their position, their value from their relationship with the king. As children of God our value also comes from our relationship with the King, Jesus.
You can be a child of God too. So, I would say to the preteen that is struggling with peer pressure, You can be a child of God too. Make no mistake. Not every person is called a child of God. That is a distinction reserved for those who have trusted in Jesus for salvation. That is a distinction reserved for those who have made Jesus lord of their life. But, the good news is that this is a free gift offered by God to anyone who would receive it.
Talk with someone: At the end of the day, if you are struggling with your own self-worth, talk with someone. Talk with me. Talk with a trusted teacher. Talk with your parents. Talk with a leader at church. Just talk with someone. You are created in the image of God. You can be a child of God, if you are not already. But, you must be willing to accept these truths.
Even adults: The truth is that many adult still struggle with finding their value in the opinions and words of others. Man of God take the same advice I have given here for preteens. Woman of God give this some thought, make it yours.Matt Norman
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