Emotionally Healthy Teens and Emotionally Healthy YOU
By Michele Okimura
As Christian parents, we care about the spiritual growth of our children. Yet, the emotional health of our teens has a direct effect on their spiritual health. For example, if we are suffering from depression, our spiritual life with God will be negatively affected.
At Explicit Movement, we have ministered to thousands of church-going teens. Though teens knew as ‘information’ that God loved them and they were wonderfully made, it often seemed to our team that the majority of teens we ministered to did not fully believe such truths.
At one youth event, there were two high schoolers (a girl and a guy) highlighted to me. They were regular attenders to their youth group and were encouraged often by their youth pastor. Yet, in an activity, they stood in front of the entire class weeping as they courageously shared a lie they believed about themselves. The young man shared he believed he was, “ugly.” The teen girl, who was physically beautiful with a sweet personality, confessed, “I believe that I am a freak.” We had a special time of ministry to them.
Sometimes, knowing your identity in Christ can be a matter of life and death. During one of our conferences, a teen who was a youth group leader and an excellent student, was moved to confess to her parents that she had recently attempted suicide. Her parents and youth pastor had no clue she was suffering! They were then able to get her the help she needed. At a teen girls’ workshop, 90%+ of the 200 attendees anonymously shared through an activity that they had struggled with thoughts of suicide. But God is God of hope, and we can be releasors or His life!
Lastly, the Word shares that we must love others as we love ourselves. As a parent or spiritual parent, do YOU believe you have immense value? What are the lies you struggle with regarding your identity? Be brave, exchange lies for the truth, and pursue your healing. Are you relating to your children out of the overflowing abundance in your heart, or out of lack? You cannot give away what don’t have. The transformation you experience in your identity in Christ will directly affect your family! Your breakthrough will be their breakthrough too.
True story: A mom of a teenager was so sad that she had a very detached relationship with her son. He rarely talked with her. She realized she believed a lie for years that she was a ‘bad mom.’ In prayer, she asked the Lord to break that lie and received God’s comfort and truth that she was good mom! Later that same day, she and her son unexpectedly had a great bonding conversation and have since enjoyed a growing relationship! Miracles of the heart are possible.
There is super-natural power in knowing and walking in who GOD says you are!
What are some things you can do to help solidify your child’s identity in Christ?
Pray! Ask the Holy Spirit for creative ideas to positively connect with your child.
Look for opportunities to affirm your child in their identity, value, and worth.
Work on YOUR identity. Grow in believing who God says YOU are as a parent and God’s beloved child.