If I’m only young once, why are my days so repetitive and boring? Am I doing it wrong?
School –> clubs –> family & friends –> repeat.
Is there a more radical and passionate way I could live out my teenage stage, my few years in high school and college?
And it all starts with the way you view your teenage years.
Your teen years aren’t time for you to aimlessly mess around and have fun. It’s time for you to mess around and have fun for a purpose. It’s time hard work, but purposeful hard work.
There are actions you can take, and more importantly mindset shifts you can make which will align your actions, your abilities, your relationships, all of you, to a goal. You can live a purposeful life as a young person.
How exactly? By figuring out a few key things.
Why do you do what you do?
This is the most important step, but also one of the hardest to figure out.
Because let’s be honest, religion tells us we should seek after the kingdom and God’s glory. Parents and friends subconsciouly just transfer their own versions of success to us. All while society pulls us in a million different directions:
Only high-paying, stable jobs can be dream jobs. Make sure you have at least a few friends (and occasionally post about them)! Where’s your internship? It’s ok to have acne, just don’t let it show. Be yourself, but don’t be weird or too different. Be more interesting! No one likes someone with only all A’s, where are your hobbies?
And you know what? It’s ok. It’s ok that we’re bombarded with all these different motivations and voices. Because we only need one true voice to guide us. After researching, asking mentors, looking at your own life, observing friends who have chosen different paths, and more, you’ll ultimately have to choose one voice to commit to.
For me the voice that never changes is God’s voice, the Bible.
Lucky for us, the Bible talks a lot about our life purpose: our why.
God has made us human beings for h=His glory (Isaiah 43: 7, Romans 11:36). And that’s not God being selfish, that’s God being what He is, selfless. Because in giving us this mission, He’s giving us the only thing that will fulfill us. How does God’s glory fulfill us?
Because we glorify God by experiencing God’s love.
And there’s no better place than that love. Experiencing His love means fully accepting and living in it. Seeing every good thing in life for what it is: a gift we can only experience because of God. And seeing every opportunity as a way to grow our experience of His love.
That opportunity to lead a club, that difficult class, that new person you met will all show you a different expression of God’s love for you. That means they’re all different ways for us to bring glory to God’s name because we spread love when we feel loved.
“9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another… 19 We love because he first loved us.”1 John 4: 9-11, 19
It is a command, but it’s more really just the way we work. We need to be loved first, then we (sometimes intentionally and sometimes untintentionally) overflow with that love.
So set your why and commit to it when you truly believe it. Mine is: Glorify God by experiencing God’s love.
What will you do to live out your why?
Now that you know your why it’s time to expand on that. What will you do to live out your why?
And this is personal to everyone. Will it be to help solve world hunger? Build sustainable solutions? Give the world a taste of the best cake they’ve ever had?
Key: To have a meaningful what, it’s got to impact more people than just you.
Sometimes finding this what will really mean finding out what you enjoy and later seeing how that benefits the world.
So whether it’s saving lives or improving them, here’s some things you can try to find your what:
- Reading books
- Talking with people of different mindsets
- Joining communities, clubs, and sports teams
- Traveling/going on mission trips
- Trying out new activities and playing around
Finally, radically go after your what
There is one thing I want to warn you about: success in the wrong things.
I’ll tell you now, it will be so much easier to go after what you want at the cost of sticking with your why.
Getting that job, heck even saving the world isn’t worth it if you sacrifice your why. Because your why is love. If you sacrifice your single pursuit of experiencing God’s love, your pursuit of His glory, you’ve lost what matters.
But if you let your why drive your every action? You’re living the purposeful life.