"Keeping the Faith"

Someone told me today, that while you're a teenager you're supposed to "make some mistakes".  Often, this is summed up as "Live your life" or, by the popular acronym, "YOLO- you only live once".  From the first, I have simply discounted these statements as rubbish.  I recall saying quite a few years ago, before I was even close to becoming a teenager, I didn't want to be "stupid" like all the others.  And, I certainly hope that I have lived up to this pre-determined standard. 

This is not to say I don't enjoy some of the pastimes of a typical teenager. 

I eat (sometimes quite a lot).  I listen to music as soon as I have a free moment.  I have crushes on various boy pop groups and singers.  I'm totally addicted to my phone (which I typed this article on in the first place.) But, never in my years of being a teenager, have I found it necessary to "Make a few mistakes," "Live in the moment," or "Go with the flow."  In fact, most of the time, I have stuck out like a sore thumb wherever I may go.  During a summer volunteer job, I even had to rearrange my working schedule because of the persecution of my fellow workmates.  Not once did I find it necessary to "make a mistake" and repeat the explicit things they were saying or discussing.  More than once, I have been looked down upon and treated as if I were a kindergartener for speaking up against what others were saying.  Even as I have watched friendships end, never has it occurred to me that I should "make a mistake" and overlook their behavior.  As I survey (what one could barely call clothes) of other girls, never have I passed through a store and justified "making a mistake" so I could wear what could only create a spectacle out of my body. 
In addition, I ask, why is this motto ingrained into teenagers, but soon discouraged among adults?  I'm sure no one would condone a murder by simply saying one should "make a few mistakes".  Likewise, could one dismiss the abuse of an animal by the reassurance that one should "make a few mistakes." 
The answer to both of these examples is "No."  No one would justify these crimes by that flimsy saying. In fact, these felonies result in serious fines, jail time, and a possible death penalty.   
All of this is not to say that I haven't been tempted to do that which is far less than Christian.  That is quite the contrary.  I have been rude.  I have said hurtful things.  I have used crude words.  I have listened to (and even sung) music that was not fully appropriate. I have read books that use cursive language.  I am, by no standard, perfect.  I don't even come close.
My sole goal is to obey God's word, and to pattern my daily life, as much as my ability will allow, after what a Christian should be.  I awake every morning and read a chapter from the Bible.  This is not boasting that I do this without fail.  Sometimes, I lose sight of the goal and find myself staring at Facebook or texting a friend, when I should be having my devotions.  Sometimes, I fail to say my morning prayer because I would rather drag out of bed and eat a bowl of Lucky Charms.  I fully regret all of this, and work daily to try to change it. 
I simply long to remind Christian teenagers everywhere, that you are not alone.  I, too, am suffering through the hardships you are.  But, I take comfort in the knowledge of the end result of all of this.  Keep your faith, stand strong, and cast your eyes on those things that are above.  As it is said in Acts 20:24: "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."
-Zuri Sophilia Walker 


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