A Positive Spirit in a Negative Culture
It is easy to focus on negativity and become anxious and fearful; but, as Christians, we are to have a positive spirit.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the onslaught of media. We see it every day on our social media feeds, on TV, and on the radio. Everywhere we turn, we see bad news and horrible stories. It can be discouraging and frightening. It is easy to focus on these negative things and become anxious and fearful. We know that Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our mind on things above, not on earthly things. But it is so easy to take our eyes off of spiritual things, and only focus on the here and now. So what is a Christian teen to do? How can we keep a positive attitude and a spirit of peace in such a negative culture? We do so by maintaining a proper focus.
We have all heard the story of Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water; but as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and saw the wind and waves, he began to sink. This is a powerful lesson for us as teens. We sometimes focus on school, popularity, social media, extracurricular activities, troubling stories we hear on the news, and what is going wrong all around us. Basically, we focus on the storms raging all around us. This causes a lot of anxiety and makes us feel out of control. But when we do as Colossians 3:2 tells us, we are able to keep the storms in proper perspective.
We maintain a proper focus by spending daily time in the Scriptures and in prayer. This can be difficult for us teens, between getting up early for school, being gone all day, then coming home to more homework and extracurricular activities, but it is vital to our spiritual growth. A practical way that has worked for me is having Scriptures written down in different places that I will see throughout the day. You can put Scripture cards on your bathroom mirror, in your locker, or in a textbook to use as a bookmark. Don’t let Sunday and Wednesday be the only time you open your Bible.
We maintain a proper focus by taking our eyes off of ourselves. It is easy for teens to have a “me first” attitude. The world tells us to look out for number one, and to put a lot of focus on popularity. But, as Christians, we are to have the attitude of a servant. We need to look for opportunities to serve others and show the love of Jesus. Instead of seeking to be the most popular person at school, look for those who are hurting or lonely. Don’t worry about what other people think. Worrying about what other people think about you causes stress and anxiety. Focus on doing the right thing. When you see others hurting, always do your best to show them the love of Jesus. When we serve others, it helps us take our minds off of our own problems.
As teenagers, many of us have multiple social media accounts, and having these accounts is not an inherently bad thing! However, when we let social media play too important a role in our lives, we can lose our peace. As Christian girls, it should be important to us to share Christ and always keep Him first. This should be the focus of the things we post. It is helpful to ask yourself a few questions before you post. Ask yourself, “Am I posting this to build someone up or tear him/her down?” “Would I want someone to comment this on my post?” “Is this post seeking to be inclusive or me trying to brag?” When we find ourselves worrying about how many likes we got, the parties we weren’t invited to, or feeling bad about ourselves, we may find we need to step away from social media for a while to gain a proper perspective.
So, when the storms around us are raging, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We need to stay in the Scriptures daily. We need to serve others. We need to stop worrying about being popular or fitting in. We need to take comfort in the fact that we know the end of the story and how it all turns out. We will be victorious if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and trust in Him.