November 2015 Final Issue
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Living the Life

What does Living the Life mean to a Christian teenager? The phrase implies a world where your situations are ideal. For a believer this may look like you have it all together with your relationship with Christ. I think teenagers, especially, fuel their faith with so-called “Jesus Highs.” I confess I do it! A “Jesus High” is a period when you are on fire for God. Your relationship with Him is great and you literally can’t get enough of Him. You’re Living the Life. It is what we all desire because it’s the most comfortable place to be in your walk with Christ. 2013Dec-LivingtheLife5The problem with this mindset is that there are valleys in our faith that interrupt our Jesus High or Living the Life moments. Valleys are moments on the journey where you’re not doing so well. You question what God is doing because it doesn’t seem like He knows what He’s doing. We don’t feel on fire for God and we’re not motivated to pursue Him. I don’t know about you, but this is normally when I start comparing myself to other believers. It’s hard not to be envious of the Jesus High others are experiencing when you’re in the middle of a rough spot. The past few months of my life could be described as walking through a valley. I’ve noticed my lack of motivation toward pursuing God. I’ve been going through the motions of my faith; I go to youth group, memorize a verse, and pray every day, but something just feels off. The funny part about going through the motions is that you don’t realize you’re doing it. That’s when God comes in. I’ve learned in the valley that God will ALWAYS open my eyes to the truth if I let Him. Recently, a good friend of mine sent me a link to a sermon. It was from Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. The Pastor, Steven Furtick, was preaching a seven-week series called "I Don’t Know What I Believe". After watching the first sermon, I realized that God was speaking to me. He opened my eyes so I saw that my lack of motivation was actually hindering my walk with Him. I realize now that I was frustrated with how God was working in my life. Starting a new school year is hard for any teenager, and God has definitely given me some new roles as a junior in high school. Unfortunately, I like to be in control of everything about my life. For some time, God has been asking me to give up control to Him. Honestly, I’m angry about it. I like being in control! Underneath the desire to “give it all” to Jesus, is a strong mindset that thinks giving up control is a bad idea. But God is persistent. He won’t let me off the hook. He wants me to be willing to give up the need to control my own life. 2013Dec-LivingtheLife4Throughout this wrestling period, I have felt God speaking to me in many ways through His Word and other sermons that apply directly to my life. God is slowly pushing me out of my discouraged mood. After He opened my eyes and I saw my “going through the motions” mindset, I knew I didn’t want to continue living that way anymore. I felt Him nudging me in the right direction. Even though I felt like I was drowning, God continuously showed me His presence in my life. The last few weeks have been hard . . . growth doesn’t always feel good. But I know that God has been with me the whole time. Walking through this valley has made me feel vulnerable, but I’ve learned that vulnerability signifies VALUE. I am valued by the Father. You are valuable to Him too. The enemy doesn’t want what God has instilled within you to grow. He knows that you were designed to expand God’s Kingdom. If you sense your life is under attack, it’s because God is going to use you in an amazing way. You must reappraise the value of your calling in Christ and keep fighting! Hebrews 4:16 states “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Even when we are in the valley and not on a Jesus High or Living the Life, God wants us to be bold and stay confident. By trusting in God, you will soon learn to lean on Him in ALL circumstances. A valley doesn’t have to mean a low spot in your faith. It just means that God is working in your life in new ways. Perhaps, like me, He’s asking you to give up trying to control your own life. Instead of wrestling with Him, allow yourself to be vulnerable with Him. He’ll nudge you in the right direction and continuously show you His presence. Through trusting in God, you will be on a Jesus High and Living the Life even if you’re walking in a valley.
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About Anna Derby

Anna Derby
Anna is a junior at Upper Merion Area High School. Looking ahead to college, she is considering Messiah College, Liberty University, and other Christian schools. Anna is very involved in her youth group at Hope Community Church and is a leader for the middle school students.

3 comments

  1. You’ve written beautiful truths! Thanks so much for sharing your heart! Great perspective on valley’s not necessarily being a low spot in our faith but an opportunity for God to work in our lives in a new way!

  2. The last paragraph – especially the part about being in a valley just means that God is working in your life in a new way – really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing!

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