Okay, you got this, you know everything that you need to know to get the job done. You are on your own, and you don’t need anybody telling you what to do, or how to do it…You are in Middle School, it is time for your parents to step back and just let things flow.
Well, that might be a little extreme, but sometimes when you continue to dishonor your parents, that is what it seems like to them. Okay I get it too, that it is not always easy being told what to do and when to do it. You want some freedom and you want your parents to trust you with that freedom. You just want to be you and well, you can’t do that under all the rules and the guidelines that your parents put on you. So what are you going to do? Move out, get your own place, get a job drop out of school? How are you going to continue to live the life that you want to live when there are so many rules locking you down? You could do what many middle school students have done for a long time. Get sneaky and get good at being sneaky, so that you can do whatever you want, because you just don’t get caught.
Be hey lets face it everyone gets caught it just a matter of when will you get caught.
Okay there is a tension that happens in middle school and well for the entirety of your life. The tension of your parents rules and requirements vs. the things that you want to do, and they don’t always line up together.
But what you and what I did not understand when I was in middle school was that my parents actually had my best interest in mind. They actually loved me so much that they wanted the best for me. They were also smart enough to know that I would not choose the best. So that is why the created the rules and guidelines for me to live by, so that I would experience the best possible life if I followed the rules that is.
Okay so take a look at this wisdom from the Bible. Ephesians 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” I love this command from God because it comes with a promise. Which means if you follow this commandment then the promise becomes something that you can call on God to keep. Honor your father and mother, and it will go well for you and you will enjoy long life on earth. That is a pretty rad promise, long, enjoyable life here on earth! Sign me up, but you have to process the commandment. You have to honor your mother and father. You have to do what they say and seek to please them. Not just so you get the promise, the promise is what it is, but when you honor your parents you are saying that you love them and you trust them to show you how to have a long and enjoyable life here on earth…. Honor your parents!
What XGT'ers said about honoring your parents
What are the expectations that you live under?
We have have expectations put on us in life. Sometimes expectations can crush us and cause stress in our lives. Other times expectations can cause us to soar and fly higher than we ever thought that we could. The expectation pushes us and we excel.
So what is it about expectations, why are some good and some bad?
Here is the deal, Expectations are good things, but they get a bad rap. The good ones help you go further and grow and develop with the reality of who you are and what you were made for in mind. The bad expectations are the ones that well stretch you so far and push you so hard that you break. “These expectations are not based in understanding who you are and what you were made for. They are based in what someone else wants you to be.” Lets face it we all need someone helping us and pushing us, but the person behind the expectation needs to really know who we are and what we were made for.
In the end we have expectations that we put on ourselves and sometimes we put expectations on ourselves that we can’t meet. We are caught in the trap of trying to please others, we think we know what will make them happy and well we set expectations that just aren’t true.
So where do we find help, what is the answer to living with expectations?
Check this out, Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. When we take a look at this verse we are reminded that it is ultimately Jesus who we seek to please. He has expectations for us but we can be confident that His expectations will guide us to the best possible life. God’s way of living is always the best way to live.
Okay so if you are truly living out that verse, then it should take care of many things. But what if you still have expectations that are put on you that you just can live up to… What are you to do then? Communicate, talk with the people who are putting the expectations upon you. Talk with them and let them know the pressures that you are under and how things are affecting you. You have a voice and you have to use it. Okay so these conversations will probably need to happen with your parents, and you can say it really won’t help. Or you might say that I have tried that before, but they still one me to live up to the expectations. If that is the case read on and learn how to communicate with your family, and your parents. It is a survival skill you need, and it is easier than you think.
What comes to your mind when you think about your family? How often do you just think about your family and what it is made of? For most of us when we think about family we probably don’t think that we have the perfect family. Yet in the back of our thoughts we might be searching for the perfect family. Them family that never ever fights, that always agrees with what you want to do. As we go through life we experience it with our family, we learn and grow in life with our family. But what is family? How does one define family? Well for some of us a family is a Dad, Mom, brothers or sisters and us. But not ever family is made up the same. So what is family? So for practical purposes we will define your family as the people who you live with day to day. The people who are connected with the common purpose to be a family. So what does family look like for you? Well, only you can answer that question. We all have family, and we all will be shaped by our family experiences.
Family life can be hard but it does not have to be hard. Chances are that family was not so hard a few years ago. When you think back to elementary school, family might have seemed easier, a more happier time. So what has changed? Why has family life maybe become more difficult? Well, to put it quite frankly you are changing. As you go through Middle School you are changing and things about you are changing the family.
So what about the perfect family, it might appear that it was the perfect family years ago, but now things have changed. The first thing we want you to understand is this. There is no perfect family. Family is made up of people, and people are not perfect. So you can’t get a perfect family from imperfect people. That is just the way it is. If there is no perfect family then what are we to do.
As you read this you might be thinking about that family that you know and you might be saying they are a perfect family. But that is not possible since it is made up by imperfect people. So why do they look perfect to you? They look perfect to you because they are not your family. They might do family different than you and they might do family in a way that you would want to do family but in no way are they perfect. The best thing for you to consider is how can you make a positive impact on the family that you have. How will you be the change in your family. As you grow and change, you will need to play a more active role in your family.
So ask yourself these two questions:
What role do you play in your family?
How do you influence your family?
Then after you start to process these questions get ready to talk, yes talk to your family. As we look at family we will be pushing to talk and communicate with your family. Scared, don’t be we are going to help you in the journey!
The world is under the influence of the culture ansi it really does not offer a lot of purity. Advertisements are everywhere, they bombard us with images and thoughts. They seek to kill us. TV shows do not model the way we have been called to live. Movies, video games, and music teach us and seek to cause us to live in a way that is counter to purity.
What are we to do, We live in this culture and it is a part of your life! Don’t worry I am not about to tell you what to do, I am not here to tell you to put away all the things of the world. No that is not what I am going to tell you to do. What I suggest is that you really think about what you want. What do you want your life to be in the end. What do you want for your life now. Figure that out and then set a course for those things. There is tension in our world, it does not support the best decisions for you, it only supports the best decisions for it. The world and the culture around us does not line up with God, or the way that he created us to live. The world is opposite from God.
So what is a person to do? How are we to live a life of purity as we race after God, in a world that does not offer purity? Well first decide what you want for your life. You have to decide is God’s way the best way, or is the worlds way the best. Do you want to be radical? Or do you want to be like everyone else? What you decide will determine everything. Purity is a choice.
If you seek to go after purity then read God’s word because in it a young person can find the strength and the power to live a life of purity! Psalm 119:9 Tell us this: How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word. There it is, it is possible, but you have to decide, you have to make the decision about what you want to live your life for. Once you decide this then the road is still hard but at least you know what road you are walking on. The Bible tells us that we can do it and it is timeless it does not change, the standard can be reached! God’s way is the best way to live. You have to want it you have to really want it cause the tension of you wanting it would break the strongest individual. There are steps to follow and a path that is the right way to live, but you have to decide. What do you want? It is your choice, you are free to decide. All I ask is that you decide on one way or the other….
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
Purity sets you apart from the rest of the world. It would be a challenge to anyone, to live a entire day not allowing anything to contaminate them in thoughts, speech, and action. When I think about life in middle school, well it is even more a challenge. Everything and everyone around you could possible be carrying something that could contaminate you.
So with that in mind don’t forget your armor because it is a battle out there.
Seeking to stay pure and live for purity is a character trait that will set you apart from others. I mean I think about the trend that we have in our culture, like gluten free. How so many people are deciding to live gluten free. Some they have to due to allergies but others just choose to be gluten free for a healthier life. Wow that is a hard one because gluten is in everything. We you meet those people you have to think wow that is really hard and you must be serious about what you are doing. They are set apart they are different than everyone else who don’t check the ingredients in everything that they eat.
Just as some people choose to be very careful about what they eat, we are as followers of Jesus are called to be careful about what we allow to enter our minds. We are to live with purity as the goal. But the attack is on and it goes beyond just looking at every ingredient that we eat. All around us are images and sounds that have the potential to make us stumble in our race to live pure lives. As hard as it is it is not impossible and it is worth every effort that we put towards it! Check this out 1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. You and I are encouraged to live a life that sets examples to others. We are called to live for Purity! In this one verse we get some clear steps to work from. We are called to set examples in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. When we set our mind to working on steps, simple things that we can do every day in small bite size portions we can achieve anything. The fight for purity starts in the mind and what we allow in and allow to let out.
Here are some basic steps:
1. Think of your life as giant sign to show others who Jesus is.
2. Words are power, think about what you say.
3. Make your life match your words.
4. Make your love match your words and your life.
5. Dig into your faith let what you believe be more than just what you believe but let it guide.
6. Strive to be pure, Chase it, Fight for it.
Keep reading if you are serious this EFMag is all about the how to of Purity!
Cover Articles from Extreme Faith Magazine
Written and Posted by The XGT Experience Team of leaders