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The Awkward Years

By Hannah Brzozowski

I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger… 1 Corinthians 3:2a

I think if you were to ask anyone if they would want to go back to middle school or even high school, they would tell you with absolute certainty: no.

Those years were awkward and there were so many emotions that no one ever wants to relive them. They are the years you look back at the pictures and wonder why you wore that shirt or why you cut your hair that way -- the years that you wonder why someone let you out in public.

But they’re also the years that had to happen to have you become the full fledged adult that you are today. Similarly, the teenage years as a growing Christian are necessary too.

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul, a leader in the early church, talks about baby Christians. He’s not talking about the people’s actual age but instead their spiritual maturity. He argues that he had to feed them “milk” instead of “solid food” in a spiritual sense.

Well what comes after being a kid? Being a teenager. You see, we don't just leap from childhood to adulthood without enduring the awkward teen years. And as you grow in your relationship with God, there are some things you will have to go through to reach further maturity and growth.

And as you grow in your relationship with God, there are some things you will have to go through to reach further maturity and growth.

Here’s a list of 3 things you need to go through to become a mature Christian.

1. You Will Need to Walk Through Your Doubts.

As kids, if your mom said to do something, and you asked “why?” - she would answer “Because I said so.” As teens, that didn’t work out so well. We wanted to know the reasons behind the commands. Similarly, the same thing happens as we mature in our faith. We want to know why or how. Why did my husband leave me? How was the earth created? Why do I have it so hard compared to everyone else? Why would God let this happen to me if he loves me so much?

Doubts and questions help our faith grow stronger if we’re willing to search for the answers.

These questions are hard to answer. But, I would argue that they can help our faith grow stronger if we’re willing to search for the answers. So next time you are feeling those questions of “why or how?” Press in. Don’t ignore them. Ask God “why?”. Ask God “how?”. Do your research and try your best to figure it out.

While you’re doing this, keep in mind you’re in good company with some Old Testament people: Habbakuk and Job. They wrestled with questions of whether or not God was good -- and they had the guts to ask him.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Habakkuk 11:2

2. Discover The Style That Works For You.

When you look back at your 6th grade yearbook photo, I’m sure you’ve thought: why did I think that looked good? The answer? You were figuring out what your style was. Similarly, in your walk with God, you need to find out what your preference is for spending time with Him. You can, like fashion, look at someone else’s relationship with God and learn. But you need to find out what works for you.

Making your faith your own is a critical step in your journey.

Making your faith your own is a critical step in your journey. So how do you do this? How does your time with God look? Do you read the Bible first then journal? Or go on a walk and pray? Do you meditate on the Bible with soft music behind you? What are some of your favorite worship songs? Do you take time each month to spend a few hours - just you and God? Whatever it is, you need to find out your rhythm and how to strengthen your own relationship with God. You need to figure out how to feed yourself, not relying on everyone around you.

So often, we compare spiritual journey with others. And we either feel inferior because ours isn't as supernatural, regular or impacting as others or we feel superior, looking down on others for not being active enough or orthodox enough.

Find what works for you! One helpful tool is the spiritual pathways. Check out this resource for more info.

I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. John 15:15

3. Plan Your Post-Graduation.

In high school, you were constantly asking, “What are your plans after high school? Are you going to college? Going to trade school? Starting your own business?” Everyone is pressured in high school to figure out what they’re doing with their lives.

So, you’ve been a Christian for a few years. Now what? How do you keep challenging yourself and growing in your faith? Do you feel like you should lead a small group? Ask your group leader if you can start to shadow them. Do you want to disciple someone? Ask someone to disciple you first. Want to go deeper in your Bible study? Take a class online with a Bible college. Take your next step in leading others in the faith.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

As you take these steps, we'd love to help you on your journey. If you have questions or are looking to connect with a community of people in your faith, you are more than welcome to join one of our Anchor Groups here.

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