You are turning 13.

No longer a child, not yet an adult, but between ages… a Teenager!

Negotiating these turbulent years can be daunting both for you and everyone around you. But it doesn’t have to be that way… if you consider some of the following:

1. Your best friend to help you.

First and foremost, your closest friend during these years will be Jesus. But, you may not know Jesus… that’s okay… He loves you and knows you very well. Give yourself the opportunity to know Him personally (here’s how).

Now, whether you know Jesus, or not, the next best friend is…wait for it… your Mum and Dad! They are the ones who have raised you this far…through their love for you and their desire for you to be the best you can be. Your parent’s role is dedicated to prepare you to be an awesome and responsible adult.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:1-3

By the way, if you are in a Single Parent family, primarily listen to the parent you are living with daily. Their task is all the more harder as they have to be both Mum and Dad to you.

So what does it mean to listen to your parent/s? It starts with doing as you are told, then it begins to change to doing what you are asked, and then eventually you are doing because you want to.

2. Changes to expect.

You are entering the greatest season of change in your life.You change physically, mentally and spiritually.

You will begin to discover changes to your body, sexuality, feelings and emotions. You won’t understand these at first…but you will eventually.  Looking to your school friends for answers is not always successful as they too are only discovering these things themselves and may not have the maturity to fill you in on the whole picture. The key here is being able to talk with someone mature and in whom you can trust.

Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.
Psalms 86:4-7

And remember too, and even though it may seem awkward to talk about, this is also a good time to be open and honest with your Mum or Dad. They will try and help you understand it all.

3. School.

School is only for about another 5 more years… but your career will span 50+ years!  Think of school as a place preparing you for your career. Teachers are there to help you do just that.

“Students are not above their teacher, nor servants above their master.  It is enough for students to be like their teacher, and servants like their master.
Matthew 10:24,25

Not only do you gain knowledge at an academic level (e.g. language, maths, sciences, etc) you also learn how to meet, understand and get on with other people. Developing people skills and relationships is a great skill to learn…it lasts a lifetime. That is what the school years are for.

Now, while you are at school, it is good to have many friends who are both boy-friends and girl-friends. Some will remain lifetime friends. But it can be extremely distracting, and detrimental to your academic education, if you dedicate yourself exclusively to just one other person where they become known as your girlfriend or boyfriend. You will have plenty of time to pursue this pleasurable experience after your school years.

Therefore, respect your teachers, listen carefully, study more than you want to, make friends, remember why you are at school, and the reward will be yours to enjoy for the rest of your life!

4. Peer Pressure.

As you try to fit in with your friends, there will be times when they will pressure you to do things, or to say things, that you won’t want to do or say. Not doing what they ask may threaten to destroy your friendship. This is a powerful pressure! But, because you are growing towards maturity, remember this: You are an individual, with a mind of your own and an ability to make your own choices. But there will be times that it is good to have some help:

Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
Psalm 25:12

Be deliberate in your choices…don’t just do things because everyone else is doing it. Whatever you do, choose to do it because you want to do it and not because you were pressured into doing it…no matter what ‘it’ is.

5. Growing in confidence.

You will begin to grow in confidence. But confidence, without wisdom, is what will get you into trouble. The biggest thing to control is your mouth.

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.
Proverbs 20:19

There are a couple sayings that you may hear and dismiss…but do consider them:

(a) “God gave you 2 ears, 2 eyes and just 1 mouth; use them in the same proportion.” Observe and Listen more than you Speak. You will learn twice as quick and twice as much. And when you do speak, remember to ask questions. Then Observe and Listen again!

(b) “Ensure Brain is Engaged before you Mouth is put into gear.” Think before you speak…this will be very hard! But that is wisdom.

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

You will come across many things that will be scary. You will be asked to do things that you may not think you are capable of doing. It would be easier to refuse to try.

Just think of when you were a baby being fed just milk. One day, you got a spoonful of ‘solid’ food… you probably screwed up your nose and spat it out. But mum knew best and you got another spoonful… the sooner you accepted that, the world of food was opened up to you. Now you have a heap of favorite foods you just love.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”   Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:27-31

Remember to always have a go. It is better to have tried and failed, than to go through life without trying anything and missing out on everything!

7. No one has all the answers.

While no one has all the answers, you can learn from those who have gone before you. Older people you may know, meet, or read. The things I have mentioned above are by no means a comprehensive list…I could tell you lots more… but it is a start for you.

If you really want to learn some wisdom in a written form, you could start well by reading the small Book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible. Here is a Free Online Bible you can download, or you can read online, starting here at Chapter 1 of Proverbs.

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:   for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—  let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—  for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
Proverbs 1:1-6

But I am absolutely confident that the rest you will work out along the way… and THAT is exciting.

Happy 13th Birthday! Enjoy…and welcome to the Teenage Years.