Spending time alone with God changes perspective. Your teen battles so many influences each day. Some are good, but some are not so good. Even the most confident teen will battle periods of low self-esteem or low self-worth. They are constantly facing judgment from the world, whether it is from friends, their teacher’s grade book, or on the athletic field.
Encourage your teen to find time to be with God and in His Word so that their “scoreboard” is the right one. Who does God say they are? What does He think of them? Because the enemy will speak untruths in their ear the minute they step out the front door, it’s important for them to get in the habit of coming back to God to be filled up with what is truth.
Rather than telling your teen this, share with them this is why you spend time with God. Bring in personal examples from your life where you feel insignificant or unworthy, and how reading what God says about you shifts your perspective. Share with him or her how you must do this daily, because those untruths hit you every day. Approaching your teen in this way will have more of an impact and create a longing for spending time with God rather than feeling pressured that they have to.
Don’t be frustrated, however, if nothing happens. Be patient and pray; God longs for your teen to spend time with Him more than you long for your teen to spend time with Him! Ask God to continue to “woo” your son or daughter. He hears your prayers.
Below are a few tips for helping your pre-teen or teen develop their own time with God.
1. Encourage your teen in making their quiet time “real.” Teens today are tired of anything fake. They are faced with pressures, worries, and fears that go beyond what this generation of adults has ever faced. Superficial, surface-y devotionals simply won’t meet their needs. They long for the hard truth, unexpurgated, because that’s what they face every day of their life. Come alongside your teen to help them figure out how to make their time with the Lord effective and purposeful, and time that will help them deal with the pressures of life.
2. Model quiet time with the Lord. Does your pre-teen or teen see you spending time with Jesus? If you aren’t spending time with the Lord, and your teen knows it, they will be quick to brush off your encouragement for them to spend time alone with God. If you don’t spend daily time with Jesus, start now.
3. Steer your pre-teen toward resources that will meet them where they are at. Keep in mind they live in a digital generation. If reading a devotional online will keep them focused and engaged, and if they will do that before reading a hard copy, that’s okay. There are amazing resources out there, including Good Morning Girls and Good Morning Guys—an amazing online Bible study where participants read through the Bible one chapter at a time.
I’m praying for you and your family. Helping your teen develop a personal devotional life is one of the best legacies you can leave, and one they will carry with them into adulthood. If I can be of help, know that I’m just an email away. We are in this together! I am praying for your child that God will be a source of strength and truth for him or her.