Surviving 16 Successfully
It’s me again, here to finish up the last half of the 16 words of wisdom I wish I/you would have known when I was your age.
Bottom line, I want you to be encouraged! You can survive 16 successfully. And you will.
I’m living testament to that.
You act on this wisdom and you will not only survive, you will thrive!
#9: Looking down on people in cliques is just as bad as people in cliques looking down on people not in cliques.
I know. It absolutely sucks to be judged, but you do it as much as anyone I know. So brush off the opinions of others. Especially people who don’t really know you. Most of whom you won’t even remember when you’re my age.
Oh, and stop judging others as well.
In fact, without realizing it, in keeping outsiders out of their squad (that’s what the kids will call a clique when you reach your 40s) members of the “in crowd” will unwittingly develop relational habits which will intensify their own feelings of loneliness. So don’t be jealous of of the cool kids. Be more like Jesus toward them.
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. – Luke 6:27-38
#10: Seek faithfulness more than fame. In fact don’t seek fame at all.
Now here’s a place where you are truly ahead of your time. Because everyone wants to be a rock start today. 26% of teens, to be exact.
They call it going viral now. Which probably doesn’t sound very good to you, and that’s apropos, because fame doesn’t seem very good for most people. Particularly those who attain it when they’re a young buck like yourself.
This is largely due to the fame fallacy where everyone knows your name, but no one knows you.
Long story short: you don’t need to be known by millions to matter.
You only need to be known by the important people in your life, beginning with the God who already knew you before you were born.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! – Psalm 139:15-17
#11: Rejection is as much a part of life as using the bathroom.
- Not getting invited to the parties (you wouldn’t even want to go to anyway)
- Not getting any listeners to your Christian rock radio show, or…
- Not getting girls to go out with you..
Rejection is just a reality you need to learn to deal with.
So stop taking it personally! Look at the lives of dudes in the Bible like Moses, David, or Jeremiah. The rejection of man is nothing. But speaking of those girls not going out with you…
#12: The two girls who won’t go out with you will be doing you a huge favor.
Of course, no guy likes to hear the words, “I’d really rather just be friends,” but hearing those words sooner rather than later is always preferable.
Truth is, you should thank these girls. They will save you much time, money, and emotional energy. And it will make your college dating life all the more enjoyable. (Yes, you will have one! Many girls in college will say, “Yes!”)
#13: It’s simple math. 16 is too early for a girlfriend.
I know you hate math. (I’m you, remember?) However, I believe you’ll be able to follow me here.
In the 80s (when you turn 16), the average age when men get married for the first time is about 25, which is way better than it is today, when it’s almost 30. But even if you manage to get married at 22, right out of college, you would still have to wait six years to marry any girl you started dating right now at 16.
Six years is an incredibly long time to nurture a romantic relationship without falling into sexual sin.
It’s possible, but with you and your libido, it’s unlikely. Highly unlikely.
In fact, this is probably why the one book of the Bible dedicated to celebrating romantic/sexual love says not once, not twice, but three times:
“Do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” – Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, 8:4
And that’s the best case scenario. Odds are you’ll break up, because few teenagers are ready to grow a healthy committed relationship. Then every broken relationship entered into prematurely will only add to the baggage you’ll carry with you into marriage. Even if you wind up staying sexually pure.
So keep things platonic, and learn how to better relate to and encourage the lady friends in your life. Oh, and speaking of “relating” to your lady friends…
#14: PLEASE STOP FLIRTING!
Goodness gracious, some people flirt for fun, others for darker reasons, but you my friend, have turned it into a lifestyle.
I love you, but just stop.
Cease and desist.
It’s really not cute. It’s really not harmless.
It’s insincere, it’s annoying, and it makes you look pathetic.
Oh! And it’s also fueling your fantasy life.
As if you didn’t already have enough fuel for that fire. (See #15)
#15: Stop putting yourself in situations where you can get to pornography.
I’m going to make it real simple for you: you are feeding an appetite which can only be satiated in the Land of Make-Believe. Which is to say, it can never be satiated. Ever.
You think, you’re daydreaming about how things will be in marriage, but pornography is fantasy. Whereas marriage is real. Not even the supermodels look as amazing in real life. Certainly not at home sans makeup.
Further, even if you could marry a supermodel, her “perfect” body will never be able to satisfy you, because it will lack one of the main qualities porn has trained your brain to seek: variety.
So don’t believe yourself when you say, “I’ll never do that again.”
Put boundaries in place so that you can’t do it again. And have a good friend like Kevin hold you accountable and pray for your victory.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:7-8
These measures could keep you from renewing your porn habit after your married. You have to defeat this demon sometime. Now is the time!
#16: Stop watching TV by yourself late at night.
OK, so you don’t have cable, because your parent’s are cheap.
Praise God for cheap parents, because you can’t get to really bad stuff that probably would have turned you into a sex addict. But you can still watch stuff that takes you nowhere good. So consider carefully Jesus’ warning here:
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. – Luke 11:34-35
Bottom line: few good decisions get made late at night in front of a screen.
Hope you’ll take this advice to heart, because it’s from my heart. Which is your heart. And it’s also from God’s heart who made our hearts… I mean heart. We only get one.
Oh, and happy birthday!
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!