Teenagers struggle with fulfillment. Somehow, as we transition from children to adults, we begin feeling this never-ending thirst for something. We don’t know what it is, but we certainly feel that it can be filled.
Some seek this fulfillment in family or a significant other in the hope that a relationship will fill this gap. Others seek fulfillment in sports, hoping that fame will cure their mysterious problem. Finally, others seek fulfillment in momentary pleasure, assuming that drugs or alcohol can fill a hole in their hearts.
After all, isn’t this what the world teaches us? That we can find fulfillment in pleasure, fame, and money?
I am a teenager. Yes, I confess I have the terrible malady known as “adolescence”. This malady has been both a blessing and a curse. In it, I have found growth and maturity far beyond what I could have imagined at the age of 12. But at the same time, I have found precisely what I just presented- a deep longing for something I cannot explain. It comes and goes in waves, usually during moments of nostalgia or loneliness, and it leaves me breathless. This past week and a half have, for various factors, given this to me on a number of occasions. Why?
This feeling, this longing for something more, comes and goes. Sometimes it is brought on by loneliness, and often it will appear in obscure situations. Teenagers, especially, receive this as they grow and mature into the relational creatures God created them to be. Adults, too, are susceptible to it, although they often label it as nostalgia.
Yet the world fails to call it for what it is. It isn’t a longing for pleasure or fame, but a longing for complete, sinless relationship. Because teenagers are basically old children with the bodies and feelings of adults, yet lacking the emotional relationship of a spouse (as most adults have), they feel this the most. I, personally, feel this “longing for love”, even now.
This is not, however, the love the world tells us. As Christians, we should yearn for the love of the Father, not for the love of others. God is the only being in existence to perfectly love. That is what the longing is for: perfect love found within perfect relationship.
We can, of course, be temporarily satisfied in human relationship. This often happens at the beginning of a relationship between two non believers. Yet after the honeymoon is over, things settle down, and an unbelieving couple will begin to go through rocky times in their relationship. Things aren’t rainbows and pop tarts anymore. Life has set in, and the temporary fulfillment begins to dissolve.
Beleving couples, on the other hand, will begin to experience this in the fullest. When focused properly, the relationship between a Christian man and a Christian woman is the second-greatest relationship known to man. Not only does it glorify God through testimony and example, but both of them will experience a growth in relationship with Christ.
My dad always described his relationship with my mom as “loving her through Christ”. This removes any ambiguity brought on by questions like, “do you love Christ more than her?” No, my father loves my mother as a mirror of Christ, and the same is true when the two are reversed.
So what, then, is the answer to our problem as teenagers? Is it to find fulfillment within a significant other, and thus hope to emulate your parents/role models in glorifying Christ?
Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “no”. Fulfillment to the heart’s desire of a teenager is not found within relationship at this stage. Relationships at that age are often harmful because of the rate at which we grow and mature. Our focus should instead be on Christ, the One who will guard our hearts and keep us moving in the right direction.
The answer is always found within Christ. Of course, the non-believing teenagers will roll their eyes and call me an idiot, but it’s true. Christ is the only thing to bring complete fulfillment, as those within Him will testify. When a teenager completely focuses their lives and very beings around Him, two things happen: their lives change and that inexplicable feeling of longing is reduced to mere ashes.
When a teenager completely focuses their lives and very beings around Him, two things happen: their lives change and that inexplicable feeling of longing is reduced to mere ashes.Tweet
Sadly, this feeling will not be completely eradicated until we are seated at the throne of Christ. Until our hearts are completely restored and purified of all sin, we cannot come fully to the Father. Our sinful nature keeps us from being truly fulfilled by Christ and the relationship with Him. Yet glory to God for his redeeming and everlasting love! With it, we can change in ways never dreamt.
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