"The Heat is All Around Me"
Written by: Kim Stairs
I’m feeling so pressured by all my friends at school. There are so many stupid decisions I have to make in a day. Do I wear my hair up or down? Will this red shirt make me look skinny enough? Should I wear pink lip gloss or clear? These are the questions I can ask my sister, Jenny (most of the time she just tells me to get out of her room). But what do I do when I can’t ask Jenny or mom because I’ll get grounded?
I’m not a little kid any more, so why does mom always baby me so much? Maggie and Bobby get to do whatever they want. But mom says I have to be older to do some of the things my friends are. This is so not fair. Jenny’s not even 2 years older than me. She asks mom to go to the mall with her friends, Shannon and Jessica, and they go for hours.
I know Pastor Tony would have some good ideas for me. I like seeing him at youth group each week. But my friends at school don’t go to church. They don’t understand why mom won’t let me have a MySpace page or why I don’t want to play games that are rated Mature on the PS2. But that’s just the beginning. At lunch the other day I heard Scotty and Jimmy talking about smoking. I guess Jimmy’s older brother buys beer a lot too, and they’ve been sneaking it while Scotty’s at work.
But what I really don’t understand is why so many of the girls in school are hooking up with so many different boys. At the other middle school there is a girl who is pregnant and she’s only thirteen.
Tonight I think I’ll spend some time trying to pray about all this. Pastor Tony said,“God never leaves us.” So I guess if I pray God will hear me. Pastor Tony also says that,“You can talk to God like He’s your best friend, and that He’ll answer you.”
I finished school and then had volley ball practice. Mom was home early and we had dinner at the table. It was pretty quiet except for Jenny talking to Jessica on her cell phone. Until Mom interrupted and told Jenny to get off the phone or lose it for a week. Mom asked, “How was school today honey?” “It was ok. I have a lot of homework for math.” I replied. “And how was practice today?” Mom always asks questions at dinner to check up on us. So I told her all about practice and finished my dinner. After doing all my math homework, I got ready for bed and began my prayer.
“God, I have some questions I need help with. I’m trying to be a good Christian but so many kids at school and some of my friends are asking me to do things I’m not sure about. And I really don’t know how to tell them that I shouldn’t be doing those things anymore. Can you help me with these decisions?”
I got up, pulled my covers back and closed my eyes. I began to think about youth group and a story Kara shared from the Bible in our small group a couple of months ago.
“Who remembers the three guys who got thrown into the furnace?” she asked. Only a couple of kids had heard of the story. Kara continued,“Meshach,Shad rack,and Abednego heard the king was commanding everyone to bow down to his god whom he had made into a giant statue. But not these three boys, even after being threatened to be thrown into a furnace, they stood up for what they believed in. After being thrown into the furnace, the king was told that a fourth man had shown up inside it. And that Meshach, Shad rack, and Abednego had no burn marks on their body’s or clothing. The king then released the men and worshipped their God.”
Then Kara asked us to share with the group any of the peer pressure we’ve been facing at school. I sat quietly as a couple of other girls new to youth group shared some of their struggles.
Mandy shyly spoke, “It’s so easy to go into a store and want to put something in your pocket. I’ve seen my friends do it a bunch of times.” Heather added, “My boyfriend wants me to watch videos on the computer that I feel uncomfortable watching, but I’ve looked a couple of times.” Mandy spoke again, “No one ever gets caught.” Kara asked, “If doing some of these things are no big deal, tell me what it feels like afterwards when you are alone.” More of the kids spoke up:
“I hope I don’t get caught.”
“Pastor Tony would not be happy if I told him what I just did.”
“God I’m so sorry. I won’t do it again.”
“I really screwed up. God I’m not a good Christian anymore.”
“My friend’s think that was so cool but I feel so guilty.”
Kara finished group with a prayer and we went back into the sanctuary to hear the rest of Pastor Tony’s teaching: “Even if you never tell anyone how you feel inside, God sees what is inside your heart. He knows what you’ve been up to no matter how good you can hide it from your parents. God loves you so much, and He understands that even children are faced with temptations. You know those tough choices that can lead us to sin. That is why God spoke to us in the Bible. God’s Word helps to guide us in times of need. You are his child. God did not take the boys out of the furnace, but He was there with them. He will also be with you when you are asked to go along with the crowd whether that is one friend or a whole party of them.”
Tony continued: “This time in your life is special. You get a little more freedom and you’re learning to express yourself in new ways. You have talents and gifts that are starting to emerge. But on the way to adult hood, are many years that can be filled with misery, and regret. If you have made poor decisions and compromised what you believe in, God is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins. All you need to do is ask Him to forgive you…”
As we left youth group that night we were each given a hand out with Bible verses on lots of situations we may be thinking about doing. It was like a work sheet for the week. I sat up for a moment. Turned on my lamp and got out of bed.
I quietly flipped through my church hand outs that we’d been given. After about five minutes I found it in the middle of the pile. I glanced over the page.
These are just a few examples of verses you can find in the Bible. Take these verses and make them your own. Insert your name whenever you can. On the back, make a list of other decisions you’ve been tempted to do and search the Bible for Scriptures that will help you make righteous choices.
“Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit lives in you and is a gift from God. Your body is on longer your own. God paid a great price for you. Use your body to honor God.” 1 Cor.6:19-20
2.Obeying your parents-
“Children, you belong to the Lord, and you do the right thing when you obey your parents.” Eph.6:1
3.Dating, touching, kissing, etc-
“Keep (guard) your heart with all diligence…” Prov.4:23 (paraphrased)
“Don’t be immoral in matters of sex. That is a sin against your own body in a way that no other sin is” 1 Cor.6:18
5.Music, Movies, Internet, TV- “Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure, and pleasing…Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think…”Rom.12:1-2
Remember, God makes a way out of every temptation *(insert Scripture). Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher, your parents, or one of your group leaders to help you find more verses. It also helps to memorize verses.
The second part of the hand out:
Love your life as a light to the world that will show the love of Jesus. Show your friends that Jesus is alive and living in you. Don’t be afraid to take a stand now at 10-14 years old. As you get older, the choices get harder, the sins get stronger, but God’s love endures forever.
Remember, He loves you and you could never mess up bad enough for Him to stop loving you or forgive you.
Just a few tips to help you with your friends:
•Invite them to church.
•Have them come to your house instead.
•Only watch and listen to PG 13 and under movies, shows, internet, and music.
•Ask your parents if you can use them as the reason you can’t go with friends to a party or group thing that may get you into trouble.
•Have a Bible study with your friends.
•Pray for you friends at school.
•Don’t be afraid to stand for Jesus Christ.
You have a life to life. This is your time. Use it wisely. Remember you are loved, Pastor Tony and the gang.
Wow. God really is here with me. I’m so glad the Holy Spirit reminded me about that teaching. “Thank you Lord. You you're totally awesome!”
I woke up pretty happy. After Jenny took her hour in the bathroom getting beautified, I finally got in there and got myself ready to go. Grabbed breakfast and ran out the door to the bus. I only took about twenty minutes to look at Pastor Tony’s hand out, but I put it in my back pack just to peek at it if I needed it. And I think tonight I will talk to my mom about what’s going on. But right now, I got to turn in my math homework…