An Open Letter to the Highschool Sophomore

Dear Sophomore,

I promise that highschool is not all that there is.

Even though school is getting hard, be diligent in your work. It will pay off in the end. Don’t put so much of your worth in your friendships. Keep striving after the Lord, even if that means facing rejection by the people that you call “friends.”

The future is now. The decisions that you make today will be the springboard for the rest of your life. Follow the Lord and listen to His guidance by listening to trusted believers around you. There are three main things that you should focus on in this year of life (and they should be in this order!):

First, focus supremely on God. You cannot just get by with your Sunday school answers anymore. You will probably start to have questions and doubts. Learn the Truth from God’s Word for yourself by consistently spending time with Him. Discover Who God is personally instead of simply accepting second-hand testimonies about Him. Give Him your time because He is worth it and He will change your life.

Second, focus on your family. They seem pretty annoying right now, but they are the people who will get you through the rest of your highschool years. Listen to your parents and grandparents. Respect them and become friends with them. Realize that your siblings and cousins are the closest friends that you will ever have, and work on fostering lifelong relationships with them. Remember that your family does not simply exist to serve you; in fact, you should be turning the tables and learning how to serve them.

Third, focus on your church, and the Church as a whole. Once you have allowed God and others to pour into your life, work on pouring yourself into ministry through your local church and other ministry opportunities in your community. Take some initiative, even if it means being the first teenage Sunday school teacher, worship leader, or even official church member! Help people realize that the teen years can be the best of your childhood if your focus is on serving God instead of serving yourself.

You’ll notice that I did not say “focus on your friends.” This is because you should not be putting too much stock in friendships, because they do not define your worth. Be kind to everyone, but only deeply invest in some. Seek to find friends that will build you up and push you to become a better Christian, but, if you cannot find those friends right now, be careful. No matter how lonely you feel, do not get deeply involved with people that will leave you feeling drained and hopeless. Minister to your friends, but do not allow them to influence you toward unwise decisions. Love them as Jesus would, but do not feel responsible for their poor decisions. You cannot save people; all you can do is show them the love of Jesus and allow God to finish the work.

In short, the word that should define your sophomore year is invest. Invest in your relationship with God, invest in your education, invest in your family, invest in your church, and (cautiously) invest in your friendships. Try not to just survive this second year of highschool; instead, try to thrive this year. Make good, God-honoring decisions now and you’ll never regret it.

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