The Best Advice I Have Ever Given to My Teenage Daughter

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Life is hard. Period. Sometimes things just suck. As a Christian, I believe that these times in our lives serve an important purpose: to draw us closer to God. Some think this is illogical. Why wouldn’t God make my life perfect with rainbows and unicorns if He loved me so much? My answer is that growth comes from adversity. You can’t grow into the person God has intended you to be without a few hard lessons, bumps and bruises along the way. You learn to ride a bike by falling off and scraping you knees just as you learn who you can trust and who you can’t by either having a secret well-kept or well, not so much.

One thing about having offspring is that sometimes they turn out just like you. Case in point: my daughter Emily. She has this amazingly beautiful soul but she feels things very deeply and personally…not such a bad thing in and of itself, but when it comes to those she cares about her heart is an open book.

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I am blessed to have a wonderful, personal relationship with all of my children where we can plop down with some popcorn and chat for hours about anything and everything. They talk with me about new Lego creation ideas, story lines for their latest work, silly school “you are NOT going to believe what happened today” events, as well as things that bring a few tears. During one of my latest talks with my eldest, I gave her this advice. I think it applies to everyone, not just teens, so I decided to share it with each of you as well.

It is really very simple: Don’t internalize other people’s drama.

Yep. That’s it.

You see, as I mentioned earlier, we all have our crap. We all have our crosses to bear, our rows to hoe, our burdens in life. And we never really, truly know what someone else is going through. It’s great to be compassionate and empathetic to someone else’s plight, but when it starts to affect us in a negative way it’s time to take a step back and try a more positive approach. I told my daughter to do what she can to make a positive impact on the people she chooses to surround herself with and pray about everything else. If her friends are struggling, I know she will be there to lend an ear or be a shoulder to cry on, but it’s also important for her to know that she can’t “fix” everything for people. This is where she can take other’s burdens and lay them at the feet of Christ and let Him decide how to proceed. He knows their story better than we do…He wrote it! We can pray for positive intercession and that will make all the difference in the world.

This is a really tough lesson for teens, especially those who maybe don’t know Christ. It’s also a tough lesson for me as an adult to remember sometimes. We can’t take on other people’s troubles to our detriment, but we can pray for peace and understanding, healing and happiness.

It only takes a few seconds to change the world…one silent prayer at a time.

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