It can be heartbreaking when a teen daughter doesn’t seem to cherish faith the way you raised her to. For someone we care about so much to reject something so special to us can be jarring.
Faith can be a complicated subject. God reaches out to all of us in different ways and at different times. However, there are also patterns that we’ve seen that support a teen’s quest for faith and understanding. Here are some ways that, as a parent, you can help your teenager rediscover her path to God.
- Admit to vulnerability. Although it can be difficult to admit to moments of uncertainty, it’s important to remember that faith is inherently vulnerable. Sociologist Brene Brown points out that without vulnerability, faith turns into religious extremism. If we pretend to be sure of God’s plan all the time, it can isolate others. They might wonder why they don’t have the same sanguine certainty that you do, or they might feel completely unconnected with your version of faith. When we admit to not understanding everything, it opens up a vulnerable space where we can have honest conversations. Even better, it can open up a space where God can answer our questions, fears, and doubts. In your conversations about faith,, admit to moments of doubt, struggle and uncertainty.
- Point out when you feel close to God. Recognizing the hand of God in our lives can be a learning process. Sometimes it takes a whole lifetime to understand the message that God has for you. You can help to guide your teen by pointing out times when you feel close to God and you feel like He’s answering your prayers and hushing your fears. Reflect the joy and assurance that comes when you feel a confirmation of your faith.
- Focus on the things that matter. Speaking of feeling close to God, that’s always a lot easier to do when you’re conducting your life in a manner that keeps you close to His love. Focus on things that are truly important instead of getting distracted by vain things of the world. You can do this by taking time each day to serve others, spending time with your family, reading the Bible, and devoting yourself to prayer. Lead by example and encourage your teen to join you in activities that draw you closer to God as a family.
- Remember that some things take time. Don’t be discouraged by the moments that your teen rolls her eyes at your words. There are times when sharing messages with your teen feels akin to talking at a brick wall. More than you think is getting through. Persist with patience and forgiveness, just as God does with each of us.