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paul@reapteam.org

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Teen Issues Tag

I have low self esteem from past comments made to me. I try not to let them bug me but I can’t help it. Do you have any advice?


Dear Friend,

Let me start by saying that you are not alone! As a counselor and youth minister, I have worked with hundreds of young people who feel awful about themselves. I am often shocked because on the outside they seem so happy and so confident. I recently talked with the Homecoming Queen of a local high school. She revealed to me that she has very low self-esteem and that her apparent happiness is “just a mask.” I was shocked! I mean this was the Homecoming Queen at a large high school…how could she not like herself?!?! I bring this up because I don’t want you feel badly about struggling with self-esteem. I think that many generally happy people are walking around wishing they could tell someone how they really feel. You should be proud of yourself for being open enough to share that with someone! That takes courage, which is an incredible gift!

Mask-Making Activity When students see the drama “Masks” on a REAP retreat, they often desire to take down their own masks and “get real”. In order to do so, they must first recognize areas in their life where masks are present. This activity is an opportunity...

We all struggle with the temptation to wear masks, and it’s a lifelong struggle. We face temptations regularly – often daily – to try to be someone we’re not. Whether we are just trying to fit in, attempting to hide our hurts with the “I’m fine” mask, or doing whatever it takes to make others like us, the struggle is real. But, since this temptation is common to all people, we are in good company!

I think you could even make a case that Jesus was tempted to wear masks; in the Bible it says that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but never sinned. So, even though Jesus experienced the temptation to be fake, He never was. He was Himself all of the time. And by looking to Him, we can find help and inspiration as we strive to be true to ourselves.

Those of us who have devoted our lives to helping God’s kids by serving in the fields of youth ministry and education can tend to feel overwhelmed most (if not all) of the time. Whether we are full-time, part-time, or volunteers, it’s demanding and tireless work.

And we spend so much time and energy dedicated to improving the lives of other people’s children that those of us with children of our own can sometimes wonder… what about my own kids? Am I giving them the attention that they need, or are they being unintentionally neglected because of the amount of time I spend in ministry?