Over the summer, I met a lot of teenagers that like the idea of being 100% Catholic, but they are afraid that people will make fun of them for “being into God.” They told me that it’s easy to be a good Catholic at church or with their youth group, but once they get in their high school hallways, it’s too hard to be different. They don’t want to be mocked or criticized. Last week I talked about how to deal with this through prayer, but this week I want to go deeper about this fear of being rejected because of your Catholic faith.
So let’s talk about this statement: “They’ll make fun of me.” Is this fear of rejection valid?
- Who are they? I’m serious, who are they? Write down their names. If you can’t write down any specific individuals who combine to make “they”, then you are making up this “bad guy” to blame your fear on. It’s not their problem, it’s yours. If you can think of names, you’ll find that “they” are really just two or three people. Sometimes we give too much credit to our adversaries. So “they” aren’t as big and scary as you thought…
- So what if they do make fun on you? If being made fun of is the worst thing that can happen, then I say it’s worth a try. An angry mob isn’t going to chase you out of the village with torches and pitchforks. Nobody is kicking your dog. It hurts your feelings to be made fun of–no doubt–but let’s put this in perspective before we move forward. It’s just words. Not only that…
- Everybody gets made fun of. Nobody is spared from this juvenile ordeal. I know this seems impossible, but it’s true! WE ALL GET MADE FUN OF. Each and every person you pass in the halls of your school has been made fun of. You will get made fun of for not being popular, or you will get made fun of for being too popular. You get made fun of for making bad grades, or you will get made fun of for making good grades. You’re agreeing with me as you read this because you’ve seen this happen. So, if it’s understood that you’ll be mocked regardless of what you do, you have to ask yourself the question…
- What will you be made fun of for? I hope that if someone was going to make fun of me, it would at least be for something that mattered. When I was in high school, I felt like a shallow person when someone made fun of me for how I dressed. To me, that meant there was nothing else about me that stood out. If you get made fun of for being a Christian, at least you know others notice there is something different. Good job!
- Be bold! You know you want to. God instills a desire to be bold in every young person. It might be buried deep beneath anxiety, fear, or self-doubt, but the desire to be bold is always there. Unfortunately, many teenagers act out on this desire by being foolish. Some kids will drive recklessly, others will try drugs or drink heavily at a party. These acts of “courage” are misguided and stupid: you might end up killing yourself or others. This foolishness is not the “bold” you desire, or the “bold” that the world needs. We need to redefine what it means to be courageous.
- What would you do if you knew that nobody would make fun of you? Really, what would you do tomorrow if you had no fear of being mocked? Well, this is what you need to do! This is who you are supposed to become–someone without fear. If you don’t overcome your fear, then who will? It breaks my heart to think of all the things that never happened because someone was afraid of being mocked. Every generation needs bold individuals who push forward without fear.
So now you have to make a decision. Will you be bold, or will you shrink back in fear? There is no in between. This isn’t just an exercise of bravery, but an understanding of the love of God. People are hurting out there at your school, and God will work through us only if we are willing. Will you say yes?
Need more inspiration? Look up these verses in the Bible:
- “Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31: 6
- “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid?” Psalm 27: 1
- “My foes treat me harshly all the day; yes, many are my attackers. O Most High, when I am afraid, in you I place my trust.” Psalm 56: 3-4
- “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1: 7