Tag Archives: Face Time

What Teen Boys Battle Just like the Girls (and Adults too!)

In 2015 I conducted an online anonymous teen survey that spread nationwide. I created the survey after learning how social media had negatively contributed to my own daughter’s sense of worth and belief that if she was struggling so many other teenagers must be too. I was right. This data collected is the backbone of my new book.

The original survey went to both girls and boys, but after talking to my publisher about the heart-breaking and eye-opening information filling my inbox we decided to hone in on just the girls. But it absolutely does not mean teen boys are not also struggling. They are… maybe even more unnoticed.

Everything I wrote in Face Time is everything boys need to hear too. I know that from the survey results, and more personally because I have two teenage boys.  Therefore, I felt like I needed to write this post to say that while Face Time is for girls it does not mean boys are immune to struggles with identity and worth. In fact, the content of Part I of Face Time is as applicable to a teen boy, as a teen girl or an adult man or woman. This is because no matter who we are, our hearts are the same!

By God’s design we long for approval, acceptance and love. But we were made to know and feel our worth perfectly in his absolute approval, irrevocable acceptance and loyal love.  But we think his approval, acceptance and love is not enough. So instead of resting secure in who Jesus is for us, we try to secure our worth by gaining the approval, acceptance, attention and love of others.

We do this by looking to our appearance, performance, achievements and status as the qualifier for how well, or how poorly we fair. For a teen boy it may play out like this…

  • He feels inadequate not playing on the “A” team or varsity so he tries to prove his worth and gain the acceptance of others by bragging about how good he really is. The may be coupled with how unfair tryouts were and by talking smack about the guy in the position he covets. By tearing the other guy down he seeks to elevate himself so others accept him; think more highly of him.
  • He is insecure about some aspect of his appearance, so he overcompensates by acting as the class clown. But by drawing attention to himself and receiving laughs what he seeks is to know his worth. To know he’s okay despite his perceived flaws.
  • He is excluded from a social gathering, and retreats into himself, secretly feeling like a nobody. He may blame the others (and there is no doubt kids can be mean), but his own idol is looking to the approval or inclusion of others as the basis of his worth.
  • He gives into peer pressure -starts drinking, smoking pot, having sex – in an effort to look/be cool or to fit in.  Appearing cool, or rebellious, gains him the approval, friends and popularity he craves, which is where he looks to find his identity and worth.
  • He asks for nude pictures from a girl and then shares them in the locker room. Because of the so-called respect he gets from the guys, he too feels cool. At the girl’s expense, his own status and felt worth is increased. On the flip-side her reason for sharing the pictures also stem from a longing for approval and love, which is unpacked further in Face Time.

As parents we can’t take everything at face value. We have to get to the heart (the root) of why they do what they do, and see it for what it is – the idol that’s ruling them.  Whatever it is they (or we) turn to for identity and worth, to fill us, to give us security apart from God is an idol. Uncovering these idols and seeing them as sin is hard, but necessary and good.

Until our kids (and again, us) see how deeply entrenched our sin is – that it’s not just bad external behavior, but our inner desires, motives and idolatry – we miss seeing how deep our need of Jesus’ worth and work for us really is. Therefore, our view of Jesus rises and falls on how much (or little) we need him.

I don’t know about you, but more than my sons’ happiness and success, I want them to become men who know they need Jesus, live under his smile and desire to please him not out of duty, but delightTo get there, my job must be to help them peel back the layers of why they do what they do to see what rules them. And then point them to Jesus.

It is his perfect performance – not theirs – that their true identity must be rooted in.  When it is:  They won’t have to try to assert, defend or prove themselves, work to impress others or try harder to measure up. They won’t have to live threatened by others’ accomplishments or less than in comparison. And while they will experience disappointment, hurt feelings and rejection (just as teen girls do) my prayer is it won’t define them or rock their core because they will know their secure identity and worth in Christ.

For us as parents, being rooted in Christ means we can live free of tying our worth to our kids successes and/or failures and worrying what other people think. We can live loved – fully accepted, knowing we have the absolute approval of the King. And when we do, may his love and acceptance of us drive us to be compassionate toward others in their sin.  For our kids too, let’s encourage them to reach out to love (not ostracize and judge) those seeking an identity in all the wrong places. Because when we know our own sinful heart tendencies and God’s goodness to us despite it, we should be people of grace and mercy who speak to the hope and security found only in Christ.

If you woud like to further unpack the content of this blog for yourself and to help speak into your kids's hearts, Face Time may be the book for you (even if you don't have a teen daughter). To preorder click: here.

Launch Time for Face Time!

In just SIX weeks from today I will give birth to my second book baby!! (Coincidentally the same day of May I gave birth to my second child!) And just as my subsequent pregnancies seemed to go much faster than the first one, so has the process leading up to this book launch. But what isn’t any different no matter what number child (or book) is the reality of needing help! And I do!

No laughing! Clearly pregnant women have much better style now, but I do like the Face Time orange!

Before you decide though how you can help (or if you will help) let me tell you why this book for teen girls should matter to you even if you don’t have a teenage girl.  Because whether or not you have teenage kids, little kids, grown kids or no kids, what’s happening in the selfie world of teens is an effect of our culture and is also affecting our culture. Therefore, none of us are not being shaped by the selfie world in which we live.

But, the real problem is not this world, it’s that we are turning to the created thing instead of the Creator to give us what only God can. We are turning inward to self, thinking our appearance or our performance determines our worth. We buy into the lie that how pretty, skinny, smart, successful, popular, powerful, wealthy is what gives us value… but even that’s not enough, we need everyone else to notice. Without others’ affirmation, acceptance and love we crumble under the pressure of trying to measure up and thinking we aren’t enough.

What this looks like for teens (and adults) is seeking after Instagram “likes” and comments, starving and/or abusing our bodies, pretending to be okay but secretly falling apart, tearing others down, giving into peer pressure out of fear of others’ opinions, forgoing boundaries, turning friendships into competition and on and on. And apart from the intervening worth and work of a Savior we will continue down paths of destruction and emptiness.

But Jesus incarnate changes everything. Who he is for us is who we are. He is our true identity.  There is a disconnect though in getting this and seeing how the story of the Bible is what helps us understand our condition (we are all in the same boat!) and brings us the hope and wholeness we long for.

In a very practical way and with narrative fictional, but realistic stories, Face Time speaks to the hearts of girls,  But I’m telling you, I need to hear the same truths because the root problem is our hearts, which are all the same. So the only way any of us will ever lay aside the false ways we seek to find worth and rest secure in Christ is to see our condition for what it is and then look full in his wonderful face.

Face Time matters for our girls, and for the rest of us. I hope you want to read more and I hope you will help me spread the word because like I said I can’t do it alone. It takes a village. Preview a sample of the book here.

 *******To read more about/sign up for the Book Launch Team please click the link here.*******

Face Time comes out May 29th. You can preorder it now: here.

Live Like You’re Loved

I have fun news:) Last week I finished securing endorsements for my new book. I will be sharing all of those in the near future, but there is one I want to tell you about today. First as a quick side note, I’m thankful this part of the publishing process is complete. It is not easy asking well-known authors, pastors and other celebrities – who are mostly strangers – to take time out of their busy schedules to read a manuscript and offer an endorsement! So someone saying “yes” brings much relief and excitement.

If you listen to Christain radio you have likely heard “Live Like Your Loved” – the Hawk Nelson song holding steady on the Top 40 Christian music charts right now.  Well, I’m happy to report lead singer Jonathan Steingard is one of those who said “yes!”

One day a month or so ago I was in my car, not paying any attention to the radio, as I was consumed thinking about the whole endorsement thing hanging over my head. Then all of the sudden the “Live Like Your Loved” chorus broke through my thoughts and I began listening closer to the lyrics… 

You’re  not the only one who feels like this
.Feelin’ like you lose more than you win.Like life is just an endless hill you climb.You try and try, but never arrive.I’m tellin’ you somethin’- 
This racing, this running
Oh, you’re working way too hard!And this perfection you’re chasingIs just energy wastedCause He love’s you like you are!So go ahead and live like you’re loved.
It’s okay to act like you’ve been set free.
His love has made you more than enoughSo go ahead and be who He made you to be

And live like you’re loved…” Hawk Nelson

This is it! This is my book in a nutshell! This guy gets it and this is the message I want girls to get. So I added Hawk Nelson to my mental list of prospects and later emailed. To my pleasant surprise, Jonathan was willing to take a look and after reading through, here is his quote to be included in the front of the book:

Our sense of identity guides the many conscious and unconscious decisions we make. It’s the lens through which we see the world. So it shouldn’t be a shock that when our sense of identity becomes unhealthy, our life has a tendency to follow. Each chapter of Face Time gives us an insight into a specific lie that can infiltrate our identity and damage our sense of self. When we are able to root out these lies and get to the truth that lies beneath, we are on the path to a happier, healthier life.”

Root out the lies and replace them with truth is just what Face Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World will walk girls through! I’m so excited and can’t wait to get it in their hands. This whole living loved concept is what I’ve also been reading about in Lysa TerKeurst Uninvited book. If only we could all get it!

My hope with Face Time is teen and college girls struggling with comparison, believing they fail to measure up and fall short of perfection, or feeling less than and worthless will learn to rest in who they are in Christ because of who Christ is for them. I say it often, but theology matters and how we interpret the one story of the Bible does too. We must see it’s all about Christ’s worth and work for us – what he did, not what we must do.

His love for us is seen at the cross – we talk about that – but as equally important is the fact Jesus came to our world to accomplish for us what we could never do. He came to live – to live the perfect, sinless life for us. And because he did upon our salvation his perfect record becomes ours. This is justification; being declared right! Being made right. Being viewed as righteous!

Jesus went to the cross and declared “It is finished” before acsending into heaven and sitting down at the right-hand of God because he knew he had completed everything necessary to secure for all time God’s unwavering love for his children. 

For our girls and for all of us, this means instead of the hurts, the comparisons, the rejections, and the feeling like we aren’t enough ruling our self-talk and dictating our actions we can stand secure in who we are because of who Jesus is for us. The identity we long for—to be accepted, included, loved, and significant— is already ours in Christ. This now becomes the gospel lenses for seeing ourselves rightly.

Seeing ourselves through the lenses of Christ, frees us from the bondage of what other people think about us, what dress size we wear or the label we wear, how many “friends” we have on Instagram or whether we had plans on Friday night. All these things we think define us leaves us grasping for more, but in Christ – when we live in his love – we live free! 

And live like you know you’re valuable
Like you know the one that holds your soul
Cause mercy has called you by your name
Don’t be afraid to live in that grace

I’m tellin’ you somethin’
This God we believe in
Yeah, He changed everything
No more guilt! No more shame!
He took all that away
Gave us a reason to sing

So go ahead and live like you’re loved
It’s okay to act like you’ve been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who He made you to be”

Live like you’re loved, walk like your free!

Face Time is now available for PRE-ORDER here. I hope you’ll reserve your copy, spread the word and join the launch team soon!