Have you ever gone for a long walk to clear your head? It’s a common form of self-therapy, and those moments wandering about can be as refreshing as they are necessary for your emotional well-being. But sometimes we can become so absorbed in thought that we lose track of where we are going, suddenly finding ourselves lost in the middle of nowhere.
At one point or another, we’ve all felt lost on a path with an unknown destination. These moments may be few and far between, but it’s our experience and our faith that help us find our way back again. As adults, our past experiences provide alternative routes based on mental landmarks and terrain. For teenagers though, there are no stored memories and experiences to help navigate the situation. All is unfamiliar, uncertain territory.
To many teens, this uncertainty is the driving force behind anxious thoughts, behaviors and that all-too-familiar quandary of “Who am I, what am I doing here, and where do I belong?” But that’s OK. Feeling “lost” is one of the most common concerns in therapy. Problems arise, however, when questions like “Who am I?” and “What do I want to be?” become “Why bother?” and “What’s the point?”
Every journey needs a guiding light. Family, friends and mentors are strong influences that can help pull your teen in one direction or the other, but there’s one, often overlooked factor that has provided significant therapeutic relief for children, teens and adults who feel lost: faith.
In a society of countless challenges and distractions, faith can lay a sturdy foundation to handle uncertain perspectives. It calms the mind and reassures us when we need it most, directly fending off feelings of despair and disillusionment. When worldly worries and pressures are pouring down, faith provides a shield for the mentally and emotionally besieged.
According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” To a lost and confused teenager, faith provides emotional consistency, moral philosophy and belief in a larger purpose – all requirements for a mentally stable life. It’s a resource that can be tapped in moments of strife or weariness, granting strength and direction when we feel lost.
In Matthew: 17:20, Jesus heals a boy with a mental affliction. When asked by his disciples why he succeeded when they had failed, he responded, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, ‘Go from here to there,’ and it will go. There will be nothing that you cannot do.”
When we have faith, we have light in the darkness. We can see the path back home.