Why Teens Must Do Hard Things–The Brain
Written by Eden Detwiler, age 14.
100 billion. That’s a big number. As teenagers, we rarely think of a number that huge. Trust me, a million is a lot for my mind to grasp.
Thankfully, we have a God who loves big numbers.
One fact I learned recently is that we have 100 billion neurons in our brain and 100-1,000 trillion synapses.
While this might seem like some fancy fact you learned in science class, this statement is actually proof of why teenagers must do hard things.
The Creator’s Design
God has amazingly created your brain. Hands down, it is one of the most extraordinary and astounding things to learn about. It is even more mind-blowing that He’s shared this information with us!
The psalmist overflowed with praise for God’s design in Psalm 139:13, “For You formed my inward parts, You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
The psalmist understood that God made you fearfully and wonderfully—and that includes your brain.
When we are teenagers, our brain is developing into our adult brain more than at any other time in life. Our brain will always be changing but the teen years are the most formative! Everything we do makes a connection in our brain called synapses. Things we do all the time, like reading and writing, produce synapses that are really strong! Other connections, for tasks you don’t do that often, are weak.
God designed your brain to form all these billions and trillions of connections for a purpose—that you glorify God and love Him with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).
One of my favorite verses is Romans 12:2 which says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And yet, I didn’t know how literal this is!
As teenagers, we’re given the responsibility to shape our brains for our adulthood. We have the opportunity to ‘renew our minds’ by saturating ourselves with God’s truth. We can make it our goal to use His Word to divide the truth from the lies. We can either maximize our time as teenagers by forming godly mind-connections now, or we can work hard later to weed out the lies we let ourselves believe.
Imagine your brain as a garden. You are planting seeds and pulling weeds for your future adult brain. Trust me, the good seeds you plant will produce a thousand fold. But if you allow the weeds to grow, they will dominate your garden overtime. Talk to your grandparents and parents. They will tell you it’s harder to learn and remember the older you get. Take advantage of how malleable your brain is now! You don’t get this time back! It’s a glorious, God-given time.
The Brain of Culture
We’re always being influenced. Perhaps one of the greatest influences for teens today is our culture. How does culture influence us? Well, one way is through what we watch, what we read, and what we see. It’s all influencing us, forming synapses, even if we’re not conscious of it. This is such a great responsibility! No wonder it says in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
For example, a teen might play video games all the time. They might eat, sleep, and dream video games. Do you know what this teenager’s adult brain will be like? That adult brain is wired for playing video games. Now I have nothing against video games. They can be fun, but we must be mindful of what our attention is on most of the time.
This could be said for anything— your friends, your job, your hobbies. It has been said, “what you behold, is what you become like”. This should be a scary thought for those of us who spend more time thinking about worldly things than God’s Kingdom!
Now, God, in His grace and mercy, can redeem and change the brains and hearts of people who have formed strong ungodly mind-connections. However, we should still heed the warning God gives us in 1 John 1: 15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.”
Our God knows that what’s best for us is Himself, not the world. He gives us this command and the responsibility to steward our minds and time well so that we are shaped into reflections of Christ.
Developing a God-Glorifying Brain
The goal of the teenage brain should be to become more like the mind of Christ Jesus. So, how do we go about forming our brain to glorify and honor God? How do we form strong godly synapses? The answer is simple.
1.We grow in knowledge of God: We get to know God through studying His Word, spending time in prayer, fellowshipping with Christian friends and mentors, and connecting with the Church.
2.We grow in love for God: When we spend time beholding God, growing in knowledge of Him, we are forming our brains to love Him and to love others. We are conforming to Jesus’ image and working with the Holy Spirit toward sanctification. What joy! We also know that those who love God, follow His commandments (John 14:21). Our love for Christ spurs us to action, which spurs godly mind-connections.
God made your brain for a purpose. He fashioned every part of you to glorify Him. Let’s set out to become the God-glorifying, people-serving, hard-working people He intended us to be.
So, the next time you think of a really big number or marvel at your brain, remember that you’ve been given a responsibility. Praise God for wonderfully designing the teenage brain!
Read more about this God-given authority to lead our brains. Here and here.
Eden Detwiler is a fourteen-year-old homeschooler from lands far far far away. Actually, she is now residing in KY, U.S.A. She adores starbursts, hot cups of tea, and sitting in warm chairs cuddled up with good 800 pages long novels. Aspirations of hers would be pursuing a career in being a missionary and an author. Her goal is to love God, love others, and be all in for Christ’s kingdom. If you want to support her check out her blog! (Endorsed by Bravester.)
Previously published on the Rebelution.
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