Thursday, May 08, 2008

Living with Questions 6

Living with Questions: Am I Valuable Enough?

I. Introduction: Review of previous weeks

A. God has also chosen to speak to us in a variety of ways
1. Through NATURE
2. Through the WRITTEN word (The Bible)
3. Through ACTION (incarnation)

B. Show video “Celebrities with(out) Makeup”

II. Living with Questions: The Question for today is: Am I Valuable Enough?

A. Facts about teen depression, eating disorders, cutting and suicide

1. Teen Depression
Some alarming statistics on teenage and adolescent depression. Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States among teens and adults, and can have a serious impact on the lives of the many teens who suffer from depression. Statistics show that teen depression is a common problem: About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood. Between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time. About 5 percent of teens are suffering from major depression at any one time. As many as 8.3 percent of teens suffer from depression for at least a year at a time, compared to about 5.3 percent of the general population. Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode. 20 to 40 percent will have more than one episode within two years, and 70 percent will have more than one episode before adulthood. Episodes of teen depression generally last about 8 months. A teen suffering from depression is also at higher risk for other problems:

30 percent of teens with depression also develop a substance abuse problem.

Teenagers with depression are likely to have a smaller social circle and take advantage of fewer opportunities for education or careers.

Depressed teens are more likely to have trouble at school and in jobs, and to struggle with relationships.

Teens with untreated depression are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, leading to higher rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Teens with depression seem to catch physical illnesses more often than other teens.

Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, the third leading cause of death among teenagers. 90 percent of suicide victims suffer from a mental illness, and suffering from depression can make a teenager as much as 12 times more likely to attempt suicide.

2. Eating Disorders

The most common eating disorders - anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder - are on the rise in the United States and worldwide. No one knows exactly what causes eating disorders. However, all socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural groups are at risk.
More than ninety percent of those with eating disorders are women. Further, the number of American women affected by these illnesses has doubled to at least five million in the past three decades.

Eating disorders are one of the key health issues facing young women. Studies in the last decade show that eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors are related to other health risk behaviors, including tobacco use, alcohol use, marijuana use, delinquency, unprotected sexual activity, and suicide attempts. Currently, 1-4% of all young women in the United States are affected by eating disorders.1 Anorexia nervosa, for example, ranks as the third most common chronic illness among adolescent females in the United States.

3. Cutting

It is imperative for youth workers to understand that the act of cutting is a symptom of a greater problem—abuse, mental illness, loneliness, family problems, etc. All of these issues generally generate deep pain in the individual, and cutting becomes a coping mechanism. One of the basic premises behind cutting is that it is "used to alleviate emotional distress in an effort to enhance psychological adjustment" (Journal of Clinical Psychology).

Self-mutilation has become a major public health concern as its incidence appears to have risen since the early 1990s. One source estimates that 0.75% of the general American population practices self-mutilation. The incidence of self-mutilation is highest among teenage females, patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and patients diagnosed with one of the dissociative disorders. Over half of self-mutilators were sexually abused as children, and many also suffer from eating disorders.

4. Suicide

Teen suicide is a major cause of death among teens, though many do not recognize suicide as a serious threat to a teenager’s well being.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and teenagers. According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), about 8 out of every 100,000 teenagers committed suicide in 2000. For every teen suicide death, experts estimate there are 10 other teen suicide attempts.

In a survey of high school students, the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center found that almost 1 in 5 teens had thought about suicide, about 1 in 6 teens had made plans for suicide, and more than 1 in 12 teens had attempted suicide in the last year. As many as 8 out of 10 teens who commit suicide try to ask for help in some way before committing suicide, such as by seeing a doctor shortly before the suicide attempt.

B. Questions of insecurity

1. How did we come to this point?
2. How come I don’t feel like I am worth anything?
3. Is there something special about me?
4. Why would God love me?
5. Am I valuable if I am not attractive?

C. The Quest for Significance

1. According to our Culture

a. Beauty - which is typically photo-shopped to a point of unrecognition
b. Power - competitive sports, bullying, trash-talking
c. Almost all is based on the external appearance to the neglect of the internal
d. Love – deep down all of us want to be love merely for who we are

“Images get our attention. Then they appeal to our senses – they make us feel good. And before long, we really enjoy those images. Our tastes change. We look forward to seeing them again. We crave them, and then we compare ourselves to them. Before we even realize it, we let those images tell us what’s important, who to be, and what we need to become. Then our beliefs change, and we form new desires. We even start to make choices based on our new beliefs and desires. We become objects of each other, to look at, crave, and enjoy. Them we become objects of ourselves, looking in the mirror, searching for our identity in our appearance. If we cannot imitate the newest images in Sports Illustrated, Seventeen, Abercrombie, People, or Cosmo, we’re discouraged and troubled. We’re reminded that we are lost. Images go from being merely pictures on paper to value judgments in our souls. They tell us whom and what we need to fix in order to fit in.” p. 157-158

2. According to God’s Word

a. Determining value by going back to how it was made (guitars, violins, rings)

1. We are created in God’s image – Gen. 1:27
a. We have a mind, emotions and will
b. We have the ability to create
c. We have the ability to love and enjoy each other

2. Value is determined by WHO created us and made us regardless of what we can do. (Brian praying at Chrysalis)

3. Value comes from the Creator, not by the creation

b. Am I valuable enough to be loved?

1. 1 John 4:16 – And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

2. Close your eyes and concentrate on this while I read it:

God does not love us because we act lovable all the time. God loves us because God wants to love us. And God’s love made us valuable in our very being, regardless of our merit. Period. There is absolutely nothing bad that you can do to make God love you less. He loves you because you’re an image bearer of him. God loves you because he made you. Add up all your bad things together, multiply them by a million, and know that God still loves you the same with his infinite love. . . . There is absolutely nothing good you can do to make God love you more. God loves you because you’re an image bearer of him. He loves you because he made you. Add up all your good things together, multiply then by a million, and God still loves you the same with his white-hot infinite love. Try to look like the folks in the magazines to find love – it doesn’t matter. God doesn’t love you any more than he already does. Try cutting yourself. God doesn’t love you any less than he already does. To do anything to make God love you more would be like painting your nails in the hope that it will earn you good grades. Or inflating the tires on your car in the hope that it will give you a stylish haircut. God is love, love, love, love, love. God loves you down to the bone, down to the very center of your soul. That is what we’re looking for, after all. While the celebrities and models vie for the next cover of Cosmo, take a step back and remember who you are.
– p 170-171

III. Conclusion – A New Perspective

A. Unplug yourself every once in a while
B. Spend time thinking about who told you or who stung you into thinking you are not loved orvalued
C. Find people who are caring
D. Put on a new perspective about your purpose – we need to be content in just how God created us. He created us to be exactly who we are. He did not say “oops”!
E. Chrysalis experience


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