Sometimes it seems safer to stay put. For some, it probably is safer to settle into the customs and creations of people like them. By staying put, they'll keep the good things they know.
Yet there is nothing like the joy of the first bite of a new, delicious food. Or of the view when you round a corner on an untried hike. Or of the quick realization that you'll be lasting friends with someone you've met for the very first time. Exploration paves the way for discovery and delight in a world that's full of the glory of God. It helps you enter new communities, find friendships you didn't think were possible, offer Christ to people who seemed far away. It gives you more to offer God in your worship and prayer.
And, after all, there's danger in staying put too. You may keep the good things you know by staying put –not risk being seduced by other things, or losing the things you have– but you'll keep your errors and bad habits too. Growth and learning begin with venturing out. We don't need to explore, but with a God on our side who helps us fear no evil, we certainly may. Who knows what he may show us next?
New identities flourish in when they're surrounded by new experiences. When we feel like new people or want to become new people, we incline toward marking the change with new external things. We change our clothes or our hair, we read new books or watch new films, we acquire interests that reinforce the identity we seek.
That tendency is natural and good. It's part of what helps us, when we place our identity in Christ, to change all sorts of other things in our lives too. And during the transition from a child identity to an adult identity, the changes are necessary. Healthy transitions to adulthood drive every human to explore.
That can be scary to watch. What if our youth choose to associate their new identities with bad things? What if they get hurt while they explore? But we should never respond by shutting down exploration or imposing domineering censorship. We should not be driven by fear. Youth will explore as they become adults. By censoring or rejecting their exploration we only guarantee that we'll be cut off from that part of their identity change. Instead, we should join them in their exploring with enthusiasm and hope, remembering that God rules the whole world. We should facilitate deep discoveries, not just cater to current tastes, so that they see that God's church includes enough riches for a whole life's growth. Christianity contains the whole world! By facilitating and encouraging exploration, we can join youth in their growth.
Bring in Wheatstone's excellent speakers to talk about how to explore art, film, music, or media well; about how Christianity contains the whole world; about fearless Christianity; or about other exploration topics.
Wheatstone is developing one-day training events on how to help your youth as they explore new ideas and experiences. It gives hope and combats fear.