Before They Go Back to School, Have This Conversation

(Adapted from this post by Lysa TerKeurst.)

Whether it’s my own family or those who just feel like family, I want so much for kids. These young people who are so full of possibility and dreams and bright futures… they have my heart.Before They Go Back to School, Have This Conversation

Yet my heart feels fragile in the hands of these young people. They are smart. They are grounded. But they are young.

It takes me back to me at that age.

And that scares me.

I remember feeling so grown up and crazy excited at the chance to be in charge of my own life. Ready for independence. Ready for love. Ready for the next chapter of my life.

Chasing what felt good and thrilling, I quickly learned the wind blows in dangerous directions sometimes. Going with the flow led me places I didn’t intend to go. And I woke up one morning ashamed of my choices, wondering how in the world I got to this place.

So, in the midst of the laughter and casual banter, I turn the conversation at the dinner table to a word I want them to know and live.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you want to be. In this moment of togetherness, surrounded by family, and saturated in love — decide.

Decide what your answer will be when the talk turns ugly and the laughter turns mean against that girl who desperately needs you to be her friend.

Decide today what you will do when your friends start to pick on that boy that is a little bit different than you.

Decide what your answer will be when someone invites you to the cool party full of drinks and drugs.

Decide how you’ll respond when your best friend wants to cheat off your paper.

Decide what your answer will be when the boy you like says it’s no big deal to stay the night.

Decide how you will help that new guy who just doesn’t fit in.

Decide what your response will be to your friends who want you to skip class.

Decide what your answer will be when “friends” laugh at your Christian views and challenge you to lighten up.

Decide how you are going to respond to your friends talking inappropriately about a girl.

Pre-decide.

Decide today who you are going to turn to if you do get into trouble. Remember, the people at your dinner table. Remember, who truly has your best interest at heart. Remember who you are.

Pre-decide.

Decide today to turn around any mistakes from your past by asking for God’s forgiveness and walking in His grace.

Decide today to ignore the enemy who wants to trick you and trip you and take you out.

Pre-decide.

Yes, pre-decide.

And then we go around the table and tell what we are pre-deciding this year. And my heart feels lighter.

I’m not so foolish to think this will act as a bad choice immunization. We are all susceptible. But it is a way to infuse their heart with a memory of a pre-decision.

So, I whisper a few last words that are a “best yes” for them…

Go where wisdom gathers, not where wisdom scatters. 

Make decisions today that will still be good tomorrow.

And (insert voice cracking and tears welling up), remember how much I love you.

Here are some great Bible Verses to pray for our kids as they head off to school this year:

Galatians 1:10 – For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Romans 12:2 – 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.

Joshua 24:15 – But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Proverbs 29:25 – The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 – But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Acts 5:29 – But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

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