Self image is such a critical subject for youth.
As adults, it can be easy to forget what it was like to be a teenager: Your body is like an unknown alien, everyone seems to be at a completely different developmental stage, and let’s not even talk about how awkward it is when you have to shower for gym! Yikes!
Before you teach this lesson, try to take a possibly painful walk down your teenage memory lane to remember what it was like for you.
If you were one of the few teenagers who looks with longing to your early teen years, then try to think about what it was like for that awkward kid in your class because believe me, it was painful.
Some adults still carry around the hurt and rejection they felt from this time, and if you are one of these adults, take some time to really talk with God before this lesson.
Remind yourself that you are NOT a teenager anymore and to forgive if you need to forgive.
Remember that you can be a source of comfort and encouragement to youth who might feel as awful as you felt.
And spend time thinking and reflecting on this very important question: how does God see me?
Here’s what I know: God loves you dearly and he loves each and every youth in your group dearly.
My prayer is that they leave this lesson with a deep and reassuring sense that God sees them for who they really are and loves them dearly.
Self-image built on what God thinks is radically different from what their peers or the world will say, but in the final analysis, it is the only image that is genuinely honest.
Hold onto that!
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
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YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON SELF-IMAGE
Bible: Psalm 139:13-15
Bottom Line: We truly see ourselves when we see ourselves through God’s eyes.
Stickers with the names of current popular artists, athletes, leaders, star etc
2 Large mirrors
Dry erase markers
List of scriptures
Dry erase marker for each student
OPENING GAME – WHO AM I?
As the students walk in, place a sticker on their back without them seeing it, with the name of someone who the youth will know from pop culture: Could be the name of a movie star, athlete, person in the news, character in a movie, or artist.
Try to pick names of people who will be entertaining to try to identify.
Tell the students that they need to help one another figure out who they are by giving them clues about the name that is on their back.
The clues cannot mention names but should be clues that would make it very simple to identify the person.
Have extra names ready as some of the youth will figure their name out quickly.
You could even offer a prize of a strange item for the person who guesses the most names.
Reflect on the game they just played by asking these questions or similar ones:
What were some of the clues that you were given to identify the famous person on your sticker?
Were there any names which stumped you?
Imagine this game: What if I put your name on one of these stickers and then we gave clues to help someone guess your name?
What kind of things do you think people would say?
Share a quality or something about yourself (even from when you were their age) of clues that would have been used to identify you that would possibly be less than positive.
Pull out a large mirror and have dry erase markers ready to write down the words the youth give to you.
How many of you think that others might be surprised to hear how you see yourself?
Let’s face it, we are often our toughest critics and sometimes the things that we say to ourselves when no one else can hear are the words that stay with us.
But have you ever stopped to really question those things that you think?
Share a time in your life, or even in the life of someone who is famous, in which you realized that the way that you saw yourself was unfair, unkind, or inaccurate.
Think about the people at your school.
How do you think that they see themselves?
Write down the words or phrases on the large mirror with the dry erase marker as the youth share their thoughts.
Or you can invite the youth to come up and write the words one at a time silently for added effect.
Now, ask yourself honestly, how many of these words do you identify with?
When have you felt ______________ (insert words from the mirror)?
Read Psalm 139: 13-15.
What if we instead, viewed ourselves as God sees us?
Do you think that God sees you as ___________ (choose one of the words and then erase that word)?
No, God sees you as wonderfully made.
Erase the words on the mirror and write “Wonderfully made”.
What other words do you think God would choose to write for you?
Add the following words as needed from scriptures:
You are :
Bought with a price
A child of God
See, God tells us in scripture that He thinks we are worth dying for…that is how much we matter to him.
It’s possible that some of us have chosen to believe lies about who we are, and those words have been written on our souls and have rewritten our self image…but with lies.
But why would we give words spoken against us, or even by us, more value than words from God?
Maybe you don’t believe that you are precious or worth more than anything…but God does.
Why not just for a moment consider this: What if you let God and what He thinks about you be the voice that you listen to?
How would this change the way that you think about yourself? And others?
Just look at these words…..read them again…..or invite youth to read them outloud.
Whether you believe it or not…He thinks these things about you.
Is there one of these words that jumps out at you?
Maybe you think “Yeah, that word definitely doesn’t apply to me”.
That’s your word, then.
And each of you is going to come and get one of these tiny mirrors and a pen and choose a word to write on this mirror.
Carry this mirror with you this week.
Place it in a place where you can see it.
And look at the word that you write.
Try to let it sink in that God thinks this about you, regardless of what you think or what others think: God thinks you are wonderful.
He loves you.
I pray that you can see this word reflected in you because it is the truth from God for you.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Which word in the first set of words on the mirror surprised you? How does it make you feel to know that someone feels that way about themselves?
Which of the words we first wrote on the mirror (that we sometimes think about ourselves) would describe how you have been feeling about yourself?
Which of the words that we wrote on the mirror (that God would think) is sticking with you?
Why do you think that word has stuck with you?
How do you think life could be different for you if you chose to believe these words from God about you?
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