“Who Am I?”

Workshop for Teenage Girls

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one of the most important – and challenging – tasks of the teen years is learning to fit in with peers. For Messianic youth in Israel, this is compounded by the fact that their peers, average Israeli teenagers, don’t know much (if anything) about the Messianic faith. Israeli teens are conscious of the existence of Christianity, as they are of all other major religions. However, like the rest of the Israeli population, the concept of Jews actually believing in Jesus is foreign to most of them. Revealing this


faith to others can be extremely intimidating for Messianic teens. Some Messianic teenagers are brave enough to share their faith with close friends, classmates, or teachers. Many others are so intimidated by the potential societal backlash and fear of ostracism that they hide their faith. These teens then find themselves having to make excuses for the values they espouse because of their faith and live in constant fear of being “found out.”

We recently had the opportunity to team up with NerYah (“Candle of God”), a Jerusalem-based youth ministry supported by Hope for Israel, to organize a workshop for teen girls aged 12-18. The purpose of the seminar, entitled “Who Am I?,” was to expose the lies the world sells regarding self-worth and self-image, and to focus on our identity in the Lord. Advertisers tell teens that they are not good enough, attractive enough, or popular enough without their products. TV shows and movies often teach that the way to get what we want is to compromise godly values while ignoring the devastating consequences of these actions. Omnipresent images of perfect, unattainable beauty are especially daunting and demoralizing for teenage girls still trying to fit in, still growing into their own bodies and into their own identities.

Together with the girls, we examined the messages behind a popular Israeli clothing company’s television commercial. We looked at “before” and “after” photos of air-brushed images used for ads in magazines. We discussed the lies the world is trying to sell them and took a look at ourselves through the lens of God’s Word.

The world’s message is broadcast loud and clear, 24/7. As believers, we need to be vigilant in countering it with an even clearer message from God’s Word, with verses such as can be found in Song of Sol. 4:7 “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” and Eph. 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We can’t take ourselves out of this world, nor can we avoid its images. But we can fight them with the Word of God, with God’s reassurance that he created us perfectly, that we are complete in him, and that we are beautiful to him.