Dealing With Haters

Dear World Changer,

In today’s society, “haters” have become so normalized. We hear about dealing with haters in songs and media, “haters gonna hate” or however it goes. This doesn’t change the fact that when faced with a hater, it hurts when they attack something close to you.

When I was in elementary school, people used to call me names. They would say things like church girl, Jesus freak, or holy kid. I never got invited to sleepovers on a Saturday night because they knew I would have to leave super early for church the next day.

When the kids played truth or dare on the playground, I was never included because they thought I was “too innocent” or “too holy” to participate in all the games. People would get freaked out when I knew all the words to the service we held in the gymnasium, I was even more ridiculed when I was an alter server during the service and the pastor knew me by name.

People would ask me why I believe in this. They tried to argue against what I believed. They didn’t believe in religion and they were so grateful their parents never “forced” them to go. However, I really grew from that experience. Along the way I learned some things that helped me deal with the haters.

1. Stick to your values!​ If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. I was really rooted in my faith with Jesus then. I went to church happily, I even volunteered there willingly. If people hated on me or tried to argue against me and I wasn’t sticking to my beliefs, then I could’ve easily crumbled under the pressure and started to side with them. They could’ve won, but because of my strong relationship with Jesus,I was able to hold my own ground.

2. Stay on the defense, never the offense.​ You’re allowed to share your faith, in fact that is encouraged. However, don’t attack them for not believing. If I had started to ridicule them back then for not believing, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. They would have been pushed further from Christianity. Also, when you give bullies a reaction, you’re giving them the satisfaction of upsetting you.

3. Knowledge is power.​ Often, people judge what they don’t know or don’t understand. If you have the opportunity to have a conversation about it, then share your faith. The more people that know about Him, the more understanding and accepting the world can become.

4. Invite them.​ I wish I belonged to a youth group back then so that I could invite them out so they can see for themselves what I believe in. When movies and media paint a boring picture of the church, it was hard for me to get my friends to come out. So I encourage you to bring your haters out to youth group so they can see what it’s like before they choose to judge it.

5. Pray for them.​ God calls us to love everyone, even our enemy. So show them kindness, even on the hard days. Pray over them that they can come to know Him and that they can find the kindness in their hearts to stop treating people poorly.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. ​But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10: 32-33 NIV

At the end of the day, it’s your faith. It is a part of who you are. You shouldn’t be embarrassed over it, you shouldn’t be embarrassed over Jesus and how awesome He is. Embrace it regardless of what people think. Never try to push it aside to get people to like you, make sure your friends like you for who are, a Christian.

Meghan Hickey

Overcoming Break Ups

Dear World Changer,

You may think it’s weird that as we’re in a sermon series that encourages us NOT to date in high school…we’re posting a blog about overcoming breakups. And that’s because the word “breakup” covers a relationship split between a guy and girl, but ALSO our friends, our siblings, our covers all relationships! And while we’re pursuing purity, we need to be pure in our breakups! I have written 5 tips on overcoming breakups that applies to all relationships. Because at one point in your life, this is going to happen or has already happened and we want to prepare you to handle it well!

I have been broken up with where I was so sad that I didn’t get over it for MONTHS! I then became so scared of being broken up with (and yes that’s a normal fear everyone has) but it got to the point where I would avoid relationships altogether. I would turn down the opportunity to get to know great people because I was afraid of a relationship ending in failure again.

I realized a pattern in my heartbreaks. It’s that you have a choice about your feelings. You can CHOOSE whether or not you’re going to wallow in your own misery or you can CHOOSE to be happy again. The reason that I was unhappy for months was because I wasn’t choosing to get over it. I was unhealthily harbouring a deep sadness within myself instead of choosing to feel better. I often had younger girls or even my friends talk to me about their “boy troubles” or “friend drama” and I noticed so many girls falling into the same unhealthy mindset I had. I have since put together the perfect recipe that helps me get over a breakup in a healthy way and it helps me get back on my feet quicker than I ever have before. So here are some tips for how to overcome a breakup. How to continue being a world changer when you feel as though your world has changed….

1. You’re allowed to be sad. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of this person in your life. This person became a big part of your life, whether you guys texted every day or saw each other a lot during and after school. Find a healthy practice that allows you to be sad and let out emotions. Whether that be watching sad movies with ice cream, talking with a friend, writing it out, making art, etc.

2. Don’t blame anyone, especially God! Hard times can either pull you closer to God or have you lean further away. I’ll be the first to say I’ve experienced both. The times where I leaned closer to God were the best times. One thing I wish I realized earlier is that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. One of my favourite Bible verses is John 13:7 “Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.'” If you get nothing out of this blog post, I want you to get this: God only takes things away so He can replace it with something better.

3. After you’ve grieved the loss of this person, it’s time to move on! And NO this does not mean immediately replacing them with a new person. This means taking their things out of your room so you don’t have their constant reminder. Maybe deleting them off social media or eating in a different spot in the cafeteria. What I like to do is have an “ex” box. If it’s a best friend that you really needed out of your life because they were a bad influence, get rid of all their stuff in your room! If it’s an ex-boyfriend – get rid of everything of theirs! It can be hard to throw everything out right away, so take every card, sweater, gift, etc., and place it in a box. Once everything is packed up, put it in a room you never go in (like a basement storage closet) or throw it in the trash! Have you ever heard the expression out of sight out of mind? It’s a lie! Remember what PNat and PK said about how time doesn’t heal, Jesus heals. What time does is fog – makes your forget about it so you don’t think you’re struggling anymore. Out of sight out of mind won’t heal, it will give you an illusion that it healed you, but only Jesus heals! Bring it to the feet of Jesus!

4. Falling back in love with yourself! It is easy to start having a negative mindset or low self esteem after a breakup. Use this time to work on your own passions and fall back in love with yourself! Whether this means dancing more, writing more, practicing your sport, reading, etc. Find a passion and pursue it! Not only does this better yourself but it also gears your focus to something else. Also take this as a time to pamper yourself! Face masks and painting my nails is my favourite way to feel refreshed. But hey, if a good bath bomb does this trick for you, then so be it!

5. A good friendship can last a lifetime… Hang out with the ones who will never leave your side, your friends! Catch up with someone you haven’t hung out with in a while or use this time to grow closer to someone new. My best friend and I grew closer through tough times like this so call yours up for a good sleepover and talk. Not only are your school friends there for you, but so is your Intencity youth group family! Go for ice cream with your connect group leader or other Intencity youth group friends and I’m sure you’ll leave feeling better than when you came!

In conclusion, you will probably be faced with many heart breaks in your life. But remember, no one can take your happiness away from you if you don’t let them. Focus on what you have instead of on what you don’t have. At the end of the day you aren’t facing this alone either. Your friends are there to support you, your leaders are there to support you and so is God On a final note, I leave you these verses: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 5:6-7 “He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.” Psalms 147:3 ““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

– M e g h a n  Hic k e y


Dear World Changer,

Here is Charity’s break out session from Radiate 17!

Many of you probably came in here today expecting to hear some good advice for dating but that’s not what I plan to talk about. Instead, I would like to share with you some advice on how to build solid, healthy, and growing relationships with everyone in your life, not just a boyfriend. Knowing how to do relationships well with your friends, family, coworkers, etc. will set you up for a successful dating relationship in the future. Because the basics of relationships are the same, regardless of the nature of the relationship.

When Pastor Natasha first asked me to do this session with you my response was, “PNat, I suck at relationships!” I certainly don’t have all the answers and I definitely don’t have perfect relationships but I have learned some things over the last few years. The Holy Spirit has humbled me and taught me how I can better participate in my current relationships. So, if you don’t want to suck at relationships like me, then take a look at these lessons I have learned!

Top Ten Ways to Screw Up Your Relationships:

  1. Assume you know what they are thinking and feeling.
    1. Communication is KEY to successful relationships
    2. Talk to each other!
    3. God may have created us with highly intelligent minds but he did not give us the ability to read the minds of others.
    4. We act on what we think about – if you are incorrectly assuming something then you will behave in a way that is going to create more tension in the relationship.
  2. Ignore the truth of personality differences.
    1. You need to know YOU and you need to know THEM.
    2. God created you both with different personalities; he never wanted you to be the same. And he put you together because you make a good team and complement each other. But problems arise when you expect them to respond the same way you do.
    3. Once you know yourself and the one you are in relationship with, then you sometimes have to make the decision to sacrifice and/or compromise.
    4. Understanding and respecting personality differences is KEY to successful relationships.
  3. Only give / only take
    1. You want a friend? BE a friend.
      You want a great sister? BE a great sister.
    2. You have to actively give to the relationship. You can’t just take what they have to offer.
    3. BUT, you also have to TAKE. Nobody wants to be in a relationship where they only receive from the other party. Have you ever tried to give something to someone and they refuse it but instead give something to you? I don’t know about you, but that never makes me feel good. And it makes me think I will never have something to add to the relationship. Refusing to take what the other person is giving is not a selfless act and it is actually stunting the growth of the relationship.
    4. Proverbs says: As iron sharpens iron so one friend sharpens another. It takes two people to sharpen and strengthen each other. Neither friend will be sharpened if one does not give AND take.
  4. Believe they have the ability to jump over your very high walls.
    1. Trust is KEY to successful relationships.
    2. We need to be vulnerable with each other. I understand that is a scary thing. Being vulnerable with someone is equivalent to you just handing them the power to crush your heart and hurt you incredibly. But, what we often forget is that being vulnerable with someone is also giving them the ability to love you incredibly and to strengthen you and make you greater than you already are.
    3. We need to not just feel our emotions, but also share them with each other. Be real. Tear down the walls piece by piece, even if it takes you a long time. The smaller the walls get, the stronger the relationship becomes.
    4. And help each other tear the walls down. Don’t let them do it alone. They need your help and support. Tearing down walls and being vulnerable is hard but it gets a bit easier, and becomes far more worth it, when you do it together.
  5. Let your emotions dictate your choices without consulting your logic.
    1. Like I said, emotions and feelings are KEY to successful relationships – we all need to be vulnerable. And like I said, sharing those emotions and feelings with each other is KEY to successful relationships – we need to communicate. But it is important that we do not rely solely on our emotions to guide our decisions.
    2. Emotions change with our situations. Love, trust, and loyalty are decisions we make and therefore can be consistent.
    3. Emotions are KEY. But when we have a decision to make we have to consider those emotions alongside our logic and reason. Use your ability to reason to understand why you are experiencing those emotions and determine how long they will last. Then take your conclusions and apply them to your situation.
    4. Take your feelings, logic, and everything else into consideration before acting. Don’t just impulsively base a decision on a fleeting feeling. Your feelings are there to tell you something about yourself and your situation – but they are not always the wisest when guiding your decision making – they are simply the first step in decision making.
    5. If we let our emotions be the only step of decision making then we will end up making some terrible decisions that will hurt many people and weaken or destroy many of our relationships.
    6. Logic, reason, and a clear head are KEY to successful relationships.
  6. Refuse to move on from past mistakes.
    1. Forgiveness is KEY to successful relationships.
    2. First, forgive yourself. Do not beat yourself up for what you did not know. You made a decision at one time based on your current pool of knowledge and if it led to the breakdown of a relationship then you need to learn from that and move on. Refusing to forgive yourself is not helping the other person in the broken relationship; it is only stopping you from mending that relationship and thriving in new relationships.
    3. Second, forgive them. Just like you, they too have made mistakes and refusing to extend forgiveness to them is only allowing bitterness to grow in your heart and keeping them from moving on and thriving.
    4. If you extend forgiveness in a relationship and it remains broken sometimes you just have to accept it. At the end of the day we have to remember that every relationship involves TWO people and all we can do is the best we can with the strength of Christ in us.
  7. Choose things over people.
    1. Crazy + sacrificial + total LOVE is KEY to successful relationships.
      There are always responsibilities that we must fulfill, and I am not suggesting that you disregard those responsibilities and let people down. But often there are things on our to do list that can be pushed to the next day, or even the next week, to create time for the people in our life.
    3. Ask yourself these questions: Does someone need you right now? Are you making yourself available to the people who are important to you? Do you always have to schedule people in a week or two later because of your busy schedule or do you sometimes have the ability to sacrifice a task in order to build a relationship?
      If you don’t like your answers to these questions then consider making some changes to your schedule and/or more carefully choosing what you put your time into.
    4. Things fade away. Souls and legacies last forever.
    5. Pick up your Bible and read about the relationship between David and Jonathan – their friendship is one we can look to as a great example of what it means to put people first and put our time into souls and legacies that last forever.
  8. Give up on them.
    1. Some relationships we choose.
    2. Ask yourself these questions: Why did you choose to enter this relationship? So why would you not want to do everything that you can to see it flourish?
    3. Hard work is KEY to successful relationships.
  9. Resent the ones you are “stuck” in relationship with.
    1. Some relationships we do not choose.
    2. This does not mean we have a right to give up on them. I believe it actually means there is a divine purpose surrounding this relationship, and even if we don’t know what that purpose is it should still motivate us to do all we can to see it flourish more than any other.
    3. Choose to see yourself as “planted” or “purposefully placed” in that relationship instead of “stuck” in it. This perspective change, and the resulting actions, is KEY to successful relationships.
  10. Believe you have to keep trying for perfection.
    1. Realize the perfect relationship actually has flaws because it is simply two imperfect people joining forces and doing life together.
    2. Christ is the only perfect part of any relationship. Keep him in the centre of your relationships if you want them to be as close to perfect as they can be. Christ in the centre is KEY to successful relationships.
    3. And finally, anchor your relationships in PRAYER constantly! Pray for them, pray for you, pray for the two of you together. Pray always. This is KEY to successful relationships.
      For anyone who sat in on my session at Radiate17, let the anchor charm I gave you be a reminder to always pray over your relationships. This is the number one thing we can do to strengthen our relationships. All the other advice given here should follow this important behaviour. Do this and watch your relationships flourish and thrive!