The Secret Life of the American Teenager


Josh Griffin is a Youth Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California–one of the largest and most influential churches in the country. A few weeks ago, the High School Ministry at Saddleback ran a series called “Secrets” for which they collected secrets, PostSecret style, from the young people in their church. They spent two weeks talking about secrets, how holding onto them eats away at our souls, and how vulnerability, confession, and accountability can help to bring healing. Josh shared some of the secret submissions on his blog. Having done some similar devotionals with young people from across the country, I can testify that this is, indeed, reality. These secrets, shared at Saddleback, give a glimpse into the lives of the young people we serve in ministry.

These images are heartbreaking. But they are real. Today’s teenagers live in a world where they appear completely transparent, sharing (and over-sharing) minute details of their lives on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. They seem to be more connected than ever before–have you ever tried convincing a teenager to give up their cell phone, even for an hour?

And yet, beneath it all, there is still hurt. There are still secrets.

And, there is still hope.

A while back I wrote a blog post about Anne Jackson’s book, Permission to Speak Freely. If we know that reality includes below-the-surface, unspoken secrets like those listed above, how do we move toward a culture of openness, authenticity, and healing?


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