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We often look to others for our sense of self worth. While authentic self-expresssion has to come from within, it is very difficult to build confidence and self-belief without the support of others, especially those we love.

Without someone else experiencing who we are and what we are about, we can be left feeling hopelessly alone. It is critical to our personal well-being that we achieve the security that comes when others really “hear us”.

It means that we are known, that we exist and that we are valid.

“The unconscious fear that seems to always be lurking in the background is that if we aren’t understood it will be as if we never existed.”

What the Church says

Being heard requires authenticity – letting go of who we think we are and embracing who God calls us to be. And God calls us to be truly ourselves.

Living authentically also means watching out for the temptations that lead us away from Christ. “I am afraid that your minds will be corrupted and that you will abandon your full and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Living authentically also means accepting the messiness of the everyday world around us, avoiding pressures to be or look perfect.

When we are heard as our authentic selves, we are no longer groping in the darkness, trying to find connection, and so we can become truly alive in Christ. We feel validated, respected and valued.

“Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.” (John 1:3-5).

This light is particularly visible in the events after Pentecost, with the disciples’ new freedom of self expression; a freedom from the rigour of the law that had dominated the lives of the Jewish people, a freedom to be led by the Holy Spirit…

“For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

There are a couple of important things we need to remember when we have opinions that are different from others.

The first question to ask is whether what we have to say will benefit others. So often, we speak simply to get things “off our chests”. We may even believe that we are saying what really needs to be said.

But as Paul says, who are we to judge?

One person may eat meat, while another person eats only vegetables, and God has welcomed both (Romans 14:2-3).

We must ask ourselves if there is a pure purpose for our speaking? Perhaps we need to see things from another perspective?

Two factors help us to be heard and understood. The first is to hear and understand others first, so that they can be in a place where they are able to hear and to understand us.

People will not care about what we know until they know how much we care. Then when we speak our truth compassionately, we may finally be heard.

The second is to check whether we are doing everything we can to make ourselves understood. What you are saying could be misconstrued by the person listening. We must be sure that we are saying what we want to say.

That we say it in a manner and a tone of voice that makes it possible for others to hear us.

Living authentically and being heard requires us to continually seek to understand our own selves, and our motivations.

To know myself is a life’s work in the making, but without it, how shall I give authentic praise to God?

As Saint Paul reminds the Philippians: “Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7).


Before you speak, before you seek to be heard, think through some of these questions:

What are the things I want to say? How should I say them? What are my feelings about the topic? How has my past experience in this area influenced me? What is the most challenging thing I have to say? Why is this topic so important to me? How will what I say affect me and the person hearing me? What other effects may this have? What tone of voice will help this person hear what I am saying? What is my purpose in speaking? What do I hope to achieve? What is the possibility that this person will understand this topic differently from me? What might that look like? Do I really need to say this? Why?

A prayer

Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness… make your way straight before me.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield.

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Identity Identified Bible Covers

Identity:Identified contains 24 inserts and highlighting of key passages within the New Testament that are designed to help teenagers navigate life’s challenges with ways to identify why God created each one of us in the unique way He did.

This book also has a number of QR codes that link to a series of special videos that have numerous people sharing their stories and how they cope with life.

This is the perfect tool to help the younger generation in your life to follow Jesus as they navigate the challenges of life and trust him as a true friend and companion.