Following Christ when it’s ‘uncool’

Dear Kianna,
How can I live out my faith as a young person, when it is often seen as uncool or unpopular to follow Christ?
– Conflicted Youth

Dear Conflicted,
I asked myself this question for many years, especially throughout high school and college. The more my relationship with Christ was strengthened, the more I struggled with feeling “uncool” or “unpopular” for following him, especially when I received pushback and judgment from my peers.

Here is a passage from my journal from 2017, when I was a sophomore in college: “Dear Jesus, I am trying to find my place. Having faith and being close to you in today’s world is hard enough, let alone as a teenager! Who am I? I don’t know how to balance my life as a Catholic and as a teenager — how should I live?”

So I totally understand the way you feel. Allow me to share a few practical tips and bits of advice that I learned throughout my teenage years that were helpful when battling with this question.

First, let me start by saying that it is totally COOL and AMAZING to be Catholic! You are part of something greater and larger than yourself as a member of the body of Christ.

Second, surround yourself with other youth and young adults who are also interested in the faith. In high school and college, many of my good friends were passionate about following Christ, which really inspired me to live out my faith. It took time and patience to build these solid relationships — so don’t give up!

Third, use social media to connect with others! As young people, we are actively involved in anything media-related, including apps like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube and more! There are many wonderful group chats and pages for Catholic youth, and I have been able to communicate with and encounter other young people who are seeking to grow in their faith. Do some searching on your social media apps and I guarantee you will make some new discoveries.  

Fourth, get involved in your school’s campus ministry, parish youth group or archdiocesan faith events. All these options are great resources to connect with other young people and build new friendships that are rooted in the love of Christ.

Finally, I urge you to never betray your values. I understand how difficult it is to follow Christ, especially as a young person, but if you deny the longing of your heart and look away from Jesus, it will not lead to happiness. Whenever I denied my faith or wasn’t brave enough to stand up for my beliefs because of embarrassment or doubt, at the end of the day I always felt uneasy.  

In moments of doubt or confusion, look to Christ and keep your eyes on him. He will give you the strength to be bold for your faith if you ask for this gift. I am praying for you on your journey, and please pray for me. God bless!

Northwest Catholic - September 2020

Kianna Garmanian

Kianna Garmanian is the youth minister at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bothell. Send your questions to editor@seattlearch.org.
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Kianna Garmanian es Ministra para Jóvenes en la Parroquia Santa Elizabeth Ann Seton de Bothell. Envíe sus preguntas a editor@seattlearch.org.