Mental health issues in young people is a growing concern. At Step we care deeply about how young people feel about themselves and their mental wellbeing so we wanted to help communicate how the Christian faith can play a crucial role in tackling this issue. Self worth is a vital part of our mental health so our campaign is called 'iMatter'- because we believe exactly that- 'I Matter' (say that out loud to yourself!) As we pondered this as a team, after much debate we decided on 5 'I am' statements that help us to realise just how much we really do matter.
Each star on our iMatter logo represents one of those sentences and below are more details on each one including some tweets we have sent related to each of the 5 statements.
I am Created
I wonder if you've ever considered how you got here. If all we have to explain our existence is the Big Bang Theory and The Theory of Evolution (which may well be true), it is easy to see humanity as merely an accidental development from a random event billions of years ago. What does that mean about ourselves? Am I an accident? Am I just a collection of atoms? Do I really matter in the grand scale of the universe? The Christian faith has another perspective, which is 'I am Created'. The Bible teaches us that God was there in the beginning and it was God who created the universe (maybe using the Big Bang and Evolution- maybe not). God's plan was to create life and especially to create human life in his image. The Bible even says that he had us personally in mind before he even created anything. If this is true, I am certainly not an accident- I am designed, I am unique, I am valued. I am not just a collection of atoms, but an individual with a soul and despite the vastness of the universe, I matter. My life matters, my feelings matter, my relationships matter, my actions matter because God chose to create me.
We have been tweeting Bible verses about all our iMatter sentences. Here are the ones we sent with the hashtag #IAMCREATED
I am handmade, unique and one of a kind #Psalm139v13 #Iamcreated #iMatter
I am a reflection of God’s glory #Genesis1v27 #Iamcreated #iMatter
I am fearfully and wonderfully made #Psalm139v14 #Iamcreated #iMatter
I am God's workmanship, created to do good works #Ephesians2v10 #Iamcreated #iMatter
I am designed and made in the image of God #Genesis1v26 #Iamcreated #iMatter
I am a new creation, the old is gone, the new is here #2Cor5v17 #Iamcreated #iMatter
I am Loved
Love is a word that we use all the time in our everyday language but I wonder if you ever really sat and pondered what being loved actually is or what it means at its best. The dictionary would tell us that love is a feeling of deep affection and if you’ve ever heard of the love languages you’ll know that we receive and give love in five different ways. However what does being loved mean for us and how does that make a difference to our mental health?
You may have heard people describe God as omni-benevolent, which means all loving. Sometimes in life we may go through tough periods of time where we question whether we are loved. These are often the lowest moments we can go through. But in the Bible John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him could have eternal life. Just take a moment to let that sink in… The Bible tells us many times of the love God has for us, the word love comes up 551 times. This love goes beyond what we can humanly understand - it is far deeper and far greater than we can ever comprehend. This knowledge can be transformational because in times when it feels like we don’t matter we can live in the comfort and assurance that we do matter and we are cared about because we are loved by God.
We have been tweeting Bible verses about all our iMatter sentences. Here are the ones we sent with the hashtag #IAMLOVED
I am precious and honoured in His sight #Isaiah43v4 #Iamloved #iMatter
I am forgiven and restored to relationship with my Heavenly Father #Luke15v24 #Iamloved #iMatter
I am free from condemnation #John3v17 #Iamloved #iMatter
I am rejoiced over with singing #Zephaniah3v17 #Iamloved #iMatter
I am comforted by the source of all comfort #2Corinthians1v4 #Iamloved #iMatter
I am Responsible
Do my actions really matter? What difference do I actually make in the world? If you've ever asked those questions, you're not alone. These are big questions that everyone will ask themselves from time to time. The Bible teaches us that our actions do matter. Our words for example are described as being more powerful than fire. What we say to others, whether face to face or online, have an impact. They have consequences. We can use them to build each other up or put each other down. In the same way, our actions can have a positive difference to others or a negative. We can make the world a better place by helping those in need, looking after the environment and seeking justice, or we can leave it worse-off by being selfish. The Bible says that God created us as individuals (see I am Created) to do good. We are unique and valuable and no-one else is like us. We have different talents, interests, personalities and appearances but that's ok. But each one of us can choose to use our time, talents and treasure (money and other resources we may have) for good as God intended or for bad or sinful motives (sin is effectively living life without reference to God and how he would want us to spend the life he has given us). I am Responsible means that our actions do have consequences. They really do matter and they matter to God. But it also means that each one of us has a role to play in this world and we are responsible for the choices we make in how we use the time we have been given.
We have been tweeting Bible verses about all our iMatter sentences. Here are the ones we sent with the hashtag #IAMRESPONSIBLE
I am blessed to be a blessing #Genesis1v28 #Iamresponsible #iMatter
I am Christ’s Ambassador #Luke10v16 #Iamresponsible #iMatter
I am a temple of the living God #2Corinthians6v16 #Iamresponsible #iMatter
I am the righteousness of God #2Corinthians5v21 #Iamresponsible #iMatter
I am bold and courageous for God is with me #Joshua1v9 #Iamresponsible #iMatter
I am Connected
Currently Cristiano Ronaldo has the most followers on Facebook and singer Selena Gomez is the most-followed person on Instagram with more than 132.5 million followers. By the time you read this, I’m sure this will have changed. Why, because our relationships are constantly changing, evolving and shifting. Despite their fame, I wonder how connected they feel to the people who follow them.
The Christian faith believes that people need connection not fame to flourish. Our God is a triune God, three persons in one. He is by very nature relationship, and therefore connection personified. The Bible teaches us that we are made in his image, that we echo God’s capacity for deep connections and therefore we will struggle when removed from meaningful connections. Jesus, on the cross, having endured terrible suffering at the hands of the Romans, cries out not because of the pain he has experienced, but because He becomes isolated from God the Father as He dies in our place, for our sins. The result of this is their connection was broken. Jesus was tragically alone. The Bible tells us, that having dealt with our sin, He then rises from the dead enabling Him and importantly us to reconnect with God, to have relationship with Him.
Jesus' deeds show God believes we weren’t made for isolation or extreme independence. We were meant for connection and when it was broken through our sin Jesus came to reestablish it. He demonstrated we must matter to each other and God. In Matthew 22: 37 Jesus himself summarises what God requires of humans simply in terms of two relationships or connections- Love God and love one another. With that in mind please feel free to say to yourself- ‘I matter because I am connected’. What we share, who we care for, what we say, who we hang out with, what we buy, what we watch and how we live impacts ourselves and others significantly.
We have been tweeting Bible verses about all our iMatter sentences. Here are the ones we sent with the hashtag #IAMCONNECTED
I am serving Jesus #Matthew25v40 #Iamconnected #iMatter
I am always with Jesus #Matthew28v20 #Iamconnected #iMatter
Nothing can separate me from God's love in Jesus #Romans8v39 #Iamconnected #iMatter
I am an essential part of the Body of Christ #1Corinthians12v27 #Iamconnected #iMatter
I am a branch on God’s vine - chosen to bear fruit #John15v16 #Iamconnected #iMatter
I am Eternal
If you could have one super power what would it be? The ability to fly? Mind-Reading? Super Strength? What about being able to live forever? There is a reality which Christians believe to be true and not all people are aware of. This is that we, humanity, were created as eternal beings and not just to be born, work hard in life and then leave this earth behind. It is possible to live life through a different lense, to see it differently. You matter because you are eternal.
So what does this look like? Having a sense of perspective is difficult to have when you are trying to get through the current pile of homework, let alone knowing more will come your way. I wonder if this is something you face at the moment? Barely managing to keep up let alone think about the future?
Christians believe that Jesus came that we might have life and life to all its fullness, this is written down in John 10v10. He is also hopeful that we will see this life as more than the time we have on earth. His death and resurrection shows us that it is possible to have life beyond death but not only that, it also shows us that we have something eternal already within us. Some may talk about a soul or our spirit but essentially there is a part of us that is eternal. This identity has the potential to give you confidence as we go about life, help you to be confident that Jesus goes before you to prepare a place for you and remind you that we have value and purpose because you are Eternal.
We have been tweeting Bible verses about all our iMatter sentences. Here are the ones we sent with the hashtag #IAMETERNAL
I am going to the place prepared for me #John14v2 #Iameternal #iMatter
I am a co-heir with Jesus #Romans8v17 #Iameternal #iMatter
I am fixing my eyes on what is unseen #2Corinthians4v18 #Iameternal #iMatter
I am living by faith and not by sight #1Corinthians5v7 #Iameternal
I am choosing life in all its fullness #John10v10 #Iameternal #iMatter
If you are struggling with mental health issues, please do seek help. Talk to someone you trust, whether that is a parent, a friend, a teacher, a youth worker, a Step member or someone else. Below are a few websites/links where you can find useful information as well.
Friends of ours at The 267 Project also run a support group for those suffering from anxiety. More information can be found by emaling firstname.lastname@example.org, clicking here for their website or going to the Local Youth Groups page on our website.