Question:

I'm 20 years old. I really like the La Vista Church web site. I found a lot of useful information! .

I have a question: I've had problems when trying to see my objective in life. The first time I passed an exam at my university, I really didn't know if the course I applied for (teaching English) was what I wanted. I wasn't happy with it. I don't feel like teaching. Even if some people told me I'm good at teaching, I guess I'm shy or something like that. At the end of my first year at the university I took another exam, and I passed it. Now I am studying design at the university. I gave up the other course.

The problem is, a friend of mine studies medicine and another friend of mine studies physiotherapy. I talk to them every once in a while, but every time I talk to them I start to feel inferior. I feel like the course I chose is not good enough. I feel like I am not good enough, you know?

I don't like the feeling. When I think only about design I'm really happy. I love to draw and create. I feel like I have to make a decision about the way I think. What should I do?

Another question is: I go to an evangelistic church and the bishop's wife, who is a pastor at this church, asked me if I would like to be a teacher. They have a course that teaches everything about the Bible. I have done the first phase of the course twice. I really like learning about it. Even if I hate to admit it, I guess I'm scared to teach. What should I do?

I don't know. Sometimes I feel I'm not really good at choosing anything.

I await your answer anxiously.


Answer:

One thing that strikes me from your note is that you are too concerned about how you appear in other people's eyes. Judging yourself or others using people as a standard isn't a smart thing to do. Some people do this to make themselves look good in their own eyes, as Paul charged the false teachers in Corinth: "For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (II Corinthians 10:12). If you compare yourself to everyone who thinks just like you do, then you always look good to yourself and everyone else looks bad. However, you are also comparing yourself to others but with the opposite motives. You see what other people are talented at and because you don't have the same talent, you conclude you are not as important or good. This too isn't a smart way of thinking.

Everyone has differing abilities and talents. In the church, Paul said:

"For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it" (I Corinthians 12:14-26).

What is true in the close knit gathering of the church is also true in society as a whole. I'm lousy at engine repair and really dislike bookkeeping, but I can repair a computer. So a friend of mine fixes my lawnmower and I repair his computer and we both are happy with the exchange. (I'm still stuck doing my own bookkeeping.)

So you thought you might like teaching, but learned that it wasn't what you thought. You've tried design and you are enjoying it. Then stick with what you enjoy. "Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God" (Ecclesiastes 2:24). Does it matter that design isn't medicine or physical therapy? It has its place in the world. They make people healthier, you make the world a bit more pleasant place to live.

The decision you need to make is to be content with who you are. "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11-13).

I am not a fan of denominational churches, if for no other reason than there are too many things they teach which are not according to the Scriptures. That a woman is in a leadership role is just one example (see I Timothy 2:11-14 and I Corinthians 14:34-37).

But ignoring that problem for the moment, teachers in a church should be selected because they know the material they will be presenting, they have a passion to pass it on to others, and they have a genuine love for those they are teaching. It is a mistake to try teaching what you don't know. "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm" (I Timothy 1:5-7). Such knowledge takes time and experience. "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Everyone should grow to the point they can teach, even if it isn't their favorite thing to do. However, teaching is a responsibility because you are accountable to God for what you teach other people. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment" (James 3:1).

If you aren't ready to teach, then you are not ready. You could work your way up to the point that you eventually can teach, but I would not be overly concern that you, at 20, need some more time to mature.

I really thank you for your advice. It's what I needed to hear. But I just don't know how to apply this to my life. Like not comparing myself to others, or to be content with who I am, how can I do this? I want to be free. Most of the time I feel like a loser, but I want to live with myself, I want to think for myself, to be sure of my decisions, to have courage even when I face fear, to trust myself.

Sometimes I let my friends to speak in front of the class while I prepare all the other work because I don't want to talk in front of others. Even while I'm writing this, I am feeling guilty for not being good enough, for being a coward! I just want to believe in myself. I want to see a future for me! I'm always depending on others! I feel useless! I don't have a girlfriend yet, but what if I had? She wouldn't like a coward like me! Men should be able to stand up for themselves! I can't achieve anything like this!

What do I do? Please help me.

Now here is the problem: you know you shouldn't compare yourself to others, then you ask me, "How can I do this?" What is it that you don't know how to do (or not do in this case)? When you find yourself rating your value by other people, you stop. You tell yourself that it isn't reasonable or sound judgment. You turn your thoughts then to other things. You do what needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not.

Being a loser or courageous has nothing to do with feelings. I've known people who have done courageous things in their lives, but while they were doing those things they were scared to death. Yet instead of focusing on their feelings, they focused on what needed to be done. I'm going to give you an assignment. I want you to read "The Courage to Overcome Fears." At the end of the lesson is a list of verses. I want you to read every one of them and jot down what you learn from each verse regarding courage and fear. Then answer the questions at the very end from what you learned from God.

What it comes down to is willing to deal with life as it happens. It is about accepting the fact that you are not in control of most situations and that you don't know what the future holds. But you are here now and there are things that need to be done.