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Miranda Writes: All Grown Up?




by Omar Miranda



Here’s a question I came across on the discussion board at insightmagazine.org:

“I just graduated my senior year of high school. My original plan was to attend college in the Philippines, but after being there for a few weeks, I realized it wasn’t what I really wanted, so my parents let me come home. Now I feel embarrassed and humiliated because some people have told me they knew it wouldn’t work out. I feel like I failed. Also my self-esteem is very low and my confidence is gone. I’ve broken down several times too. I don’t know what career to pursue, and my future seems so unclear. All this worry is tearing me apart. I want to believe in myself, and I want to make my dad proud because he does so much for me. God doesn’t create trash, right? Please pray that God will show me His will. I feel alone, even though God says He is always with us.—Meredith.”

Meredith, wow! It sounds as though you are really hurting! I’m sorry that you’re having such a hard time with your career choices, your self-esteem, your feelings of letting your parents down, and with knowing God’s will.

I’d like to share my experiences with you as a school counselor at the high school level to let you know that what happened to you happens, well, to a lot of teens!

First things first, though: it sounds as though you and your father have some very high expectations of you! As your counselor, let me tell you that the best thing you can do is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and just . . . relax! I’m glad that you decided that the Philippines wasn’t for you early enough in the process that you were able to make the required changes. Guess what? It’s silly to expect teens to know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives before they even graduate high school.

On average, most college students will change their majors two or three times before they decide what to stick with—and that’s OK. Remember, you still haven’t quite figured out who you are, much less what you’re supposed to do with the rest of your life. Cut yourself some slack!

I would suggest that you stay near to home, possibly go to a junior or community college, and take one or two years of the general classes that are required for most college degrees. During that time, contact your college career counseling center and ask to take some personality, career, or interest inventories. Then start looking at the things you enjoy (interests) and that you’re naturally good at (aptitudes).

You can also look at your spiritual gifts. Key Bible passages are found in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. Typically the spiritual gifts that God gives to people can be translated into career types. For instance, if God has given you the gift of administration, then maybe you ought to strongly consider the field of business.

Once you’ve got that list of your interests and gifts, identify people who you know in the working world and ask if you can either interview somebody or, even better, do a job shadow with them for several hours or days. If you find that environment interesting, you might even be able to do some slave labor . . . uh, I mean volunteering there. It looks great on a résumé, and it’s a great way to get some valuable experience and a reference.

In terms of your self-esteem, I’m sorry to hear that it’s low. In the past, I have also struggled with low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. I hope that you’re choosing to connect with your parents, your pastor, and/or a Christian counselor who can help you through this rough spot in your life. There are two passages of Scripture that have always brought me hope and peace whenever I’ve felt down about myself:

 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).¹ What I love about this verse is that even if I don’t know what my plans are for my future, God knows. So the best thing that you can do is to get close to God. Get with God, and you can never go wrong. He’ll lead you to exactly where you’re supposed to be.

“You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. . . . Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do” (Psalm 139:13-16, CEV).² Translation: God doesn’t make junk! And He didn’t mess up when He made you! He loves you just the way you are. In fact, He loved you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for you! Now, that’s true love.

In dealing with your concern of letting your parents and others down, I would tell you that you need to focus most on pleasing God and your parents. We’ve already established that there’s nothing you can do to make God stop loving you (see my article about this at www.insightmagazine.org/web
bonus/viewstory.asp?issueid=20111604). God’s love for you isn’t based upon what you do or don’t do. He loves you just because . . . well, just because He’s God! Second, the Bible tells kids to both honor (respect) and obey their parents, and Meredith, I can tell that you truly care about your father and want to please him and make him proud of who you are. But back to my original point: relax a little. You just graduated from high school and still have a good two years before you have to make a decision. Please don’t let your parents’ or anybody else’s expectations or perceptions of who they think you should be or what they think you should do with your life affect your decision-making process in a negative way. You should talk to your parents and to God. Pray, read your Bible, stay connected with God, be patient, and listen for God’s leading. In due time, He’ll lead you in the right direction. Remember, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT).³

I hope these few verses and this counsel will encourage you and help you to make wise decisions about your present, your future, and give you peace about your past.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

    ¹Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
    ²Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
    ³Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.

 





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