Help! I don't know what I am supposed to do with my life! I am a freshman in college and part of going to college is deciding on the career that we are going to have. While that seems to be easy for some people (like my roommate, who seems to have everything mapped out) I am still completely undecided. All I know is that I want to be happy and I want to serve God in the best way I can. Any ideas for a career?
What you are looking for is not just a job, but a vocation, or a calling. A vocation is different from a job. A job is something you do primarily to get money. A vocation combines your unique gifts and talents with a need in the world. It connects your life to the wider purpose God has for the universe.
I believe we all have a vocation. For some, it means volunteering--coaching soccer for kids after school or organizing a yearly food drive for the poor. For others it means teaching, for others it can mean being a lawyer. For me, it means being a minister.
Make a list of activities you enjoy doing and relate them to your talents. Make another list of what you feel the world needs, such as a cleaner environment, less hunger, more beautiful art--whatever is important to you. Keep adding to these lists and at some point you will see where you talents and the world's needs come together to form your vocation.
One last thing--you don't have to decide this right away. What's more, you can reassess your vocation throughout your life. Just know that God does have a use for your life, so keep looking.
Dear Pastor Paul,
I didn't grow up in any religion because my parents said they wanted us to decide for ourselves. Well, I am a junior in high school and I still don't have any kind of faith or whatever. I am curious about religion but I don't feel a real need in my life. So, why should I find a religion if I don't feel like I need one?
--No Name Given
You should explore religion, even if only out of curiosity and a sense of adventure. New ideas are always worth looking at, and since most people in the world hold some kind of religious belief you'll see how the majority of people around the world live their lives. On a more personal level, religions offer communities of support, a clear moral guide for ethical behavior, and continue to be the chief source of human wisdom passed on from generation to generation. Most importantly, religions provide clearly defined paths to what is sacred in the world and to God. Perhaps you're right that you don't need a religion, but the only way to find out is through personal investigation.
What should I do when my friends turn against me to join the enemy team, and then talk against me? I love and respect God, so I walk away, but that makes me I feel I'm being a pushover. It makes me feel like I might be scared of what might happen if I retaliate.
You don't make it clear what precisely you are facing, or what you're thinking about doing about it. But whether you're thinking of responding with physical violence or just fighting fire with fire and talking them down, neither option will make you feel good or solve the problem. Consider instead the spiritual approach Jesus outlines in the Bible: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. (Luke 6 27-29)
Ask yourself what will allow you to live with more love and respect--not only for God (although that is of ultimate importance)--but for yourself as well.
It takes a strong person to choose the non-violent approach. In walking away you are not being "a pushover," instead you are following a deep spiritual path set out by Jesus and followed by people such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. who also used the non-violent alternatives to achieving the goal of love and respect for God and for themselves.