COUNSELLOR: Struggling with my Christian journey

Dr Karelle Hylton, PhD Counselling Psychologist

Dear Counsellor,
I am 16 years old and I am having problems doing what is right.

I was baptised a few months ago, but I feel as if I wasted the pastor’s time because I have barely changed. I am trying, and every time I reach a point, unconsciously, for lack of a better word, I go back to square one – that is, cursing, etc.

I am not pressured negatively by my peers, I do not smoke, I stopped drinking any form of liquor and doing the ‘fun’ things. But sometimes I feel as if I’m missing out, sometimes it makes me sad to know that I’m so laid-back out of all my friends. People will say I’m the good one, etc, and I feel good within to know that. I really don’t want to lose four long years of friendship. How do I get to be the person I’m really supposed to be?

I must say, I go to church as often as ever. I pray a lot, and God has answered some really serious prayer for me, and I love Him with all my heart but I feel bad to know that I’m disappointing Him. I doubt my friends remember that I got baptised because of the character that I portray around them. I try not to, but because I was once singing the songs and I am still hearing them every day in the taxis, etc, I know them, and so, eventually, I learn them without even downloading them.

Please give me your best advice. I’m looking forward to your response.

Dear O.B.,
You accepted Christ at quite a young age. Whether you have known God your whole life or only recently met Him, the society that we live in today does not accept Christians with open arms and an ear wanting to hear all Christians have to offer. Christians are oftentimes ostracised, and it makes it incredibly difficult to build relationships with those who do not share the same views. I see where you have a relationship with God, as you pray and have seen the benefits of praying and trusting that He will provide all your needs. Fear may also be a factor in your decision to tell the world of your new-found relationship with God … losing the ‘fun things’. Might I suggest that you look at what you have gained in God as against what you will lose without Him. You have already stated “that you love the Lord … and that you feel bad to know that you are disappointing Him”.

With this in mind, it may be possible that you will see changes in your relationships. Whereas I appreciate the four years of friendship you mentioned, you are seeing that your ways have not changed – not completely – but you are changing. This process, where you have accepted Christ in your life, will require spiritual guidance and nurturing as well. You may need to speak to your pastor about the challenges you face and his role in the continual building of your faith and trust in God.

The Heavenly Father is going to be there every step of the way, but He is also going to place the people in your life you are supposed to make an impact on and who are going to help you make that impact. Find good and godly friends who are going to do nothing but encourage you in your walk. Might I suggest that you either join the Inter Secondary Christian Fellowship at your school or advocate for the creation of this group in your school. Incorporate an accountability partner(s) and keep in check with each other because the Lord says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). And with Him by our side, the hearts of others will be softened and He will allow you to find meaningful relationships.

There ought to be a Christian youth group in your church, where young Christians can fellowship and talk about and share experiences that will enrich their lives as Christians. The challenge with being in the world and not of the world will be always present. Your learning the secular songs is natural; however, I believe that just as how you learned the secular songs, you ought to be able to learn the praise songs, too.

Becoming a Christian is a choice, and with every choice comes responsibilities. Your spiritual journey will be filled with temptations, blessings, challenges, good things, tests and testimonies. However, you ought to trust the initial reasons for choosing God. You will soon recognise that there are fun things in the Christian world as well. Remain focused and be blessed.

Dr Karelle Hylton, PhD Counselling Psychologist karelle_hylton@yahoo.com

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