After a spending a year or two learning Lesson #1 To Thine Own Self Be True, I found that making myself happy wasn't the end of the road. In dreaming my own dreams, I discovered that who I was in the present wasn't living up to who I wanted to be.
My question changed from 'what will make my parents/teachers happy' past through 'what will make me happy?' and transformed into 'How would the person I want to become handle this?'
To even begin to answer the last question, I had to go further up and further in, do some more deep sea diving and soul searching to find out who it was I wanted to become. Explore who you might become. Do things you haven't tried before. Don't do anything illegal or immoral or stupid, but something exciting and different. What would that be?
Is there a movie or book character you admire? What do you like about him : courage? lack of fear? perseverance? joy? confidence? What about someone from history or someone in your own life -- who do you admire and why? Are you a person with those attributes and virtues?
If you don't like what you see in yourself, change it. Our world tells lies, like 'people can't change'. George Washington took a good look at himself and the people around him, wrote down all the attributes he'd like to have - and became them. He's now known as the Father of our Country.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The bad news : This leg of the journey can be painful. To let go of childish ways and live as a mature adult in Christ with all the virtues and balance associated with it requires self-control and pounds and pounds of grace. The good news : Christ has an ocean of grace just waiting for us to ask for it. Also, self-discipline/self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit -- just living in a relationship with God (talking to Him, asking His advice, taking His advice, sharing our hurts with Him) opens our soul to bear the fruits of God.
If you think you need it, go to a good Christian Counselor (look for a counselor who comes highly recommended by someone who you think has it all together).
This lesson is more than just a psychological state of mind. If you are a man wanting a wife, you need to be prepared to support the family that comes with the 'fun' parts of marriage. You can't rely on the ability to finish school later or that your family or parents will get you through tough times. To prove yourself able to be marriage material is making a living before you start looking for a wife. By the same token, to look for a husband before you know how to cook a meal, take care of yourself, or are emotionally & spiritually willing and able to set your wants and needs aside for every other person in your family is irresponsible. I'm not saying younger marriages are wrong, that it's impossible for parents to help their married children, or that you have to be accomplished in every area of life before getting married. But part of being a mature Christian is bearing up under the weight of responsibility of your choices. Marriage is a big decision and shouldn't be made quickly or lightly before you've assessed if you're ready.
Becoming who God made you to be is worth the effort. He has a beautiful plan for you and He can be trusted.
Don't believe the lies.
- I could never get someone that great
- No one decent would want to care for me
- People don't change
- I could never become that kind of a person (successful, wise, holy)
- I am worth loving.
- God wants me to embrace His plan for me. [He planned it and He placed it in my heart. Who am I to reject the Creator of the Universe?]
- No one will treat me better than I treat myself. [This isn't about indulging yourself, but taking good care of yourself.]
- Even if it looks impossible, God will help me. [This process can take years. Don't be daunted. The years will slip by no matter what. It would be a shame if you still didn't know yourself.]
- This task is hard -- but hard work never hurt anyone.