When I was twenty, I told my family that I wanted to switch my collegiate major to psychology. In comparison to the medical track they set for me, it paled in comparison. But the response went deeper than that- they trashed the idea saying that psychology is a bunch of rubbish and makes quacks out of people.
Either I'm stupid or hard headed (I am a Taurus by birth), but I refused to listen to that smearing of my dream that fit me. It felt as if they were trash talking me, and not "psychology" directly. They responded like it was an impetuous decision of a stupid young adult. But the truth was, I had thought about it a lot. The truth was, that desire found me.
It is said that God won't give you a desire that he's not prepared to assist you with (paraphrased from Pastor Jimmy Evans of Marriage Today Ministries). And if he gives you a desire, it's because it is part of his will and his unique gifting to you. For me, I think about psychology all the time; as if God doesn't want me to veer off course for what he has in store for me. It is also complimentary to my faith in God. I visit a Christian counselor and feel confident that she will not guide me wrong. Some people do not know what this God given desire is in their life- yet. But I pray that they listen to it and pursue it.
Some people back down to fast. What if I had responded to my family's disappointment with "Oh okay, I guess you're right"? I would not be doing what God has inspired me to do. Which "parent" are we supposed to obey- our earthly ones or our Heavenly One? But what if it wasn't my family that tried to convince me not to pursue my God given desire? What if it was a friend, coworker or otherwise? Would I be as strong in my conviction? I hope so- since family is usually your strongest influence. Which influence would make you buckle in your convictions?
For me to say that I am pursuing psychology, it has a larger meaning in my obedience to God. For anything that is of God's will that we pursue, it also means that we are coming closer to Him. If God were of human form, how could he care for everyone at the same time? Doesn't it make sense that he is everywhere in a spirit form so he can watch over all of us equally? If I were able to see God, then I would also deprive other people of his love and relationship. That is why, at least to my small brain, it makes sense that he is everywhere and unseen. Many times we are next to people and they don't "see" us the way God "sees" us.
It is easier for me to say that I am pursuing a career and lifetime of psychology than to say that I am pursuing God for the rest of my life. If I could openly say "I believe in God", would I be able to defend my conviction to everyone, everywhere, every-time? (Search "Apologetics" if you want to learn how to defend your faith.) I would try my hardest and I would get weary. I know that is what God is truly calling me to do. That right now- I'm just staying safe. There's no real "safe" way to follow God- as told in the Bible and the social climate of our modern times. In that way, I am letting God down. Because, if I were to speak about depression, as in the link that inspired this post, I'd lose face but I'd probably get a huge amount of support and empathy. But the biggest stigma with depression is the one we experience in ourselves- in the impression that we lose when people know about it.
For the people who get the kudspa to confess their faith in God, they are bound to get trivialized or receive negativity. It's hard for us to withstand the backlash except to know that God loves believers and unbelievers alike. I guess the idea is we're going to be marginalized, hated, criticized, persecuted for something; let us consider what we want that to be for- something big like being saved or something little like "I don't like Rock and Roll". I have this challenge for myself, and for you - if you're game-, to be more fearless in talking about what really matters. No matter the social consequences, I should openly say "I have decided to follow Jesus" as in the song by that title. Listen to it on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/rUwpfId1Zr0
You have my invitation to comment on this post with what you have been building up the courage to say/confess. Practice speaking with conviction. You have my blessing. Hugs and Prayers to you all...