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Question
I have been a Christian for a few years now and I am in college. For reference, I am in my mid twenties.

I began college 5 years ago and became a Christian half way through. Quickly I realized that God was calling me away from my degree at the time, but I didn't know how to deal with that in relation to what my family would think, so I surpressed the desire and sunk into a pretty deep depression. It's been 3 years.

My father noticed over the summer and asked me point blank what was up (we're not close), so I answered and he decided to help me. I was supposed to graduate this spring, but it was better if I just changed my path at that exact time. I began taking classes at a local community college as pre-requisites for that path. I feel peace in that area for the first time in a while.

My question pertains to the fact that everything happened so quickly; it even took it a while to sink in as my reality. When people asked me about graduation in the spring, it was easier just to say yes than to explain the whole situation. A lot of times people were asking out of small talk and we weren't even that close. I am naturally a private person and I know answering truthfully will just allow for a barrage of questions. I try to evade the question as much as possible, but being in college people are persistent.

I know it is sinful for me to be doing this. It hurts every single time. I have told the people who I think should know, but what about the others? How do I deal with telling the truh and moreover dealing with the questions to follow?

Answer
Katie, thanks for your question.

I understand your preference for privacy as well as your desire to avoid rehashing the same story time and again as various people ask you these things.  However, I'll have to affirm what your conscience and God's Holy Spirit are telling you already: dishonesty is not pleasing to God nor is it loving to others.  As disciples of Jesus we are learning from Him how to reject our own preferences whenever they conflict with His.  This can often be difficult because we have become accustomed to choosing our own preferences.  Trusting Him means we are confident that if we do it His way, we'll have the best life in God's Kingdom.

Being honest doesn't necessarily mean giving full disclosure to everyone, though.  When asked, you have freedom to say much or little.  You are not obligated to share the same details with every person.

Still, I would encourage you to consider this important aspect of your situation: because your decision is connected to your life with God, each time you're asked about your schooling decision, you have an opportunity to tell people that your following God's leading because you trust Him.  That conversation might stop there, but it might also open up doors for sharing about Jesus!  One thing we learn from Jesus is that sharing the gospel often flows from ordinary conversations about ordinary things because even our ordinary things are immersed in the reality of God and life in His Kingdom.  Pray about using such opportunities for God's glory and reputation as well as the good of those you speak to.

I know my answer is not the easy one, but I share it with the confidence that you can experience wonderful growth as you live by faith and focus on how your daily experiences create opportunities to serve God and others.  Remember that God's chief expectations are that we love Him with all we are and that we love our neighbors as ourselves.

Please feel free to follow up with further questions or comments,  

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Ryan Parish

Expertise

I can answer just about any question about Christian living, believing that the Biblical revelation is meant to deal with all of life. Though not every modern issue is addressed specifically in the Bible, I feel confident in applying the grand principles of love, submission and Christ-likeness to all issues. I can't answer some questions definitively simply because God has not given detailed information on some matters. I can draw valid conclusions from what God has revealed, though.

Experience

I was raised in the church from my childhood, and have had an interest in God, the Bible and spiritual things from a very early age. At around the age of 15, I felt led to pursue a future in full time ministry. I've been in professional ministry since 2003, but was very active in teaching and encouraging Christians long before that. I preached my first sermon at the age of 15 and have found great joy in teaching God's truths ever since!

Organizations
Pastor of New Hope Community Church; member of the Christian Ministers Association.

Education/Credentials
BA in preaching from Hope International University (Fullerton, CA); full time pastor for five years; continually engaged in reading and studying to further my understanding of Scriptures.

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