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19-Year-Old Unhappy for 5 Years

Dear Dr. Smith:

I'm 19 years old and I've been very deeply unhappy for the last 5 years. I graduated high school in 2013 and I'm just lost. I did not go out on dates, partying, drinking, fighting, or engaging in sexual activities. I just kind of floated through life. I love God very much, I want to do the right, I try my best to do right things but I'm turning 20 and I just don't know how much longer I can go unhappy. I cried everyday, I even had a recent breakdown, I'm lost, confused, depressed and honestly I fear being unhappy for years to come. I don't know what to do, I don't know if my soul can take it anymore. Please help.

Dear Friend, Thanks for reaching out to me. I read your email and I understand the emotional turmoil that you are experiencing. However, most of it is self-induced. Firstly, let's look at what is going for you. You graduated from High School. Millions of people have not had that opportunity, but you have, therefore, feel proud of yourself. Secondly, you do not go out partying, drinking, getting into fights, become sexually involved, etc. Look how rich your life is in Christ Jesus, look how pure you are growing. There are millions of young people who have caught incurables STDs, have children they cannot take care of, are in abusive relationships, or find themselves in jail, who would love to exchange their life with yours. It is said that sometimes we don't know what we have until we loose it. You have something precious that so many are craving to have, don't loose it. Thirdly, the reason you are getting confused, depressed, unhappy and even a ‘bout’ with nervous breakdown, is because you fail to see the good in yourself. Part of your challenge is that you are not putting structure to your life. You have graduated from High School, but why are you not in college now? If you had classes to take and exams to study for, you would have less time to be worrying about some of the other things. You are only 19 years of age, your life is not yet begun, why are you stressing yourself over what is not. What would it take for you to go back to school? What would you like to become? What do you love to do? Start planning your future rather than worrying about your future. Stop tormenting yourself about dates. As a matter of fact, at 19, you have a long time before you need to get serious about any date. So it's no big deal if you don't have one now. Get your education, have your career, have something going for you that will build your self-esteem. The rest you leave to God. You are a child of God, start claiming his precious promises, Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength Jer 29: 11-13 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil. Heb 13:5, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Psa 46:7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Finally, you don't have to live a lonely life. There are good Christian people where you are, find them and make wholesome friends. If you choose to be by yourself, you will feel lonely, so break that choice and meet good friends. Start with one, and then two. May God continue to bless you, don't let go your grip on Him. I will be praying for you, stay strong, and God bless. Dr. Smith

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