When You're in the Pressure Cooker

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When You're in the Pressure Cooker

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The pressures of high school and college are vast and vary greatly from person to person. Many times the pressures we face are ones we've brought on ourselves. We allow ourselves to get into situations that invite them. Unfortunately, many young people get overwhelmed by these pressures and finally cave in. Seemingly, it doesn't matter how many times our parents have told us not to do this or stay away from that—we do it anyway. I'm just coming out of this period of my life, and I still remember these pressures and feelings. I remember my mother telling me not to hang out with certain people, and, sadly, I did anyway. I was stubborn and strong-willed. It seemed too hard to miss out on what everyone else was doing, especially when it involved the opposite sex. Thankfully, with many prayers from my mother and God's mercy, nothing tragic ever happened to me, but believe me, it could have. In hindsight, I know I shouldn't have done those things, gone to those places and hung out with those people. And now I try to warn others, "You really don't want to do this. This could tragically affect you later in life." But who will listen? Hopefully, you! Usually we think our situation is somehow different from what we are being warned against, that our friends are trustworthy and that we can keep ourselves safe in any situation. And the list goes on. But this thinking is flawed. Sometimes our "friends" turn out to be the worst. Remember, the Bible says the person who "loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid" (Proverbs 12:1 Proverbs 12:1Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is brutish.
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). Take it from a 24-year-old who has made some mistakes and hung out with the wrong crowd. You will regret it. Do what you know is right. Don't be afraid to talk to your parents about things. They really do care and have a perspective that can help you avoid problems. And most importantly, remember that God is the One who has outlined what is right and wrong. He knows what is best for us, and He knows how the human mind works. He reassures us He will never give us something we can't handle. So with His help, we can resist pressures to do things we shouldn't. How to resist When people try to pressure you into trying something that is wrong or something you're not comfortable with, get away from them or the situation as quickly as possible. If they've been your friends, their ruthless manipulation shows they aren't anymore. Remove yourself from these people. Find new friends. You're in college to get a degree, to prepare for a good job and your future. Yes, you can have fun too, but it's not worth your safety, virginity or Christianity to give in to the pressures along the way. Things may feel good, look good and sound good at the time, but the sad fact is that our decisions at college will have consequences as soon as we step off the campus. Remember who you are, what you believe in and why you are there. Everyone faces challenges, and challenges never end. They just change as our lives change. When we rely on God and do what He says, we're always happier. I've talked to many people in and out of the Church who regret caving in to various pressures in college, especially sex before marriage. Everyone I've spoken with always wishes he or she had waited for his or her future spouse. Look around at what's going on with young people. Think about the kids who get thrown into jail or who get hurt by doing stupid things to be "cool" with their group of friends. They get caught in illegal behavior. Perhaps you think you will never do something like that, but things can change before you know it. All it takes is getting into a car with someone going to a party who is suddenly driving too fast and you find all you can do is pray. Why put yourself in this situation? It only takes a second to throw your life away—to make a wrong decision that could negatively affect you and those around you. I still have many things to learn and much to look forward to. I'm learning to rely on God and find strength through Him to resist wrong choices. You can too! Ask Him to help you keep from giving in to pressures that end up being lifelong mistakes. Listen to those around you who are older and have been through life. They care about you, and many of the things they have learned are similar to what you're going through. While you're struggling with the pressures in school and throughout life concerning right and wrong, remember that "great peace have those who love [God's] law, and nothing causes them to stumble" (Psalms 119:165 Psalms 119:165Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them.
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