122. As a result, I am messed up badly, what can I do?
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Dear Dr. Smith,

I am a teenager that was influenced to make some bad choices in life and I now regret them. As a result, I am messed up badly, what can I do? Is there any hope for me?

Dear Teenager,
The bad choices you have made seem to have left you with cloudy thoughts and painful memories. Maybe you are feeling like you have fallen into a deep hole, that things are bad and will only get worse. But the fact that you have recognized your mistakes, is a good sign that you can make the future better even though you may not be able to avoid some of the consequences. Therefore be optimistic.

If you have in the past committed your life to Christ, I would say, start with a re-commitment. If you have never done this, then I would recommend that you give your life over to Master. The best way to avoid pitfalls is to dedicate your life to Christ and allow Him to lead you. Secondly, develop a rich prayer habit, force yourself to pray frequently and add to your frequent prayer Bible reading.

Determine to Change Yourself: It is necessary to work on changing yourself. Not just the situation, the circumstance, or the environment, but yourself. Face your inner demons, your disfigured self, go into the labyrinth of your soul and be determined to create positive changes.

Use "I" Statements: In order to take responsibility for your actions, use "I" statements. Rather than using phrases like; "look what they did to me," "it is because they..." "If my parent was..." "My friends made me do it." etc. Take responsibility for your actions and say; "I made the wrong choice," "I should have walked away," I could have ignored the situation,' I did not have to react," etc. By using "I" statements you prepare yourself not just to accept your reality but also to face it.

Develop New Coping Skills: Within each of us lies the coping skills and the coping mechanisms that are required to restore one's self-confidence. You cannot afford to regress, become helpless, hopeless, inadequate, incapable, or childlike. You must face your challenges without running or trying to escape. Setting small, achievable goals will renew self-esteem. Call a friend, talk honestly with someone you trust.

Seek professional help: If the pain is too severe, seek professional counseling. Counseling will assist you in better understanding your options and teach you healthy strategies to cope with the problems.

Understand God's Provision for Sin: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. (1 John 2:1) The beauty of this text lies in its inclusiveness. It provides hope for everyone. Christ’s death on the cross was for you unconditionally. He loves you in spite of your messing up.

Understand God's forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:9) No matter what you have done, no matter how messed up you are, no matter how you may feel devalued and sinful, if you

Learn to forgive yourself: You will never be free, until you free yourself. Here is God's assurance, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil. (Jer 29: 11)  Since God's thoughts toward you are of peace, why not rest in His eternal peace by forgiving and freeing yourself.

No matter how painful your life is now, there is hope for tomorrow. Hold on to God’s hands and embrace his Love. This too will pass away, remain calm, stay strong, trust in God and do the right. I will put you on my prayer list and keep you before the Father.

Be blessed.

Dr. Smith
For more information about Dr. Smith's services go to www.familyfixers.org