I feel a lot of pressure to do certain things in life. Let me clarify by saying that these “things” have no moral leaning, but are simply choices that I have. One of those choices happens to be whether or not I continue my college education to get a degree beyond my current Associate’s degree. At the moment, I have no such plans to do so, although I am not opposed to getting a higher level degree if I happen to find something that interests me enough to spend several thousand dollars and a few years of stress accomplishing it.
I was once taught that, because I am intelligent, I have an obligation both to God and the world around me to finish college and even graduate school. I believed this for some time and it put me under an immense amount of stress because, truth be told, I don’t enjoy school and I was completely unsure of what I wanted as far as a career was concerned. This led to years of entering college and dropping out. Over and over again, I would go for a few months before dropping everything, assuring my parents that I was just taking a semester break to get things in order. It wasn’t until about eighteen months ago that I realized how miserable I was going to school for a degree I didn’t want. I dropped my schooling indefinitely and have yet to return.
This decision was one that still haunts me, but not because I think I made the wrong move; more because there’s still a part of me that believes that I owe it to someone, somewhere to finish a degree and get a job as an executive somewhere or something. Despite the fact that this career path sounds dreadful to me, I feel obligated to follow it for my own success (whatever that means) and because they (whoever they are) expect it.
I was thinking about this today, and I suddenly realized: I don’t owe anything to anyone here on earth. The only one I owe anything to is God, and I can’t even pay what I owe there. Christ’s sacrifice and God’s grace and providence have allowed payment to be made for my sinful, wretched self, but as far as paying what I owe…I can’t.
And, beyond that debt, I don’t owe anyone anything. I want to make God-honoring decisions, and I will do my best to do so. But, I don’t want to make decisions based on a feeling of obligation I have to the world. That just seems backwards to me.
Do you ever feel like you have to do something that has no moral or ethical bearing simply because someone else wants you to? What are your thoughts on that sort of situation?