Have you ever felt like your whole purpose in life as a Christian is to always aim for doing the "right thing", for "seeking God", and avoiding His wrath? Have you found it hard to truly grasp the hope and joy we've heard so much about (Nehemiah 8:10) but seem to rarely experience? There is definitely a need to find a good balance between "this is what you should be doing" and realizing the joy we have in Christ. Sometimes we get the impression that we should be shaken into submission or that we should always feel guilty about deriving any pleasure at all from anything that isn't "spiritual".
I believe that a balance that can indeed be had. We can't feel joy if we are constantly beating ourselves up for our failings—real or perceived. But at the same time, we can't grow spiritually unless we are aware of the things we need to change in order to grow closer to God and follow His plan for our lives.
It's not easy to find the balance, but it is possible. Life is a day-by-day thing. Every minute in our existence should be taken on a case-by-case basis. There is no blanket way to deal with everything and anything. While the Bible is our Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything Else, what it isn't is a list of dos and don'ts.
God's word provides principles, and those principles apply differently to various situations in our lives, depending on any number of different factors. It is at once much simpler, and yet so complicated for us to fully understand. We want rules. We want something that says "Yes, this" and "No, not that." But the Bible is so much more than that.
Think about it though. If it were all too simple, would you still find the Bible believable? The fact is that life is messy and inexact and always varied—and people are the same, each individual having their own story and set of circumstances. No blanket rules could possibly apply to everyone in every situation at every time.
When you wonder if you're doing the "right thing", talk to God. He knows you intimately and He is fully aware of your unique situation. Turn your heart toward Him, and the Holy Spirit will guide you in the ways that are right and good for your life (Proverbs 3:6). When you are following God and joy fills you up, embrace it, for true joy can only come from God (Ecclesiastes 9:7).
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.