I wouldn’t worry so much about what other people think.
People’s opinions are only that—opinions. They shouldn’t dictate what I do or don’t do, especially when it comes to my lifestyle. I still struggle with this as a grown man with my own family. Once upon a time it was what kind of music I listened to or what words I used. Now it’s more like how I spend my money or raise my kids.
I’ve only been able to get comfortable looking directly to the Bible for a standard within the last few years, realizing there are lots of things church people freak out about that God doesn’t. If I had found peace living up to God’s standards instead of people’s standards, I would have been a whole lot happier and avoided a mess of trouble I got myself into.
I’d dig into God’s Word with the purpose of knowing God better.
The Bible is a great story, not just a Sunday school curriculum. And it’s alive! I was so used to hearing about and being surrounded by Scripture that I missed its wonder. It took a major breakdown before I could come back to the Bible and see that it’s so much more than lessons, theology and morals. It’s a narrative of God’s redeeming power and love. It’s a revelation of His character and work, and the Holy Spirit speaks into the fiber of our hearts if we’re willing. The Bible was a burden before I realized this; now it’s life!
I’d dream big and not feel guilty about it.
It’s OK to do something “secular” with your life. Secular is a distinction that church people made up to protect the sanctity of the church. What it really did was create a hierarchy between “Christian” work and “unchristian” work.
What matters is whether you are able to do what you do in a way that honors God. Do you have a mind for business? Go to Wall Street. Are you an artist? Paint a picture of something beautiful (and it doesn’t have to be Jesus). Love journalism? Get that gig with the New York Times or The Atlantic.
God gave you gifts and passions so you could maximize them and He would get the glory from you, his beautiful created child.