Have you ever had a certain theme or idea that keeps popping up in your life over a period of time? I have. Lately, for me, it has been the idea of fitting in…or not fitting in, for that matter. In society these days, everyone wants to be known for something. Everyone wants to fit in and be accepted. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to be accepted, the way we go about finding acceptance is what can affect our lives.
What I’ve noticed in different groups of people is that we often compromise things we believe, standards that we hold, or even dreams that were placed in our hearts in order to find acceptance that might only last for a short time. Many times, we give up on the things we have valued in the past and we set them aside to have certain friends, do a certain activity, or even attempt to be loved by someone. We live in a false sense of hope that if we compromise what we believe or the dreams we have to fit in wherever we go or in the things we do, we will find happiness and satisfaction in being the new person that we are becoming. Sometimes wanting to be someone different sounds so much better than being ourselves.
Now, I understand that it sounds so enticing to want to be a “cool kid” or be someone who is known for something great. We all have a desire to want to be recognized in some form for something that we do or the person that we are; that is human nature. I think that human nature fails us a lot. We have tendencies to want to do things or be involved with people that don’t do anything good for us just for the sake of being accepted. We can sometimes allow ourselves to think that doing things that might not be beneficial to ourselves in order to be accepted is more important than doing things and being with people that are beneficial. That can be a dangerous road.
I have an idea that isn’t something new, by any means. What if instead of trying to be accepted for things that we are not, how about we try to fit in by standing out as the person that we are? Sounds complicated, right? It isn’t, really. We are ALL made as a unique reflection of God. Each and every one of us showcases something great about the One who created us. If we try to be like someone else, we aren’t letting ourselves exemplify all of who God made us to be.
Earlier this month I was in Utah on a fly fishing trip with Deborah (my twin sister), my dad, and my uncle. On our last day of the trip, we decided to stop fishing a few hours before sunset and go see the Pinnacles. If you don’t know what those are, look them up! Anyways, we were driving between the pinnacles and admiring the amazing geology that they display. About halfway through our drive, my dad pointed out that there was a tree that was all by itself of the side of the cliff. Right then, it clicked. While that tree was alone on that cliff, it was doing what it was made to do and it got noticed for doing that. In my life, I want to be more like that tree. While it can be easier to give in to our surroundings and not want to be all of who I’m meant to be, I want to brave the elements and grow and be noticed by the One who’s opinion matters the most; God’s. That tree would not have grown or been noticed if it had not braved the wind, rain, and heavy snow that was pressuring it to fit into the rocks and disappear.
Have you ever read the book The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado? Every time someone in our youth group graduated, our youth leader, Sarah (who has an amazing blog: www.sarahledeboer.com), would give them a copy of the book. In the copy that she gave me when I graduated she wrote, “Judy, Be the tree God created you to be.” While those words are so simple, they could not be more telling (or more appropriate for this post). In our lives, we will have situations and people who want us to give in to the elements of the world and fit in and be accepted with a false sense of acceptance. We should aim to brave those things and grow into the person that God created us to be. Then, we will be accepted by the right people and known for being THAT person…the one who God intended. And who knows; maybe someone will look to you as the “cool kid” and want to follow you and allow God shape them into the person they were made to be.
(P.S. If you read all of that, I commend and thank you because it was a little bit all over the place and it was probably a little hard to follow at times.)