I had a strange dream a few nights ago. I dreamed that Mark had been somewhere and when he got home he told me he had a surprise for me. He very excitedly reached into a bag and pulled out… a denim skirt. With a HUGE grin on his face he proclaimed, “So you can fit in with all the other homeschool moms!”
******** DISCLAIMER: In case you are not familiar, someone, somewhere, decided that homeschooling and denim skirts go hand in hand. It’s almost like it is a uniform of sorts. Personally, I feel if we were to have a uniform it would need to consist of a T-shirt that I have. It is red with a big white outline of a stop sign on the front that says “Please STOP talking” But I don’t make the rules. ************
Even in my dream I remember looking at him and thinking, “Excuse me? Has fitting in EVER been high on my priority list?” I woke up right after that. It made me start thinking about some of the things throughout my life that go against the flow. I can remember in elementary school missing two words on spelling tests. They were on different tests, but both in first grade. Color and airplane were the words. I spelled them: colour and aeroplane. Some of my favorite childhood books, such as Paddington and Winnie the Pooh, were British. Personally I think I should have gotten bonus points for being able to spell them in a different language (English, as opposed to American, ha-ha) but alas, I do not make the rules. Once in high school a friend asked me what I watched the night before on TV. It was not the day after The Wonder Years or Quantum Leap so I said I didn’t watch TV the night before, which is what I normally answered when she asked. She said, “Gah! You never watch anything! You are so weird!” Same girl asked me another time who was my favorite singer. I said Michael Crawford. She said she had never heard of him. She then asked me if he was related to Cindy. I asked her Cindy who. Friend looked at me as if I had worms crawling out of my head. (Keep in mind I was a teen in the ’90s. Cindy Crawford was only the biggest supermodel the world had ever seen.) My senior year, another friend and I started bringing our lunches in plastic cartoon character lunchboxes. People made fun of us. Still, she kept bring Herself the Elf and I kept bring Beauty and the Beast. You know what happened? Other people eventually started bringing kiddie lunchboxes, too. Not the whole school, mind you, but some people.
I think my whole life God has shaped me into a non-conformist. As Christians, we are not supposed to follow along with the world. We are to be different. (Romans 12: 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.) Going along with the world and worldly things is not our calling. Sometimes what may be popular could also be the very things that God wants us to avoid. Look at the world of entertainment. Some of the most popular video games, songs, books, movies, TV shows, magazines, videos, etc, are very ungodly. They glorify things such as fornication, demon activity, sorcery, witchcraft, drug usage, foul language, cross dressing and so forth. Add disobedience to parents and you have the plot to most of what is considered “Young adult” or “Teen” entertainment. When we are entertaining ourselves with things that we know are are ungodly we are like the people in Romans 1:32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Wow. That is some strong language to think about. There are songs I used to like. But after listening to them through a filter of being God-approved, I can not seem to enjoy them anymore, such as the Pina Colada Song. The tune may be catchy, but the lyrics are about two married people who are tired of each other. They each decide to meet someone through an ad in the paper. In the end, they wind up meeting their new lovers in a bar, only to discover each other. Granted, compared to a lot of music, that may be very tame. It is still not something that I would grow closer to God by listening to, so it is out of my song world.
Another way we are to be different is in how we talk. Ephesians 5:4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. We need to watch what we say. Our words have immense power. This verse is not something we should only practice in church, although more and more churches need to be reminded of it. We should remember not to have filthiness, foolishness, or crude joking in our mouths at any time. This includes the internet. I am shocked by some of the things that people will put as a facebook status. I have a friend on there who is an atheist. He is not the one who puts things that make me wish I had bleach for my brain. As a matter of fact, I recently “unfriended” a popular preacher because he has been putting some comments that were just a little too far “out there” to be in good taste. Christian friends, we need to watch what we say. You never know who might be looking, but we do know who IS looking. God. Psalm 139 7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
I could go on about other ways we might lower our standards to fit in. But in the end, do we really want just fit in? Do we really want to be like other people? I don’t. I want to be special. I want to be the me that God made me to be. I do not want to concern myself with worldly preoccupations. The kinds of things I want to be thinking about are listed in Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Let me leave you with what could be an anthem for all of us non-conformists.