Growing up I never wanted to be known as “square.” I did what I could to fit in with who I deemed were “popular,” but … I just never seemed to make it. That was probably when my feelings of low self-esteem started.
However once I became a Christian in my 30’s I learned that being different was okay! I learned that Jesus made me unique, and created me just as He wanted. But it was hard at times to keep my chin up and remain calm and loving as I walked in my new beliefs, especially when I found myself surrounded by others who didn’t believe like I did.
Being a stay-at-home mom for many years when our son Jeffrey was small helped me grow in my faith, no doubt. I’d hang around other Christians as much as I could. But then would come an issue at Jeffrey’s school or something with a neighbor that would irritate me, and I would find my old way of thinking about things rising back to the surface.
It became really hard for me when I went back to work in the outside world.
After getting Jeffrey on the school bus in the morning, I’d get in my car and drive to work. I’d have on good Christian worship music or a sermon. “Yes – I was ready for the day!” Yet more often than not, the not-so-wholesome-talk of my coworkers eventually started getting to me. I’d try and back away, but eventually I’d find myself starting to join in with their talk because it was hard to always be an outsider.
Then after awhile I’d find myself sometimes taking longer than my scheduled lunch hour, because everybody else did too and nothing bad ever happened to them! Or I’d go in a coworker’s office, close the door and start badmouthing someone who was difficult to be around.
But then I’d get in my car to drive home and there would come the gentle nudging of the Spirit: “Your ears have been listening to the wrong people again. Just because everybody else in the office does something doesn’t mean you’re to do it too. You’re supposed to stand separate and tall and do what’s right.”
The Bible is full of passages about who we should be listening to, and how we should be acting. Psalm 1:1-2 says we’re not to walk and talk the way others do, but instead keep focused on His Word. It says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that bad company corrupts good behavior.
No wonder a lot of Christians try to not be around those who do not believe as they do – it’s just too hard!
Yet that’s not what we’re supposed to do either. Jesus never hesitated to spend time with unbelievers (Mark 2:15) – otherwise how would they learn who He really was?
Ending this post, let me ask a few questions for you to churn through your mind:
- Who do you tend to get your advice from?
- Who do you look to for approval of your choices?
- What is your ultimate guide – the world, or the Word?
Yes, life is definitely a struggle at times. All of a sudden we may realize we’re using sandpaper to start smoothing off the pointy edges of our so-called “square” lives so that we can fit into the round world. But don’t do it! Why? Because you have help available always. God tells us in 1 John 4:4 that the Holy Spirit lives in us, and is more powerful than anything else we can imagine.
Don’t be afraid to stand out! The battle is not yours but God’s. We just need to keep listening to the Right Voice.