What do you think it means to be different? Does it mean that you think in a unique way from others? What about how you take care of your outward appearance, is that what it means? Or maybe it is the way in which you live out your life? Or what about the kind of house you live in, or even the way you raise your family? What is it that you think makes a person different?
I was just thinking about these questions over this last week, and then one of my books I have been reading talked about this very thing in today’s reading! So I decided to explore this a little bit with you. I think we have always had trouble being different. We have grown up competing with each other. If a child has a birthday party that is out of this world, then we think we have to do that too or kids wouldn’t come for our child’s birthday because it wouldn’t be as cool. It might be a friend that has a really expensive prom dress, we feel we should too because she we feel we have to compete to make a statement about ourselves. After all, we want to look good. Maybe I am a home owner, and I see someone who got a new house… then all of a sudden, mine doesn’t look as nice. I begin to desire to make some changes in my house to feel better. Let’s say that I am a young gal, and I choose to make a choice to dress modestly, wear less make up or no make up at all, or I don’t go to parties and drink or smoke. That would definitely put me in the “different” category. What if I chose to follow Jesus no matter what the costs were to me or the changes I might need to make to follow Him where HE leads, instead of where I want to go? Getting the idea? We are constantly comparing ourselves to a standard that really may only be average at best. Because if we are choosing to live differently, than we wouldn’t be comparing ourselves to the same people. We would look to other types of people to admire. We would be looking for what is Godly, not what the world has.
Let’s look deeper…when we were young, we may have grown up with ideas of what our lives would be:
- I’m going with this guy or gal, and I think its serious.
- We will get married.
- Have our own home.
- Have children.
- Be a close-knit family and enjoy doing things together.
- He will take out the garbage, she will be a good cook.
- We will have enough income and be able to travel here and there.
- If you are a Christian, then you will marry a guy who is a Christian, or, you might even think that if he isn’t a Christian, he will come to the Lord after you get married.
- Then…the kids…he will be a great dad and help with the children.
- She will be a great mom and be able to handle the children and the house and cooking and washing and…
…and all these ideas of what our life would be like is what we sort of grow up expecting to happen. We may have heard that there will be struggles, but we can handle that…together. We love each other! Right?
Then comes the struggles. Let’s say for the sake of sharing, that you are now into that life of expectations and as you sit in your chair with a messy house, crying kids maybe, not even the house you planned because it may be an apartment, and you may be even asking yourself, “What you are doing here.? Where did I go wrong?” So and so seems to be doing just fine. Here comes a thought…If I had what she had, I could do fine too. Maybe you experience a loss of a parent, child, spouse, or, just lost yourself in your efforts to make things better. You begin asking yourself where God is in all of this. For some reason, we don’t think God had THIS in mind when He was talking about struggles. It’s not supposed to be that way for Christians or good people. We get disillusioned. Our thinking goes south, along with our faith.
You know, one day I was wishing something in my life was like my friends, and God very clearly told me, “If you want what she has, you would need to be willing to live ALL her life. Do you want to live her life? Then you have to take all of her life with it. You don’t get to pick and choose what you want of hers.” I thought about the struggles that have been part of her life, and decided I didn’t want to put that on my plate either. I had enough of my own. But it cleared up something for me. We compare ourselves to someone or something, but we don’t really know much about what goes on in their lives. Young people think another friend’s life is great, and that their life is really hard. However, they don’t know all the trials that person goes through each night at home. Or let’s talk about the home idea…we don’t know the sacrifices that a family has made together to have the home they have, or the trip to Norway they can take (Me). Maybe there have been very frugal in all their family activities, so that, they can have a home that is debt free or a lower mortgage because of the choices they have been making all along! You might think, “She has a closer relationship with Jesus than I do it seems. She is always so happy.” Well…you can bet it is because she has done something different from most…spent time with Jesus and she gets herself into the Word. She has spent time in prayer and because of her commitment, she is seeing results in her spiritual life and her daily living. Those that are considered different are different because they think differently, and live their lives differently. They are different because…they are different. It isn’t because we can’t stop comparing, we can. But we have to change our the way we think; our perception.
In my life, I have chosen to live differently than most. Some may even find my life a bit strange. But I know the joy that comes from doing my life this way, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I have had some real hard struggles, no doubt. I have times that I wish something wasn’t what it is, but I can always come back to God with the knowledge that He knows what is best in everything! Personally, I would rather live in a tiny house, with little possessions, with love, my camera, and my family than anything else that money can buy. It’s kind of like the book I was reading. The author talked about the fact that if I wanted to be different, I am going to have to be different! I agree!
Let me share something you may not know. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a pastor’s wife. I felt that was a calling. I also wanted to teach choral music, or travel with a group. I also wanted a family orientated Christian man in my life. None of those desires came to pass. However, I made the choices I made, even when I think at times God was telling me to make other choices. So what do we do with that? I’m not disappointed. I found other ways of being involved in those areas that have been very satisfying to me. I come to understand God’s forgiving ways, and ask Him to make where I am MORE of what He wants for me. Does that mean I haven’t made some other choices that I could have made differently? Nope that’s not true. But I ask God to make the choices I have made into more of what He would desire for me. He has. He has helped me have a life of joy and restored some areas that were difficult. Not all of them, but many! I have also determined that I go to Him first with any decision I am making and He helps me choose what is right. Takes the pressure off of me!
We would be so much better off if we realize that if God has our lives in His hands, then everything we do or have, is from Him. That includes the house we live in that isn’t quite what we want, or the car you drive all your life that you pray will start, but because you are diligent, he gives you your dream car later in life (me, because He gave me husband that thinks having a dream car is important enough to sacrifice for). Or it may mean less of a wardrobe because you aren’t trying to impress someone with your clothes OR cover up insecurities by dressing to the “nines”. Maybe less in all areas for the sake of a getaway with your sweetheart or family. Living debt free, while so many others have credit card debt. Not getting credit cars just because you can. THAT is being different!! Spending consistent time in the Word…that is different for many. We often don’t give God enough of our time. Let us not look to what isn’t in our lives, but to what IS! Let those youthful ideas of how your life would be, go on the wind and let God replace them with the joys of what is today. Live in THIS moment, not in the past, or in a world of constant comparison. What is going on next to you isn’t for you. God has a design just for you. Live it out. I have a good life, and supportive family that I love very much. I don’t take it for granted. And when I feel the rub of doing life differently, so that, I have a different life, I just ask God to help me do the next right thing with His grace.
GO BE DIFFERENT SO YOU CAN BE DIFFERENT! Remember, God may even be the “instigator or the rub” because it is the only way to move you forward. Step up!
From my Norgeshyatta (Norwegian Cabin) to your heart and soul…