I remember being a kid fresh off the boat, wanting so badly to be cool. I chased this ideal from my teenage, well into my young adult years. One thing that seemed part of the initiation into the ‘cool clan’ was the use of swear words. It was the most unnatural thing for me, probably because of my strict upbringing. But I was determined. I wanted to belong, to be accepted as part of something in this new world. So here I was in the middle of conversations, pontifying with expletives to drive home my point. It didn’t suit me. It always felt like I had a pile of hot coal in my mouth, and my tongue was dancing off beat to something in the realm of heavy metal rock and roll. I felt like a fraud. Which left a rather bitter after taste. But this served as an introductory course to the perils of idolatry, and one of many life lessons on how exhausting it is to try to be something you are not.
Years have gone by, and I feel at peace with where I am. Content in who I am. The many cool cats I tried so hard to please are long gone, hopefully thriving in their corners of the world. I doubt any would remember my name or recognize my face in a crowd. Yet, how willing I was to lose myself, meshing into their world. I do sometimes wonder what my life would look like now if things had graduated to other bad habits. The ones that reduce you to a mere shadow of your former self, and aggressively (or slowly but surely) rip the life out of you. Is it too farfetched to think that even in my ungodly state, God was looking out for me? Has this same thought crossed your mind at any point?
I am thankful for mercy. Also, for the (convicting) promptings that I tried with every bit of strength to ignore, but that remained stubbornly persistent. I am thankful that God, in His loving kindness did not give me up to my sins. I am thankful for the prayers of my mother who no doubt spent countless hours on bended knees in supplication for my sake. I am thankful for all the broken places (my brokenness included) that brought me to my knees, to the end of self and led me to life. Today I am thankful for my salvation. For eyes that see, ears that hear, and feet quick to obey. I still gotta work on my patience though, amongst other things. But maybe that’s what this current season in my life is about, removing impurities like impatience and grumbling, while revealing the very face of God, and His outstretched hand holding on to, and guiding me while in the middle. This is part of what it means to be set apart isn’t it? To live in the world, but not by its principles. To be cleansed from the things that break his heart. To wear godliness like skin, not to be removed and hung or shelved when inconvenient. To stay true to yourself (in Christ) even when you are the oddity.
I read a quote yesterday that made me think. It said, “walking with Christ means losing favor with the world”. Christianity is not a walk in a park. It is a narrow path that will require sacrifice, but also one tied with the beautiful bow that is this comforting promise, the Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. (Psalms 37:23-24 NLT)
Walking the ‘odd’ path is for His glory, and my prayer is that we are always guided and guarded by His truth.