Okay, so I did fit in for a season. A too long, too wild, too crazy, too destructive, too potentially deadly season. Yes, when I went from hating alcohol and preaching against it and being the designated driver to become a perfectly over-the-top, entirely unhappy, pretty much suicidal alcoholic, I at least “felt like” I fit in. For alcohol allowed me the “privilege” of doing the stuff that seemed to make people popular. The “cool” stuff. Not so cool – to say the least. But really, after 20 years of sobriety by God’s grace alone, that’s not the point of all this. So what exactly is?
Since God knew me even before I came tumbling out of my mother’s belly some 45 years ago, he knew perfectly well that my history of always being different from the crowd was the perfect preparation for where I am today. Now please don’t get me wrong. Being prepared may be all good and well in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly didn’t feel too pretty along the way – to say the least.
Given a laundry list of attributes like shy, sensitive, scared, intense, studious, serious, and preferring intimate conversations to big social scenes, along with desperately desiring to help people, not to mention having a host of junk that goes with a history of abuse, abandonment, and rejection, well, how’s that for a run-on sentence. Not to mention having a history chock full of sin, ahem.
Like I said in the last book I wrote, I do tend to have a run-on kind of a life. Let’s just say my laundry list of attributes, coupled with the fact I have always (except when I was drinking) had an extreme desire to do what is right instead of what is popular, and to deal with the truth rather than people’s tendency to shove the hard stuff under the rug, can you imagine? This isn’t exactly what makes it to the cover of People Magazine. Nor does it get me invited to oodles of social events. Thank God, by the way.
For if the truth be told, all of this history of feeling different than the mainstream has been the absolute perfect preparation for being a sold-out follower of Jesus Christ. Because if you think following Jesus is about doing what’s pretty and popular, think again. When Jesus says His followers will have to deny themselves and take up their crosses, He wasn’t kidding around. Doing life God’s way is as far off the beaten track as imaginable. Let’s face it. In an ever-darkening world, when sin becomes more popular by the second, I can’t imagine feeling any more different than I feel in maintaining my commitment to seek the Lord’s face and to study His Word and apply His Truth to my life.
If all of this sounds exceedingly unpopular, it certainly is. But this time around, unlike all those years when I felt different because I simply never fit in, I end up with a blessing beyond measure. For while countless people are cashing in their winning lottery tickets, going on expensive vacations, moving up the corporate ladder by the minute, hosting dinner parties that cost more than a Mercedes, decorating houses big enough to house a whole orphanage, sporting diamond rings costly enough to fund a missionary trip to Africa, marrying the men of their dreams, going for their umpteenth graduate degree, guess what.
I’m just me. Different. Nothing special except in the eyes of the Lord. Special only because I am His daughter. And blessed beyond description because instead of having all that stuff that will one day all go away, I have what goes on forever. Jesus Christ, eternal life, and forever with my Father in heaven.
Yes, I’m so different. But this is not such a bad thing after all. In fact, it’s the very best thing ever. Because in place of all the stuff that could make me popular in the eyes of the world, my greatest desire is to love and serve the Lord with all my heart – and to spend forever with Him.
I am so different. And so incredibly blessed. God calls His people “peculiar”, doesn’t He? Different. Peculiar. Call me what you may. As for me, I will call myself blessed. Because for once in my life, I understand that being different is an indescribably beautiful blessing.
11“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:11-14 NASB