“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.” Matthew 7:13 NLT
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” Mark Twain
When I was younger and not so much younger, I wanted to fit in. Survival. It was how I survived some turbulent times. However, fitting in requires so much! It requires not being you, the you God designed. Saying things that aren’t enriching. Wearing things I don’t want to wear. Controlling others. Trying to control God with manipulative prayers.
I’m thinking about tattoos. I’ve been pressured to get a tattoo and I went along with the idea describing the rose or hummingbird tattoo I’d like. (Black sheep tattoo?) No offense if you have a tattoo. But I really, really don’t want one. I was tempted big to think this would bond me to my family. Everyone in my family has a tattoo and the pressure was pretty thick for me to get one. That’s fine for them. I appreciate their enjoyment of their tattoos. The stories. It’s just really not my “thing.” I still don’t have a tattoo. There’s pressure from family and others to drink alcohol. Believe me, I want to be filled with the spirit, I want the initial buzz (short lived), but history has shown me with much embarrassment and shock, that’s not being filled with the spirit. It’s being numb, unaware and poisoned. That’s not where I fit. It’s like squeezing into a pair of tight pants or worse. Statistics and personal experiences show how life-damaging alcohol is for the drinkers and their families. However, if you can drink responsibly, hooray for you. I’ve used alcohol to survive grief and stress. Survival. Not a badge of honor. It always demands a horrific price.
Where do I fit? Now that question really hits where I live. God shows us who we are. We were made in his image. No other creature was made in God’s image. The Bible is full of examples of heroes and especially Jesus. The Biblical heroes were not perfect but God used them right where they were even in the midst of their sin. There are examples in life, too. When someone gives to charity, helps a struggling person, overcomes an addiction, adopts a stray animal, listens and counsels another with tenderness – what an image of God! And it’s work. Tons and tons of work. First, I need to know who I am— God’s child and that’s just the beginning. Second, I need to know my gifts—this requires soul-searching and failures—humility. Third, I need to practice and practice. Fourth, I need to do it with him because apart from him I can do nothing. But most of all, I lift up my arms to the father as a child does for affection, warmth and trust. Embracing life. Not just survival.
The time for survival is gone. Done. History. It’s time for living with openness and thankfulness while anticipating God’s will. He loves us more than anyone and only wants what’s good for us and his purpose. What is God’s will for us? It starts and ends with today. What are my responsibilities and only my responsibilities? Who do I need to love today? (It could be you). How can I make a difference today? Openness to his leading and voice. God’s will is today. The future is his.
Thank you that we have today. We can’t live in the past or anticipate the future. That’s not our job. Thank you that it’s yours. Thank you that give immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to your power that is at work within us. We are yours. “We shall overcome.”