Friday, August 21, 2009

The Cool Kids

My kids just went back to school. It always amazes me how they want to both "fit in" and yet "stand out." They want to be noticed as unique, cool, or special in some way...but still not stand out too much. If you "stand out" in the wrong way at school; you get picked on. Although those days were long ago for me, I find that I occasionally still struggle with the same thing-socially and as a Christian.

We want to stand out for Christ; and yet maybe not so much that we are looked at as an "alien" but as unique, cool, and special. However, even in the Bible we are told that this world is not our home. "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world..." I Peter 2:11a (NIV) I don't think it will be long before those who are living for Christ will look a bit more like the "alien" in this world.

Just today on the phone my husband and I were talking about how it is easier to "let your light shine" a little. (Especially at work.) You know that old kids song, "This Little Light of Mine?" by Bill Harley:

"This Little Light of Mine, "

"I'm Gonna Let it Shine..."

"...Hide it under a bushel?"

"NO! I'm gonna let it shine!"

We were discussing how sometimes it's easier to tip the bushel up a little and let just the light flow out here and there - you know, when you 're talking with other believers in Christ. Then to conveniently let the bushel drop back down a bit when you're speaking with others who might not believe in Jesus. Not that you are cursing or telling crude jokes; but that you are being more of a "subtle" Christian.

It is a fine line to "fit in" and to "stand out" isn't it?

Can you really be yourself when you're trying to do both?

The irony here is that most of the "cool kids" (socially speaking) are those who are just being themselves. They aren't concerned what everyone else is thinking about them all of the time; they are just themselves. That is what makes them cool. There is no one else who can be them no matter how they try. And people sure try, don't they?

The truth is that we can't "fit in" and "stand out" as Christians in this world. We aren't meant to completely "fit" here.

"Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives." I Peter 2:11-12 (The Message)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. I John 2:15-17 (NIV)

God created each of us as an original masterpiece; "just be'll be great!" And let the light that is within you shine...

On our way to school this morning!

"Just be yourself; you'll be great" taken from Grace Talk With Daveda


RCUBEs said...

Your kids are beautiful! You can tell their excitement with this new school year. That must be a fun ride for them before they reach their destination:school.

We can also be beautiful inside, by letting our actions speak than words, along with just being yourself...Hopefully, when others take notice, they will be inspired to join in this ride before we reach our destination: our heavenly Home. Blessings.

Gretchen said...

We live in the land (near the streams) of salmon. Great object lesson in going against the norm and living for something bigger than yourself (b/c as you prolly know, as soon as they spawn, salmon die).

Great pic.

Trying to live that tension between being freaky christian lady (who is off-putting, if sincere), and not putting my faith out there enough. Guess I need to let Him shine through, and get out of the way.

Mrs. G said...

I struggle with this very thing. Trying to make sure that I am not seen as a "pushy" Christian is making me into a timid one instead. Praise for the Lord doesn't just roll off my tongue around other people and I usually don't say a peep until I know how the other person feels about Christ. This post really spoke to me and I thank you for writing it!

Kathryn said...

Amen, Shanda! May our little light receive so much oxygen outside of its bushel that it grows into a roaring flame, on fire for the Lord! How cool would that be? :-)

PS-Love the photo. :-)

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Love the back to school picture. :) Mom's first full day was today too, and she was nervous.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Great post Shanda. Comparison in my opinion is the root of alot of evil. If we focus on just staying true to who we are people will see that light naturally.

rachel said...

It is amazing that we think that we can fit in and stand out at the same time. We should never fit in here in this world. There should be nothing about us that feels comfortable with the ways of the world. We are aliens here representing a different government. We weren't brought here to become like the world but to represent a different one. We should stand out, look different, talk different, and act different. We should be reflecting the character of our King. If we all could remember this, I believe we would see the bigger picture of our purpose is knowing Jesus Christ and revealing Him to a world who needs Him.

BTW You kids are beautiful!

christy rose said...

sorry! That last comment was from me!

Billy Coffey said...

Oh, I still struggle with this. There's a fine line between standing out and fitting in. But I guess letting your light shine a little isn't much better than not letting it shine at all.

Loved that picture, too!

Life with Kaishon said...

What a great post! I saw your comment on Once Upon a Miracle this morning and stopped over to say hi. I love your blog name and all that it implies! Hope your children have a wonderful year of school : ) So cute!

Shawn said...

Cutie kids! It is hard for kids to be different----for the good----I always just taught my children to feel good about being different. I taught them that there is nothing wrong with creating your own style and being your own person.

Its always worked, so far...

Visiting over from SITS----great blog!

Lamonica Epps said...

Great post. Several Christians have the tendency to try to fit in or act like non-Christians. Christians are making a big mistake when they do that.

Stopping by from SITS

Anonymous said...

Love this. May we always stand out for Jesus in a way that is authentic, unapologetic and compassionate.

Your cool kids shine!

the wild raspberry said...

what a wonderful post! thanks...

Jennifer said...

Hope the kids have a great school year! We definitely are not meant to "fit in" or "be cool" (can say for sure, I've never been the cool kid but totally different thought, there!) and I want to be a light for the Lord! Great thoughts -

Anonymous said...

I really liked this line
"it is easier to "let your light shine" a little" ..oh yes that is SO true.

The way you brought the first day of school and wove it in with our light shining tendancies at work was so insightful.

I saw a kid at our Christian school ...thick rimmed glasses, pants too short...wearing a T-Shirt that read "Jesus Geek"

Now thats cool! :)