So, we are on day 14. Wow, we are almost halfway there! That's insane. As you can tell by the title of today's lesson, it is very close to another one that we talked about a few days ago "Be yourself". Today's lesson is similar but more specific. Have you ever had an adult in your life ask you "if your friends jumped off of a bridge would you jump too?" Well this lesson is kind of like the answer to that question.
I actually learned this lesson very young, and my brother taught it to me. When we were younger we used to get really excited about school shopping. You know you get the new clothes, the new book bag, the new materials, and it's all very exciting. But when you grow up poor, and you get to school with your stuff, and you see everybody else has nicer stuff with the name brands, and people being so excited about their name brand things, and looking at you like "well you have clothes". It can be a little bit sad, because then you get into the whole comparison thing: My shoes are not like your shoes and my clothes are not like your clothes. So I would be envious of some of the shiny things that my classmates had. Then one day my brother saw me moping about, and he asked me what was wrong. I told him, and he asks me "Well didn't you like your stuff?" and then he says one of the simplest but most impactful things to me, he said something along the lines of:
"You don't have to like what other people have. You don't have to follow trends. Set them. I mean if you like it because you like it, then that's fine. But to like something or to do something because everyone else does, is dumb. Set your own trends. " - Ricot
Pretty deep for a teenager right? lol! Yeah. But I tell you what though, I have applied that to not just clothes, but to life. The lesson is:
YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING!
In the world as we know it today - with social media - it can become very easy to join the bandwagon, to agree with the popular thought, and to join in what everyone else is doing. It can be a pretty scary thing to go against the popular vote. It seems as though most of us are not built for it. But the reality is, you are. Your fingerprint alone is a sign that you are built for it because just by being you, you're already different.
There are going to be many times in life when you are granted the privilege of not thinking like everyone else, the question is, will you recognize the power you have in those moments, or will you succumb to the fear of not being liked?
I remember when I was first transferred to a different school in the 6th grade. This girl decided she just didn't like me and convinced everyone to ignore me and bully me. Her name was Alicia Love, I'll never forget it. I was so confused, I'd never been bullied before, and here I am at a new school, with no one I knew, and everyone hates me. I was MISERABLE. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I fell into such a depression. There were two students though, Christina and Galland, they were both Christians, and they dared to be different. Even though it wasn't "cool" to talk to me or be nice to me, they did anyways. It didn't make sense to them, they didn't agree with it, so they didn't follow it. . I am so grateful that they knew they didn't have to be like everyone else. They sacrificed not being liked and risked possibly being bullied themselves, to stand up for what was right. They were my glimmer of light in the day, it made me feel so much less alone
Fast forward years later and I'm in high school now. I have found my way out of being bullied, and I was on the other side now. I had friends, extracurricular activities, and a slightly better sense of joy. I find myself in a room with some friends during lunch, and I overhear them planning to embarrass this girl when she walks into the room. Now I felt very wrong about this, but I didn't want to speak up because I didn't want to risk going back into the abyss of not being liked again. But the Holy Spirit swelled up inside me and reminded me that He made me different for a reason. So I spoke up and made them stop their plan. She is still my good friend to this day, and she still doesn't know that she was about to walk into a trap that day. To her, it was just another day.
You see, sometimes God will give you the honor of having a different perspective. God will give you the honor of giving you insight into something that nobody else does. God will give you the honor of being different. So I ask you again, will you recognize the power you have in those moments, or will you succumb to the fear of not being liked?
Whether standing up for something you know is right, bringing up an idea that is outside of the norm, having a different swag than everyone else, or whatever it might be; know that there is beauty in being different. It is those that dare to be different that end up shaking the world. Don't follow trends, set them. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing. So the next time you have the opportunity to not follow the crowd, will you recognize the power you have at the moment, or will you succumb to the fear of not being liked?
Lighting up the woods, one Syllable at a time