As a young girl I always knew I was little different. I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to feel like everyone else. I wanted to be liked by everyone else.
As I grew older there were times when more and more, I didn’t like myself very much. So I tried to blend in. But it didn’t work. And eventually I gave up. And then, as if in response to my inability to blend in, I tried very, very hard to be different.
I championed different. I made an art out of different. And much to my dismay I still didn’t like myself very much. And then I found Christ. And He loved me. I accepted Him. And He accepted me. He forgave me. He became my best friend. And suddenly, it wasn’t so important to blend in. And just as suddenly, I found that I was “apart of” something beautiful. Because Christ accepted me, I was acceptable and accepted. It felt good. It felt comfortable. I had been a broken caterpillar, and now I was a beautiful butterfly, still bruised, but made whole and healing.
The years went by. And, through the years, I grew even more comfortable.
Then, a few months ago, my husband wanted me to get a piercing. I know, very different. The thing is, in the early nineties, before piercings and tattoos and dreadlocks were cool. I had them all. As I grew up in Christ, I let go of the piercings, and the tattoos are normally covered. The dreadlocks I’ve kept. In fact, about four months ago I added pink, and then purple. And now, I’ve got a piercing.
I’ll admit, at first, I was uncomfortable with the glances. I’ve developed pretty conservative views, and as such we socialize and worship with people who share similar views. But, I’ve realized something very interesting. I had gotten too comfortable. God rescued me from a life so deep in sin I thought it would drown me. But, although I am rescued, I am still very unique. I am different. And I am beautiful in God’s eyes. So instead of hiding in the camouflage of cookie-cutter Christianity.
I think I’ll break loose.
And with the Holy Spirit, I’ll reflect the redeeming and delivering love of Christ.
And maybe I’ll encourage someone else to break free.
And together we’ll reflect, remind, comfort, encourage, and love the lonely, hurting, lost, and least of these.
Because it is only by breaking from the camouflage, that we will truly be able to go before the world and reflect Christ.
I’m not sure what God has done in your life. What hangups, habits and hurts He has delivered you from. But, there is someone who needs to hear what God has done in your life. They need to know that your life isn’t perfect, and that different is okay. They need to know that you’ve been, or sometimes feel, lost, lonely, bound, or afraid. They need to hear what God has brought you through, and that God loves them. And yes, if they are caught up in sin, we should not ignore it, but restore them gently, carrying their burdens with love, mercy and grace. For we are all called to a ministry of forgiveness, healing, comfort, and restoration. And when those to whom we have ministered to are victorious, it is not simply they who have overcome, but we have overcome together. That is the body of Christ in action.
Each of us different, yet one in Christ.