As I see it: dare to be different

I think people-watching is fascinating. Sometimes you see someone who really stands out, but mostly it’s like observing schools of fish in a large aquarium. (Photo by Robby van Moor used under Creative Commons license.)

By Patty Juliuson, Columnist

I was going to write a little article about why I have a broom in my shower, but I got distracted watching people, so you’ll just have to live wondering.

I think people-watching is fascinating. Sometimes you see someone who really stands out, but mostly it’s like observing schools of fish in a large aquarium. We think America is a culture of rugged individualists, but often our uniqueness extends only to our Starbucks order.

“Yes, hi- I’ll have a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot (two shots decaf, two shots regular) latte with whip.”

Generally, we flock to the familiar and hang around with people who look, dress and act like us.

As Christians, we are called to be different.  In Titus 2:14 and I Peter 2:9, God’s Word labels us “peculiar,” which, according to Strong’s Concordance, gives the idea of “being beyond usual; special.” The Encarta Online Dictionary defines the term as, “unusual, strange or unconventional” or “unique, belonging exclusively to or identified distinctly with somebody or something.” Now, I’m sure we can all admit we know people who are flat-out strange, but when I talk about being different, I don’t mean coming across like a freak show. My kind of peculiar means unique, because I belong exclusively to Jesus Christ and want to be identified distinctly with Him.

It’s not always comfortable being different, but as a Christian, I am compelled to show an exterior that contrasts with the world around me. No one can read my heart; people only hear what I say and see how I look, how I act and how I treat others.  For me, that means that I make a conscious decision to be kind, to have a positive outlook, to dress modestly, to live according to the Bible principles I have learned. I do a lot of things that are different from the mainstream, and I don’t do a lot of things that the mainstream might think acceptable. This is my choice; it is how I live out the faith that is within me.

Granted, it’s not easy bein’ me. Sometimes I am so full of joy at the great gift of salvation, I want to throw my arms in the air and sing and dance. (Trust me, people, that behavior is not always appreciated.) Sometimes I want SO MUCH for other people to understand the great treasure they can have in Christ, I wish I could pour out all the blessings in my heart so that they could get just a glimpse of the goodness of God. Sometimes, I am tired, grumpy, worried, upset, frustrated and too human. That’s when I realize my life is not all about me and that I can take my problems to the Lord rather than take it out on someone else. I need to appropriate and act on what I know is right rather than react according to my feelings. Think about it: If I look, think and act just like non-believers, what is the value of the gospel message I share?

I pray that you, too, will know Him as “Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ the everlasting Lord,” and that your relationship with Him will give you the courage to be different.

Have a great holiday and stay safe! See you in class.