Most people spend the better part of their lives seeking to become the image of the person that the world considers “successful”. Every day in our country we are bombarded with propaganda telling us what beauty is, what happiness looks like, and what type of person we need to become to achieve all of the worldly riches that we desire. We idolize, we obsess, and we critique ourselves against what the masses have determined to be ideal. Our society has transformed into a silent pressure cooker. It’s no wonder that there are more individuals facing anxiety, depression, and other mental health related setbacks than ever. There is perhaps nothing more draining emotionally and psychologically than living a life that is not our own.
Before I came to know Christ I was living a life that was the image of one which I had perceived would be well regarded by the masses. I purchased things that I couldn’t necessarily afford and moved quickly to take significant financial risks that would allow me to temporarily advance one aspect of my life or another. I worried about how I looked to everyone – not just friends, family, and members of the opposite sex, but professional connections as well. I was very insecure. On the surface, I may have appeared a confident individual, but that wasn’t really the case at all. A man who is truly comfortable in his own skin does not seek the approval of anyone other than the Lord Himself.
I had spent all of the early part of my life quietly begging for the support of others. And it was not until I came to know God that I began to understand how misguided I had been all along. When I surrendered my life to Christ, waves of clarity and truth began to wash over me. I quickly realized how wrong I had been in my assumptions about life. I was finally able to distinguish between God’s vision for my future and the world’s. And I loved His plan. It was so liberating. It was as if I was taking my first breath all over again. I hadn’t realized how confining and debilitating my life had been. I became a new man – a free man. Seeking no approval other than His, I found myself pursuing the talents and gifts that He had provided me, fulfilling a mission that had purpose and heart behind it. I asked for the permission of no one as I knew I had His blessing, and that was all that mattered to me.
I pursued God’s path for my life for about a year and a half, and then the world dug its claws into me again. I became distracted by financial considerations and material things, and although I remained a faithful Christian, I began trying to do things on my own and not according to His plan. And quickly I began reliving the failures of my life prior to my rebirth in Christ. I stopped putting my full trust in God to lead me and as a result I began living my days filled with internal turmoil and conflict. There was the person who I wanted to be and then the person that the world was urging me to become. I didn’t like that person at all, but I felt such an urgency to comply that I began to override my faith on a regular basis. And those decisions only led me to further despair.
Thankfully, God has had mercy on me, offering me a second chance to right the ship. And I plan to make the most of it this time around. Life is a battleground. You will be pressured until the day that you die to make decisions that may not correspond with who you are as a person in Christ. There will be society driven perceptions of wealth, beauty, and success infiltrating your well-being from all angles. You will need to learn to tune out the noise and turn up your faith. You cannot trust the world. But you can trust God.
The desire to fit-in can be overwhelming in this life. The good news is that you have a choice. Choose not to fit in. You don’t need anyone’s permission to live your life pursuing the mission that God has designated you. No one can criticize you for the way that you look, for the car that you drive, or for the home that you live in. You are the creation of a perfect God – He does not make mistakes. Your gifts are special. They might be unique by this world’s standards, but that could be the very reason that you were given them. You may have something revolutionary to share…so get to it, we need you! Do things differently. Stand out. Break the trends. Be secure in your faith and in yourself. The world needs to change and it’s not going to send you an invitation to join the action committee. You need to take the lead…permission has been granted.
May God Bless!