Who are you?
Perhaps more importantly, who are you trying to be?
Do you aspire to be popular? Does your life center around your successes and achievements? Are you striving to make yourself act a certain way?
Society pushes us to conform.
We live in a society which encourages individuality and self-expression, yet pushes everyone to conform to its mold. To fit in, we must act, think, and talk a certain way. Most people’s behaviors are directed by what society declares to be popular, as they desperately try to fit in with the world around them.
Our world encourages its inhabitants to fit in. It promotes a casual, “go with the flow” mindset which pushes us to be unique – so long as we aren’t too far from the norm. As human beings, we’re naturally sucked into the trend following nature of our modern day society. After all, to successfully follow the flow of society means to fit in, to find acceptance and perhaps even popularity.
People will go to incredible lengths to find such acceptance, conforming to whatever society declares to be “in” at that point in time. Often the pressure to fit in comes in hidden, almost unnoticeable ways. It appears to be harmless, merely the desire to be modern.
Whether it’s the urge to buy new clothes so we can dress in a popular style, or the impulse to pretend we like something just so we’ll be accepted, there are hundreds of small ways in which this pressure appears.
The closer you are to society, the further you are from God.
Yet as we give in to the desire to meet society’s expectations, its whims gain a greater control over our lives. We begin to sacrifice our values, our personality, our beliefs, and even our faith in God, just so we can appear to fit in. Instead of living for God, we end up living for society and its dictates.
I’ve struggled with this for a long time. The pull to fit in made me try to change who I was depending on the people around me. As a quiet homeschooled kid, I was terrified of being seen as sheltered, weird, or different when hanging out with others. I tried to act the way I assumed everyone wanted me to, hoping desperately that I could “fit in.”
My misguided attempts to act like everyone else, however, only served to make me more insecure about who I was. I stopped looking to God for my identity, and instead sought it in the people around me. I started to let society dictate who I was – and learned that it’s an awful way to live.
After continually trying – and failing – to find peace and fulfillment in my attempts to fit in, I began to realize that living in such a way doesn’t bring happiness, or even a true sense of fitting in. When we’re willing to sacrifice every part of our identity just to be accepted, we lose sight of ourselves.
Worst of all, however, we lose sight of Christ.
Christ needs to define our identity.
In a world that gives us a thousand different messages on who we should be and how we should act, it seems impossible to truly figure out who we are. Yet as Christians we find our identity in Jesus. The Bible clearly tells us that we are a new creation, we don’t belong to this world anymore, and we need to act as such.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
We don’t need to try to “find ourselves” in this confusing world of contradictions. Instead of seeking for our true selves and following the desires of our ever changing hearts – as society would have us do – we must fix our eyes on Christ.
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
The use of the word perseverance in that verse is key. Life is not easy – and living a life that unashamedly proclaims Christ’s love will be even more difficult. We will encounter conflict, confrontation, and persecution.
Through it all, we must learn to keep our eyes on Jesus, to focus on living for Him. Difficult though it is, we must stop caring what others think of us. We need to learn to let go of the desire to fit in with the world around us and instead embrace living differently for Christ.
Be different because you belong to Christ.
As Christians, a lot of who we are goes against society’s expectations for us. Our behavior, our interests, even what we spend our time doing, changes when we call Christ our Lord. This means that as a Christian, we have to be comfortable going against the grain and standing up for our beliefs. We need to expect not to fit in – and to accept that.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
We are called to be different, to stand up for Christ and to wholeheartedly, unashamedly live for Him with our entire lives. No matter the pressure to conform to this world, we must live for God and keep our lives centered around Him. Do not let yourselves be polluted by the world, Roses.
Ever since she was little, Julia has loved to create things with words. As she’s grown in life, she’s seen and experienced how God’s love can restore and give hope. She writes with the goal of shining God’s light for others and pointing them toward a greater hope. As a contributing writer for the Wilting Rose Project, she hopes to encourage other young women, reminding them of the one who gives us our worth.