Top of the morning to you, dear readers!
I hope you’re having a wonderful week, and I’m so excited for today’s topic, so let’s dive right in…cue the suspenseful music! 😉
At any point during my childhood, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I more than likely would have said “mermaid-fairy-princess-spy”—not kidding. I’m not sure exactly what book or movie gave me my love for detectives and spies, but for whatever reason, I wanted night-vision binoculars and walkie-talkies for my birthday just as much as I wanted the latest Barbie princess doll.
Looking back, I think that part of the reason the concept of spies and detectives appealed to me was because the good guy spies were always fighting against something evil for the sake of something good and morally upright.
In fact, think about your favorite books, movies, and TV shows—I’ll bet a good chunk of them center around the concept of the protagonist rebelling against something unfair, unideal, or downright evil to stand for truth or justice. After all, if the status quo never changes, we wouldn’t have a story of any kind.
Although not spy-related, one of my favorite books, the Newberry Award-winning Strawberry Girl, focuses on the Boyer family, who battles against nature and the prejudices of their neighbors to raise a strawberry crop in early 20th century Florida. As a child, I always loved how Birdie Boyer (basically the real-life Strawberry Shortcake 😉 ) was constantly taking peoples’ criticism and negativity in stride and managed to lead her family to success in the strawberry industry. Even though the Boyers are a fictional family, it’s because of real-life people like them who stood strong in the face of naysayers that we even have Florida agriculture today (and as a Florida 4-H kid for life, I’m forever thankful for that 😉 ).
Moving into more real, serious stuff—one of my life role models and inspirations is Corrie Ten Boom, the lady who chose to hide and aid Jews in her home during WWII even though she knew she was rebelling against the Nazis and could so easily be imprisoned and harmed because of it. In fact, she was imprisoned for it—for years. If you haven’t read The Hiding Place, the true account of her life, I totally recommend it—it is a constant source of inspiration for me to always live life with the Lord as my hiding place and refuge, and to never be afraid to stand up for Biblical principles.
Here’s the thing—in an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to rebel because there wouldn’t be any prevalent evil, prejudice, or harmful societal norms to rebel against. However, the unfortunate truth is that we live in a fallen, sin-filled world, and this side of heaven there will always be evil. But here’s the other thing—we aren’t of this fallen, sin-filled world. Jesus tells us in John 15:18-19:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
I know this might seem a little depressing at first, but think about it…like we talked about in the Dump Doll post, it’s okay if bad people don’t like you—in fact, it probably means you’re doing something right. In this case, we believers belong to God as His children. He’s never going to leave our side, and our names are written in His book of life. This means that we get to be representatives of His love and truth in this fallen world—and I think that’s pretty cool.
Like we’ve talked about before on the blog, it is so easy to get pressured into complying with worldly practices, whether that’s as simple as swearing or as complex as adultery. It’s so ironic to me that even though our society tends to preach uniqueness and individuality, we all end up following the same trends anyway. I’m certainly not perfect–it’s sometimes fun to be up on the latest thing, and I’m not saying that all mainstream things are bad…but how many times recently have you bought a makeup product just because a YouTuber said they like it, or watched a movie just because critics rate it highly? I’m stating the obvious here, but those influencers aren’t always right.
Unfortunately, worldly influence goes way beyond products and media…how many self-harmful practices can you name that people engage in simply because they’re common, trendy, or “what’s done”? We’ve talked about eating disorders here on the blog before, but another one that stands out to me is the common practice girls have of collecting, trading, and dumping boyfriends like baseball cards. I’ve personally known girls who are incredibly beautiful, intelligent, and talented, but choose to sacrifice their self-esteem time and again because of dating and boyfriends. Simply because it’s “what’s done”, they choose to get boyfriends as early as age thirteen and get an ego boost by posting all about it on social media, only to break up six months later and have a confidence crash. That cycle of acceptance, “love”, and rejection—it can be lethal. I promise, I’m not trying to drop judgement on those girls—I dearly love the ones that I know personally, and I’m not saying that they’re dumb or bad people—but observing from a friend’s position, it’s just plain damaging.
As children of God in this dark world, we are constantly pushed to comply with practices like this, and often are threatened with negative consequences if we don’t. If you don’t believe me, it’s called peer pressure—look it up. Even though the Bible clearly tells us we aren’t of this world, we often tend to hang over the edge of the fence, looking wistfully at those things we know we shouldn’t do but wish we could so we could “fit in” or feel accepted.
However, rather than look at this as a negative thing, like, “Ugh, I can’t do (fill in the blank) because I’m a Christian and the Bible says not to”, flip that around: when you follow the Bible and don’t do that thing, you’re sticking it to the man—the man being the world—and that’s kinda groovy.
Recently, in my own life, I’ve been observing enormous peer pressure at my new community college to not get good grades. On the last test in my biology class, out of a class of thirty people, twenty-two people got Fs. In case you’re wondering, that’s 73% of the class. When asked by someone what grade I got, before I even said anything, he rolled his eyes and said, “oh, probably perfect, right?” Nearly the same thing happened in my calculus class, and it isn’t because the teachers are bad or the material is exceptionally hard. I think it’s simply because the culture is one of low achievement—that not trying too hard is cool.
Instead of taking the perspective that I’m a suck-up nerd because I do try hard and study a lot, I’m choosing to flip that mentality around this semester—every time I work hard and get a good grade, I remind myself that I’m sticking it to the man (“the man” being low-achieving culture) and honoring God by doing whatever my hand finds to do with all of my might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). You can apply this to anything—by not doing drugs, not smoking, or not being sexually immoral, you’re sticking it to the mainstream culture man.
Here’s another way to wrap your head around it…
At some point in time, it became cool to be anti-establishment (“establishment” meaning any prevalent belief or practice in society), or to use a more modern term, hipster…but if everyone is anti-establishment, then the uniqueness of that goes away—you’ve only made a new establishment. If you’re not familiar with this new establishment, simply turn on a major network television show or walk through a crowded mall on a Saturday.
So, if the establishment we’re looking at is Biblical principles and traditional morals, and the new societal standard has become anti-establishment immorality, when you choose to adhere to those Biblical beliefs you’re actually being anti-anti-establishment…
…and that makes you a double-agent.
If that sounds awesome, it’s because it is. 😉
When you don’t give in to peer pressure and the world telling you to do things you know are wrong, you’re not the one with a problem. I know this sounds obvious, but when we’re in the middle of friends and colleagues, it is so easy to get bullied into feeling like we’re the weird ones, and that it’s our own fault we don’t fit in. In case you forgot, the Bible tells us that we don’t fit into the world because we belong to God and His world. That’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
Especially if you’re a teenager or young person, you’re in a special position because the world already has a host of preconceived notions of what you should be doing and thinking. In many people’s minds, teenagers are obnoxious, disrespectful brats—but you’re a double agent, remember? You have the opportunity to flip that on its head and be an awesome kid who respects their parents, is kind to those around them, and makes a difference for God each and every day.
Am I saying that you need to wear a trench coat, use 1930’s detective slang, and put a black-and-white filter on all your Instagram photos in order to be a double agent for God? No, although major bonus points if you do. 😉
I am saying that you never need to feel ashamed about standing up for what the Bible says is right, and not fitting in with the world. In a society of trends, I challenge you—no, I dare you—to start your own trend. Be the first person to reach out. Be the person who says no to a damaging habit. Be the one who does the right thing. Stick it to the mainstream man.