So last weekend, I had a poor me weekend. I was tired and achy and stressed and sad that my parents had just left us after an awesome visit and started feeling a full on settling in of – wow, we really live in new jersey now. As in, this is my new life and I kinda miss my old life – and the access to my old friends – and our cute little Dallas house. I was on the road of playing that game forever – and that’s why I turned last weekend into a poor me weekend and watched a few movies – one after the other.
I cuddled up in bed with Netflix and started the scroll. You know the scroll. The one that has you wondering why you even have Netflix. Somedays it’s a bust and other days I’m lifting my arms in a joy pose. Last weekend Netflix was a hit. After hit. After super-outdated-but-still-made-me-cry hit. One of the movies I watched was a story of a Fed Ex manager who got lost at sea, floated to shore and then lived alone on an island for four years, motivated to stay alive by his fiancé’s photo and the company of a volleyball. The other was the true story of a once suicidal man who was inspired to help people after helping his delusional roommate at a psychiatric ward. He used laughter to medicate souls instead of treating ill patients as numbers. And finally, a story of a washed up rocker, who lied his way into a substitute teaching position at a prestigious prep school. He used his temporary students to form a band who competed at the local battle of the bands. Perhaps you’ve seen these movies?
Backing up to the week before when my parents were in town, we watched two other movies that were nearly 40 and 50 years old. One was a story of an abandoned orphan, who fell into luck when Daddy Warbucks rescued her from a horrible caretaker. The other was the story of a dream world made of candy and magic, owned by a man who was quite quirky but deliciously creative.
You may recognize these story lines by now. And how was it that a cast away, a clown doctor, a rocker, an orphan and a candy man all had me crying? What is it about these characters that draws us in?
They didn’t fit in.
In fact, they each did something so tremendous that they began to stand out. Had they conformed to what society or their peers or what “normalcy” tells us to conform to – there would have been no character worthy to watch. Each one of them had an inner drive that set them apart. They were not afraid to push through, stand up for themselves, stand up for what they thought was right over what the world thought was appropriate.
It made me realize that fitting in is easy. Doing what the rest of the people want you to do effectively turns you into a performer – but not necessarily the star. I’m not actually writing this in hopes that everyone would work only to be a star. In fact, I would say do quite the opposite. Don’t perform for others. Be who you are supposed to be, what you have been gifted to be, and realize that the qualities in you that may make you not “fit in” are the very things that will make you stand out.
I love in scripture where it says in Romans 12:3, “…do not think yourself more highly than you ought.” “We have different gifts according to the grace given us,” in Romans 12:6.
When you do find yourself conforming. Living to look like everyone else – take a moment to pray. Ask the Lord what it is that He has gifted you with. Ask your friends and family who know you best – listen with an open mind and go do those things.
As we continue to walk closer to Easter, and begin to think of Jesus and his last days on earth as man, it’s important to remember he walked against the crowd. He did not promote conforming to this world and almost every single word that came out of his mouth was misunderstood or critiqued. Right? But what happened in the end? He stood out. As God’s son. As the one who came to save. His life still saving souls today. Still changing lives for good. Still giving the hopeless, hope.
Though, most of us don’t grow to the level of lazy as I did last weekend and watch Cast Away, Patch Adams, and School of Rock all in one weekend, after coming off a week of Annie over and over and Willy Wonka, to boot. And though I DO NOT CONDONE DEWEY FINN FOR HIS SHANANIGANS, I do appreciate that he did what he loved and that he helped set a couple kids free. (Maybe you could watch one of these movies and see what I’m talking about.)
What do you do when you don’t fit in? Embrace it. Stay true to the gifts and thoughts and focus God has given you – and press on in love. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Romans 12:2.
If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
If it is serving, let him serve.
If it is teaching, let him teach.
If it is encouraging, let him encourage.
If it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously.
If it is leadership, let him govern diligently.
If it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere.
p.s. My husband treated me to a mani/pedi which I really appreciated. I got a fun color because it’s spring. My poor me weekend is officially over.