Neil - Changes and Growth

Growing and Discerning...After the Heart of God

Monday, March 27, 2006

Conformity

Well well well - here I am again, on a Monday evening, and it is absolutely GORGEOUS outside. Pennsylvania may have the longest most miserable winter on the planet...But nothing beats the fall and springs here...That's the truth. There may not be the beautiful thunderstorms I love so much about Kansas, but nothing beats a WINDLESS 50 or 60 degree day. I got to run today with shorts on! Something I always look forward to. OH, and I haven't picked a half-marathon to run yet, BUT, I am going to be running in a 5k through Downtown Chicago Easter weekend with my sister and future Brother-in-law, so I'm looking forward to that!

Anyways, this past weekend we went to Jumonville with our Youth Group, and the guest speaker was Stuart Hall, a great speaker. He did a great job of speaking to the proper audience, and speaking in a way that was understandable to the kids(high school, and Jr. High). AND, I was able to get a lot out of what he was saying as well. His first talk was over Romans 12:2-3.(Oh yea, it SNOWED up there too...And there was a dead guy found up in the mountain a couple weeks before, but that's another story).

"Do not conform any longer 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. For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

His main theme seemed to be the idea of conformity. The world today has become obsessed with non-conformity. Our culture teaches us to be different. What does this mean? Rebellion...And I as well as everybody my age witnessed and experienced this. We all want to be "different," so what do we do? We wear trench coats, we get tattoos, we get 20 piercings, we shop at salvation army, we skateboard, wear lose pants, we have sex, we wear preppy clothes, we steal thing, etc. It's true. The fact is, we try so hard to be different, that essentially we become the same. We all become "different" from societal standards, and are the same as everybody else. AND let me make clear that I don't see anything wrong with any of this...I did ALOT of these things, this is Stuart's topic of speech - and I don't think he saw anything wrong with it either, just saw a difference in the reasons for doing some of them - we aren't differnet by doing them.

We all get sick and tired of being the same, but we don't do anything about it. Our society teaches us to rebel if we want to be different...So, we do. We do what society tells us to do, because we're young and stupid. Me? I did lots of these things to. I snuck out at night, I broke into places, I damaged property, I did what I thought would make me "different." The truth is, if we want to be different, what we need to do is what society tells us NOT to do - because it's always the harder thing to do. NOT rebel. And the truth is, this is most evident IN Christians. Christianity has become the PRIME example of conformity. I think of the way I looked at Christians before I became one - they were ALL the same, and for the most part, we still are. We become predictable. We go to Church on Sunday - we don't cuss, we go to our Bible Study...We "try really hard." I mean, look at this great quote on this poster below. It's the truth...IN america, we are free - when we're young, what do we know how to do? We don't, so we have to imitate somebody else, whether it's Marilyn Manson,Tony Hawk, Jessica Simpson, or Zack Morris(MAN I miss saved by the Bell...WHAT A SHOW!), or one of our friends, we're imitating somebody.

We can't blame anything that happens in our lives on anything but ourselves. Why? BECAUSE THERE WE ARE. Wherever I go, there I am. Everything that happens to me, whether spiritually, or physically, has one common denominator: me. I'm always there. We need to be different right? Then we must not listen to society and start listening to God, and start listening to ourselves. What do we want to do? What should we do? THEN DO IT!! Be where you want to be. Be where God wants you to be, because there you are.

Stuart said all things start with believe. What is a belief?

Belief - What your heart and your mind agree on.

Our beliefs influence and cause our choices.

Choices - Making the decision to do something.

Our choices lead to outcomes.

Outcomes - The results of our choices

It all starts with belief. To use a WAY overused saying..."You have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." If you want the outcomes of your choices to change...If you are unhappy with where you are in life, or decisions you've made, or a relationship you're in, you have to look back as to why you made certain decisions. Is it attachment? Necessity? Convenience? Because you're content with where you are in life, and would rather live a mediocre life, or be in a mediocre relationship then take the risk of being unhappy? Remember - You can live a happy life, and have great things - nothing great came without risk...

TAKE A LEAP - mix it up...If there is one thing I LOVE about people, it's their ability to take risks. Do something rash - get out of something you know deep down in your heart is not working out, quit that job, cut off that relationship that is bringing you down, Take that trip you've been wanting to. It's hard...and I haven't done it every chance I've had, so it's easier to say than do obviously, but its's the right thing to do sometimes, especially if you're young. Make sure what you BELIEVE influences your choices, and the outcomes will be what you want, and what God wants.

As for me, I have no excuses not to...because I am loved in God.

More to come...

12 Comments:

Anonymous Abby said...

Thanks, Neil! Your blog really hit home...

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Laney said...

I love Zac Morris.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil-

Your growing and leading by example (and you probably don't even know it). Thanks for being you...

11:35 PM  
Blogger Neil the Seal said...

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