Friday, September 6, 2019
I have been on an "oldies" kick. For many people that means listening to the pop hits of the 80's and 90's. For me that means Rich Mullins, vintage Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith. Old school Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Jars of Clay. My teen years soundtrack was these pioneers of Christian "contemporary" music. They shaped my understanding of myself and my world, and in many ways, they helped me understand what it meant to follow Christ.
I still listen to Christian music, it isn't the same, for better or worse. I miss many of my old favorites that aren't around anymore (The Waiting, Geoff Moore and the Distance, and more that I am too old to remember the names of!) but I especially miss DC Talk. I know that pieces of the band are still making music, and I am so thankful for that (Toby Mac still makes me turn up the radio!) but during my sophomore and junior years of high school you could find "Supernatural" and "Jesus Freak" on endless repeat.
So today, feeling nostalgic, I requested that Alexa play DC Talk for me. She busted out "Colored People" and "What If I Stumble" and then it started playing: the one that everyone talked about: "Jesus Freak". I smiled as the song started, it brings back so many good memories for me. But then I started *listening*:
A thought suddenly pierced me: what if they *don't* label me a Jesus Freak? What if all my long-hidden desires to be "normal" have finally been realized? Who in my life would say that Jesus has made me a stranger in a strange land? What if they look at me and see themselves?
"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us." 1 Peter 2:12 NIV
What if I'm not a freak?
What if I'm blending in?
What if I'm unnoticeable?
What if I'm normal?
I've struggled with fitting in my whole life. I deeply desired to be accepted. To be a part of the group. To fit in. I was hideously awkward as a teenager. I didn't realize that in my decades-long fight to ditch those labels from my identity, I have accidentally shelved something that shouldn't have just been a descriptor of my character, it should, He should, be my identity.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
What if I'm not any different?
"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." 1 John 15:19 NIV '84
What if they don't hate me?
It's not good, man. It's not good.
But it isn't too late.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's might hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV '84
We break those verses up so often, but read them together. I don't have to be anxious about my position, I can cast those cares on Him. I don't have to be concerned about fitting in, or finding my place. I don't have to worry about standing out, either. It isn't about me. It's about Him. I don't have to keep my eye on the clock, or on my social ranking. He has it all planned out, I just need to submit.
And that's what will really make me a freak in today's world. Surrender control? Give up my "rights"? Stop trying to micromanage every teeny detail and forecast every possibility?! Get real! How much will I stand out if I am fully submitting to God? How crazy will I look if I quit looking out for number one and bow before the Holy One? I think that would be pretty darn freaky.
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded....Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up." James 4:8 and 10 NIV '84
That all will look awfully strange. I am quite certain that it will stand in opposition to anything the world requires for me to fit in. And I'll be honest: it isn't all it's cracked up to be, this being "normal". I am ready to be changed, to be different. I'm ready to be a freak-because I really can only have time to care about what He thinks of me.