When our daughter was smaller, pretty much ever since she stepped out into the world and entered kindergarten, I would tell her so often as she got out the car, “You are not a follower, you are leader. It doesn’t matter what other kids around you are doing do not engage in things that are wrong. You may feel left out and even pressured to join as everyone follows into trouble, but you stay out of it. You can show others how to do the right thing.”
Some people would call me crazy, but hey, the names people call me are not our problem right? So many underestimate the teaching we can give our children early on.
As adults, there is so much going on in life seeking our attention, pulling us in different directions.
Some good things, some bad things, some things that look good, some things that may be for someone, but just not for us. It will be so easy to get caught up in all the things, but I believe God calls us to great things, not the things that every one is doing. We are not to get involved with everything that looks good.
God has been teaching me about man’s heart in this season and the heart can be deceived even when it looks good. When we are not careful, we can set ourselves up when we dive knee deep into something we were never supposed to align ourselves with.
Being a leader takes courage and bravery. Leading does not look like following everyone. As we make a choice to do something different, many times we will be talked about. We may face judgemental eyes. We may loose some friendships. We may be ostracized. We may have to stand alone. People may turn on you.
Listen, none of that is ever fun, nor is it easy to face.
Those things that follow after making a decision to set yourself apart, can be the hardest to stand in. And this is where so many are not able to keep going forward as a leader, because people’s opinion of them means more than doing the hard thing. We all want to be a part of something. We want to feel accepted.
But there comes a time when we have to take a good look at what’s going on. We have to get to a place where we can pull our selves out the equation, pull ourselves back and look on from above as we observe what may be going on, as we discern the situation, as we partner with God and ask him if this something we are to be a part of or engage in. There may be a red flag flashing, but going head on can cause us more pain and strife in the future when we ignore the warning signs.
Pleasing people does not make our life any better. In fact it makes us suffer. We were created to have space in this life. Space for us to exist in all of who we are, but when we seek to people please, we are lowering our standards and dismissing our values to fit the standards of someone else.
I was reading the book of Mark (chapter 15) and when the people brought Jesus in, they were all shouting to crucify him. It states numerous times that so many just went with it because they didn’t want to stand alone with the truth. The religious leaders were willing to let an actual criminal go because they were so envious of Jesus and out of spite, they wanted him out of there.
Knowing Jesus had not done anything wrong, they wanted him dead any how.
One of the key phrases in this chapter was “because he wanted to please the people“. Because he, Pilate, the Roman governor wanted to please the people….
As a leader it was hard for him to stand up and stand against all the voices and shouting of the people who were WRONG, but he didn’t have the courage to do the right thing. He was fully aware of everything, but went through with what the people wanted and didn’t want to disappoint them
If we keep reading that chapter we will see person after person doing ridiculous things all in the name of following each other.
Can I encourage you to be brave and courageous? I believe we all have a level of discernment, and I believe God wants us to partner with him more than ever. Can we go back to him and ask what he wants us to do? Can we step back a little bit and begin to see what is going on before we say yes and engage into things? It will probably involve disappointing some people.
The world will tell us what we should do. The world will shout and scream in your ear, “go this way, do this or else”, condemn and shame us, and make us feel like an outcast.
Maybe someone has made you feel less than, called you a few names, disowned you for standing up to them or going a separate way from the world. Continue to stand tall and partner with God as He leads you.
You may be feeling a pull to go your own way, but your family wants you to take over the family business. Oh my, that looks and sounds wonderful, but God may be calling you to higher things. Its okay to lead a new path.
You may be feeling this cultural pull to do things like they have been done for generations, but you have this different way of thinking and may have felt like you never fit in any how, but you feel God leading you to step out. The voices of culture are shouting so loudly that it feels as though you are abandoning your people. Sis, its okay. God’s ways are higher. There is freedom in Jesus Christ. There is zero culture with him. Follow HIM.
You may be feeling so different for having opposing views of many around you. The thing about perspective is that usually we all see a bit differently, so find freedom in that. Since we all see differently with different perspectives, nothing would be exactly the same right? Don’t allow others to make you feel like you are no body. Think about this, our legs don’t operate like our arms, our fingers don’t operate like our eyes, our mouth does not operate like our toes, but they all work TOGETHER to make our body work. We are all supposed to be different, but we can all work together for good of His kingdom. Worldly ways have a hard time grasping that.
When we can begin to step into who we are as who we are in Him, we will experience his freedom.
We don’t have to follow the customs of those that came before us, dragging our mistakes, our shame and pain around like its a body part. You are not a follower.
We don’t have to follow our parents’ wishes, going after the careers they wanted for us. You have been set apart.
We don’t have to follow our “friends” into things we know God is not calling us to. I know its hard to go against these people you have known forever. Here is some hard truth. Good friends would want the best for you and wouldn’t pull you into things that are not good. You were not created to fit in.
We don’t have to follow the elders of the church or the church folk that have known you while you were in your mother’s womb. You know, the ones that have known your mama, grandma, great grandma even. We feel as though we should listen to them out of respect or think they have been going to church for a long time, they must be right.
Listen, man’s hearts can be deceived. There are so many chapters in the bible that talk about false teachers. Go back to God and ask him what he said. Open your bible to read about what he said so that you won’t be led astray, but you will know the truth. (2 Peter 2:1-3, 1 John 4:1, Titus 1:10, but so many more)
We don’t have to follow the ways of this world. The world is missing so much! Its longing for something, but keeps seeking temporary things. Its missing love, compassion, understanding, kindness, joy, peace, patience, and so much more, but most of all the world is missing King Jesus.
My hope is that you find freedom as you follow Jesus himself. He wants to fill us with his truth so that we are able to walk out this life with boldness, confidence, courage, bravery and show the world the love that it longs for so much.