“So just throw me out for not fitting in,
I think I learned early on in my walk with God what it meant to go against the flow.
I was around the age of 16 when God was really dealing with me on the issue of emotional purity, something you don’t hear a lot of average 16-year-olds thinking about. I remember sitting in a room at church, eating lunch with a couple of girls with whom I was becoming friends.Then a few other girls--whom my new friends already knew--sat down with us for a chat. It didn’t take long for our six-person conversation to get, well, awkward. And it wasn’t just any sort of awkward either; it was “boy awkward.”
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not weird around that kind of stuff. As a matter of fact, I’m a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, but the things these girls were talking about almost made me forget for a few moments that I was sitting inside my church. It was a cheap conversation, to say the least. God was showing me what it meant to be pure emotionally, and by sitting around these girls, I felt like I was completely going against everything He was doing.
I sat there in silence for several dreadful moments, wondering how I could escape without trying to seem rude or getting asked why I was leaving. I began to silently pray and ask God for His wisdom in the situation. I then felt Him direct me to the table in the back of the room. No one ever sat there. It was directly under an air vent, so you practically froze sitting there. Plus, it was in a heavily lit area of the room, so you also were blinded by the light. Freezing and blinded.
At the time, I didn’t really understand why God was directing me there. That wasn’t exactly the answer I was hoping for.
“Perhaps you can make them stop talking about it, Lord,” I proposed. “Or you could just make your return right now. That would be okay with me, too; really it would!”
Deep down, though, I knew what He needed me to do.
Without a word, I sat up, grabbed my bag, and moved to that cold, bright table in the back of the room. The girls looked at me like something was wrong, but none of them dared ask me what. As I sat there, the Lord directed me to pull my Bible out of my bag and read quietly. Once again, I did as He said, and I did just that until all the girls had left. But it sure didn’t stop them from staring at me and laughing as I sat there.
You’d think that sort of thing would drive anyone to run out of the building humiliated, but it was in that moment, for one of the first times in my life, that I really understood what God meant when He said that His people are “set apart.”
Now before you start thinking this is a story about how “holier-than-thou” I am, let me set the record straight: I am just as much as of a wreck as anyone. I’m still making mistakes, still learning from them and still choosing to do differently. But I know wholeheartedly that God was giving me another lesson on what it meant to be emotionally pure. But beyond that, He showed me the meaning of being an outcast for the sake of the Gospel.
In 2 Samuel 6
, there’s the story of David leading Ark of the Covenant into the kingdom. As the Ark was coming in, David was so overjoyed that he, the newly crowned King of Israel, began to dance like crazy before God and the entire kingdom. Now, it never says if David was a good dancer, but by the reaction David’s wife, Michal, it mustn’t have looked great. She sat back from behind a palace window and watched the whole thing in horror. She was appalled by her husband’s shameless behavior and confronted him about it later on that night, saying, “How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today… like some burlesque street dancer!"
David’s response always makes me smile. In that moment, he looks at his wife and simple responds: “In God's presence I'll dance all I want…oh yes, I'll dance to God's glory. More recklessly even than this. And as far as I'm concerned... I'll gladly look like a fool!”
In the eyes of his own wife, David too, was an outcast--and he was okay with that. He was wiling to dance before God, in public, half nude, if he knew it brought Him honor. And if other people didn’t like it and didn’t want to be around him because of it, that was too bad. He was doing it anyway.
This is such a defiant lesson for us today. We’re too quick to worry about what other people might say or think about us. We want to be accepted so badly that the idea of becoming ousted from our social status becomes a fear. Yet God says so clearly in His word, time and time again, we are NOT mean to fit in. We are meant to stand out.
The chorus of Kerrie Roberts song “Outcast” perfectly describes the stance God is asking all of His people to make when it comes to standing for what we know is right (even if it means being exiled by the rest of society in the process). Jesus never said Christianity would be cool. As a matter of fact, He said this world would hate us. But it’s standing in the midst of the pressure that makes our light attractive to a dark and dying word.
I pray that this story would a challenge to you today to go against the flow and stand for your convictions unashamed, regardless of what you might lose in the process. Because in the end, the reward that lies for the outcast far outweighs the comfort of some social title. David believed it. I’ve chosen to do the same.