In which I get mad, mention "soul distinction", and divide the whole world into just two groups.
Boys and girls, this is a short tale about the time a generation forgot...
they forgot what they are to be about. And I mean the Christian kids. The awkward, lovingly sheltered, semi-socialized goofs I so happily grew up with, in all the churches I rotated through as a child/teenager. At large, something definitely morphed. Almost all over the place.
I got upset.
Wha...what happened, guys? When did we decide that our social rankings and entertainment and material gratification were what we were most important?! When did we say that we were simply happy to be forgiven and then not live in utter gratitude of that forgiveness? (when I say I get upset, this means I got really mad in private and huffily wrote out my feelings in a notebook a midnight. I don't think I could yell at my friends if they were trying to kill me.)
When I say "at large" I mean there still those who can be
found, scattered among all the others, who still want to hold tight to a
faith, God, something deeper. Even these are hard to spot,
because they have the immense difficulty of holding on to something
everyone else seems to take so lightly.
Rewind only six or seven years. We looked different. We stuck out. A lot. Like sore thumbs. We were pretty proud of it, too. Our speech, our actions, our dress, how we spent our free time.We were the good kids, and we were special.
Okay, this attitude really had it's flaws. We stuck up our noses a little to much. Anything our parents said was worldly, we took to the next step, snubbing it, seeing anything mom and dad said was bad, as absolute filth.(Not to say their isn't filth to be snubbed in this world. Golly this subject is hard to balance.)
I'm gonna make somebody mad...but to a degree, I think we stuck our noses so high in the air because that worldliness appealed to all of us on some level or another. We knew it was bad, we knew we would get in trouble if we tried it. But somewhere in those brains of ours, I know things appealed to us. "Ok it's vain but I sure wouldn't mind trying to be prettier. It's selfish, but it would be nice to be rich. It's lazy, but some of those video games look pretty fun."
How could I have the audacity to make a blanket statement: that all super conservative kids secretly, almost subconsciously want to be less conservative? Because we are fallen human beings, naturally selfish and all bent towards desire and gratification.
We're sinners. It's kinda what we do.
One of my favorite quotes ever? "Be in the world and not of it."
While I am guilty of the very human habit of trying to equate material things with a non-material longing, I count myself as one of those who watched as more than a few of my friends kinda...melted...into the self gratifying masses of the world. It was slow, they still seem to have "morals" but somewhere in there, the core attitude/focus changed. You could tell, not necessarily by how they dressed or looked, but definitely by how they acted and what they wanted to talk about.
If I were to be in a crowded room, full of people, at first glance, I would look no different. Jeans, t-shirt. The styles of this world have stuck to me. I don't look like I'm from the 1800s. I don't act like it. I even wear converse sneakers and makeup. *gasp*
But, if someone bothers to talk to me, I want them, Lord willing, to see this: I look like you and talk like you, but I am not all caught up in this material world that I am a part of. There should be spirit and a soul that leaks even into my surface level conversations, that shines through the cracks of my otherwise "normal" personae.
Those who struggle hold on to a real faith, to really make it their own, may change from their parents standards somewhat. But they are trying to get doctrines grounded and find a purpose, not trying to get what will make them supposedly happy, or satisfied.
On one of my frequent "notebook episodes", I scribbled out a perspective I now realize have almost subconsciously developed when I look at every single person I see:
"Two groups: the ones who are ultimately absorbed with self, and how self does in life. Self wants love, acceptance, attention, they want to "live": that must mean those vacations, the whimsical BBQs and lake parties, complete with cold beverages, games, and cute clothes. Its movies, shows, entertainment. Playing with emotions and hormones. It turns to trends, some of which are pretty cool. But it's basic, almost animal desire for physical and sensual gratification on one level or another. Then there are those of us who will separate what's a blessing to be enjoyed and what is trash that shouldn't be obsessed over. We struggle to see how other people can be so easily absorbed and satisfied with stuff that turns to dust in the end, pleasures that really do fade, and social standings that are as empty as a balloon. Its not just that we snub that level of shallowness, we don't understand how others can be so utterly obsessed with pointless things. We just don't get it."
So please, think...are you distinct anymore? Has your focus changed? What is your purpose?
Me? I'm still struggling with finding my exact identity and faith in God. Those questions are still bothering me, big time. But I know I don't want my identity in this material world, in physical desires. There is something more. This distinction will show. And it's not necessarily an in your face kind of distinction. It bleeds, like ink, through the paper of your soul.