Inside or Out

Lately, a few things have popped out at me without me asking.

1. “The Outsiders” by Needtobreathe,

2. Ephesians 5, especially verse 4, and

3. Proverbs 15:4

The second two each discuss the things that come out of our mouths. Too often it is easy to let just anything slip out without even thinking about the effect it has. I’m just as guilty as the next guy of relaying a not-so-nice joke I heard because it was just too funny to keep quiet or of commenting on some actor’s six pack. It’s so easy to do and so prevalent that I barely think twice about it.

But this hasn’t always been the case. When I started high school, I ran into different things that I had, of course, heard or seen on TV, but didn’t really think of as reality. When all of a sudden “that’s what she said” and every other (far worse) phrase in the book were whirling around me at school and even at church, it bothered me. For some reason, it made me feel a little uncomfortable. But, all my church friends were doing it, so it must not be that bad, right? First I started laughing at jokes out of politeness, and then I did because I didn’t want people to think I was a goody-two-shoes or just plain boring. Gradually, very gradually, it became normal. It was so gradual that I hardly noticed it. I never really wanted to imitate that kind of humor, and always–deep down–it made my stomach churn a little. But it was normal, so it was okay.

“Shortfalls and little sins
Close calls where no one wins
Stand tall but running thin
I’m wearing thin
Oh, why are we keeping score?”

Then, college came along. I made the difficult decision to attend a Christian school. I had never wanted to go to a Christian school, but here I came–that’s a story for another day. Although I was already blessed with the best boyfriend I could ever ask for and some other great friends at home, I met some awesome friends at school. They live their lives for God, not themselves. Many of our conversations consist of God, culture, people, our dreams… stuff that actually matters. Don’t worry–we have our fun, too. Sometimes we take off and drive up a mountain just to see where it leads, or we watch Brooke figure out how to lazily drink her water while laying on the floor. We laugh, a lot. And, not one of us is perfect. Sometimes we make or laugh at dirty jokes. Sometimes we get mad, or talk about other people, or bash our teachers, or complain a lot. But we keep each other in check. We remind each other of what’s really important. We remind each other that the desires of this world are not what count. So, over the past eight months, I have become used to this atmosphere.

Over the past eight months, I have gone back and forth from home to school. I have felt pressure to act certain, different ways at each place. I have conformed when necessary, but begrudgingly at times. And through it all I have found that I would rather not conform. I have discovered that following God–watching my tongue, watching my thoughts, and doing what I know to be right–returns much more happiness than the alternative. Is it easy? No. Do I fail? YES. Is it hard to be looked at as an outsider by my friends? Yes. Will I give up? No.

“I’ve been wondering if we start sinking
Could we stand our ground?”

I have made a decision. I will, to the best of my ability, live for God and no one else. Sometimes, it’s better on the outside.

“We’ve finally come to terms
We are the outsiders

“On the outside, you’re free to roam
On the outside, we’ve found a home
On the outside, there’s more to see
On the outside, we choose to be”

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