“It takes a strong fish to swim against the current. Even a dead fish can float with it.” – John Crowe
There once was a girl who was an outsider. She wanted to be an insider, but things such as not understanding the language, not totally understanding the culture, and not grasping the way things were done within her new school were all new concepts she knew she had to grasp before being able to fit into her new world. She was 14, confident, and with a deep desire to be Jesus in her new place.
Over her first few months, her language improved. She was able to build some friendships and communicate with her teachers. However, things such as misunderstanding assignments and spending hours on projects that she thought were due, only to find out later that no one else did those assignments because they were never assigned, was something she occasionally experienced.
She was invited to a party by some of her new friends and was excited to experience her first teen party event in her new place. When she arrived, she enjoyed talking with some of her friends but then watched as some of them began to make bad decisions and excused herself from the party. She felt a heavy heart as she watched one of her friends make a bad choice just before leaving the party.
The next Monday, she saw her friends in a different light. Appearance at school and actual ¨who they were¨ outside of school did not match; her heart was heavy. She realized that she was surrounded by teens who professed to be Christians but had hearts that were not consumed with intimacy toward Him.
A couple weeks later, an activity occurred at school and another female student was asked what she thought this confident 14-year-old girl’s weakness was. The student stated, “her confidence”. The 14-year-old girl began to realize that who she was encouraged to be by her parents was not celebrated nor encouraged within her new culture. However, this 14-year-old girl continued to be herself.
She remained encouraged, confident, and positive in who she knew God made her to be. She found herself continuing to attempt to build relationships and doing things outside the norm like playing soccer with the guys during P.E. She worked harder within her classes to prove herself to her teachers. She tried to listen to the Holy Spirit throughout the day. She tried to love harder.
She noticed that a guy in her class heavily influenced her daily environments. Most of the girls in her class were shy and did not speak out much. However, this particular boy in her class was not hesitant to speak out with inappropriate statements, incessant cursing, and, at times, making degrading statements about females. Although he acted this way, the confident 14-year-old girl was still his friend.
Swimming upstream is hard, but we are never alone. (see Hebrews 12)
One day, the young boy drew an inappropriate picture depicting women as an object instead of the priceless creation with the power to change the world that she understood God created them to be. She very politely asked to see the drawing, and he politely gave her his drawing, proud of what he had done. She slowly stood up, walked to the trashcan, ripped up the drawing, and threw it in the trash.
Shocked by her actions, the boy became upset, and the male teacher became involved. The girl was quietly thanked by the other girls in her class and nothing else was said regarding the incident for that class.
In a following class, the boy told the female teacher what had happened. He was trying to get the teacher to side with him. The girl sat there listening to what they were saying, and the teacher questioned the confident 14-year-old about the incident. After the teacher received the explanation from the confident 14-year-old girl, she said, “Congratulations!” and began to applaud. The other students, without prompting, while standing, also began to applaud. It was a standing ovation.
Change is established in a culture when the norms made of stone are chipped away through counter-cultural actions. These actions slowly begin to break down the foundation of those norms. To make Christ the center of an environment, a non-Christ foundation can be lovingly broken. This is done through actions of love with a passion to see lost hearts find what they are unknowingly and desperately searching for.
She is living in a culture with a collective worldview where fitting in and not rocking the boat are the implicit cultural behavioral expectations. Please pray for this confident 14-year-old female who only wants to make an impact for Jesus but is likely to rock the boat along the way.
Please pray for Selah.