Conforming to Christ Alone

Someone had once preached about being a non-conformist in the context of the Word of God proclaiming we should not conform to the world; it's worldly mentality or way/pattern of thinking.  Romans 12:1-2  It was an awesome message and God really used it to encourage me and show me some things.

The preacher had spoke about an Earl Nightingale story about the pumpkin in the jug and you can read the full story here.  In summary, the story speaks about a farmer who took a glass jug and placed one of the pumpkins inside of it.  The pumpkin grew into the jug but could grow no further because the glass jug had restricted its growth. It correlates with our life telling us we shouldn't let someone else, or even ourselves, put restrictions or limitations on our life.  We don't have to conform to anyone.

You can say, well the remedy if you are in a "jug" that restricts you - just break out of it.  But HOW!?  Do you just ask God to deliver you?  Is it a mental process?  How do you break out of the jug?  I believe God can do anything and when we seek him to deliver us from our fears or whatever restricts us - he is able and will show us HOW to do it.

The article states that most of our limitations are SELF-IMPOSED! We do it to ourselves and the phrases such as "you are your own worst enemy" and "you are the result of the choices you made" ring true when we really look deep within ourselves. Sometimes though, we allow others to restrict us because we want their approval, seek their acceptance or are afraid of what they will think of us, if we are just being ourselves.

Since childhood, I've been a non-conformist - just ask my parents! For some reason, I always wanted to be different and not like everyone else. I would wear crazy clothes, not care what anyone thought of me and lived a lifestyle proving that to be so. However, since becoming a Christian, I somehow thought that I needed to conform. I lost myself in the process. I was taught (by conformist addicts) that the way I dressed, decorated and my personal desires or wants and even the way I acted needed to be conformed to what they did or wanted. I let them put me in a 'glass jug' and restrict me.

Then something changed inside of me. After years of suppressing myself, I wanted to be FREE!! I learned, thanks to God's guidance, that I CAN think for myself and I don't have to be a cookie-cutter of everyone else and the non-conformism that shaped me before salvation, could even be "ok" as a Christian and actually was an asset, not an undesirable trait. Then it happened - as soon as I started dressing like I wanted too (modestly of course!), decorating like I wanted to and letting my own desires, aspirations and wants come out of the box I had kept them in - I got hit with the hammer of CRITICISM! Most of my life I had had NO problem with criticism but now it was overpowering me and my courage was shaken - what happened?

I had allowed conformism to make me concentrate so much on what others thought of me and their approval that it disabled me when I tried to break free from its restrictions. My behaviors were formed with the years I spent in conformism and it outweighed the previous years not caring what people thought of me. My desires, wants and opinions were really the desires, wants and opinions of someone else - I had put myself aside to conform to another. I'm still breaking the 'glass jug' and learning to ignore criticism and for the most part I've been able to become my own person but there is still a small area that the 'glass jug' imprisons me and God is helping me with that. It reminds me of high school and peer pressure to "fit in" and do what everyone else is doing - as a Christian we should want to be like Jesus - not follow the crowd, because the crowd is going to hell.

So in answer to the question - HOW do we break free from that 'glass jug'? We step out and conform to the Word of God in Christ alone. It is the chicken that does what everyone else does just so they will be liked and not ever have something bad said about them and it is the brave, courageous soul who will be what God wants them to be no matter what anyone else says. You learn to be yourself and not just do things because it will give you acceptance or favor in other's eyes. What do they really matter anyway if you are cheating yourself from being the person God made you to be!?

So ladies.........step out and let your light shine!  Tell Satan and those that restrict you - "Hit me with your best shot!" Then you will find this power inside of you that you never knew or forgot that you had and God will enable you to break free from your insecurities and live your life to your full potential.You will be so secure in yourself and what God has made you to be that you will not even care what your haters say - you will actually take the bricks they throw at you and build a castle full of success.

The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself. ~Rita Mae Brown
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ~Mark Twain

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Before you can break out of prison, you must first realize you're locked up. ~Author Unknown

If you don't control your mind, someone else will. ~John Allston

One dog barks at something, and a hundred bark at the bark. ~Chinese Proverb

If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn't thinking. ~George S. Patton

Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy

Our concern must be to live while we're alive... to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are. ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I'm not sure I want popular opinion on my side - I've noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts. ~Bethania McKenstry

How glorious it is - and also how painful - to be an exception. ~Alfred de Musset

You laugh at me because I am different; I laugh because you are all the same. ~Daniel Knode

I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions. ~Lillian Hellman

I am not eccentric. It's just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish. ~Dame Edith Sitwell