So many people think of "standing out" as being wild, unique, rebellious and one to march to your own drum. "Be You!" has told countless teenagers and kids to go against the grain, break the rules and fight the status quo. And without even realizing it, these people who try to stand out and be different are all looking the same. That is the new normal.
But for those who follow God — for those who truly wish to stand out — that kind of "normal" living isn't what anyone was born to do.
It's difficult, now more than ever, to follow God and to sometimes be the only voice that speaks out for Christ. But it's absolutely essential. Here are some ways to keep yourself in check when the temptation to be like the majority surfaces:
Have a mentor or someone close to you who believes like you do
Although it's important to surround yourself with all different kinds of faiths and cultures, make sure to also have close friends or a mentor who hold your same standards and can be a constant lighthouse and source of guidance. Birds of a feather tend to flock together, and it's good to make sure to keep great examples around you.
Don't go into the fire and you won't smell like smoke
My parents used to say this to me all the time growing up. In short, it means that you tend to look and smell and behave like the environment you find yourself in most often. As much as you think you can transform the people around you or your environment, chances are you will change in the process. Don't go to places or find yourself in situations that are unhealthy, unsafe or toxic to your relationship with God or your standards. Temptations happen in life, but some of those temptations we can sometimes bring on ourselves.
Watch your language and the example that you set
Your friends, your family and your co-workers are watching you, whether you realize it or not. For some people in your life, you may be the only example of Jesus or Christianity that they've ever seen. Walk the walk and talk the talk. Avoid profanity, crude language or gossip. Be a constant force for good.
Your strength comes from the Lord. Whether you are a teenager or a mom with five kids, daily prayer and scripture study will empower you to live in a world that is often dark, and to be a light to those around you. Studying His word and talking with Him every day will help you to find joy, healing, peace and endurance.
Dress and behave the way you want to portray Christ
This is a big one, especially nowadays. Modesty in the way you dress and act is one of the greatest ways to represent who you are on the inside. If you are a nurse, you don't come to work in a construction worker's suit. You wear scrubs. Just like how you represent your occupation by what you wear, you represent whom you believe in and where your heart is by how you dress, talk, act and treat your body. Followers of God believe that the body is your temple, and by treating your body as such you are being a great example to those around you.
Be kind — always
It's normal nowadays to put people down online or to gossip and puff yourself up while breaking others down. As a follower of God, your biggest responsibility is to love. No matter what, no questions asked. Love others, be kind, and go out of your way to make others feel special and important. We have a very self-serving society, so stand out and be different by serving those around you and putting others first.
You were born to be different, just as the quote says. Why fit in with the majority when you were born to be a follower of God?