one of the more shocking things i've found to be true in college, is that just like in highschool, everyone seems to be trying really hard to find something to idetify themselves with. i kind of thought that that would stop after highscool. but it didn't really. sometimes i feel like everyone is just trying to make a statement about themselves, with what they wear, or what they say, or what clubs they join, or who they hang around with, or what music they listen to. its almost like everyone's trying to prove something to the world about themselves. we all do it. i know i do it. all the time. its really quite funny, to look back over jr. high and even into highschool at all of my failed attempts to prove to the world that i was a certain way, or i believed a certain thing about the world. i went through all the stages of a teen in identity crisis: the "i listen to hardcore rock music and i'm a punk so i'm gonna buy a pair of chuck taylors and some etnies tees", the "i love the earth and i'm a treehugger so i'm going to wear chacos and water-proof columbia shorts and walk around with a nalgene bottle every day" phase, the "i'm just your all american, preppy, private school girl so i'm going to wear polo ralph lauren and american eagle all the time so i'll look just like everyone else" phase, and then my personal favorite, the ever famous "i'm different and i'm trying REALLY HARD to get you to know that" phase. and with all of these so called "phases" comes not only a certain attire, but also a set of beliefs, and sayings/lingo, and habits. like, for example, in the punk rock phase, i had to not only wear punk rock clothing and shop at journeys, but i had to listen to the music too, and i had to say cuss words alot because i had to convince people i was just a no-good, not-caring-about-what-anybody-thinks-about-me, punk. luckily, for me, that one didn't last very long. because it wasn't me.
the thing that i relized later that made all those different phases seem so stupid is that i didn't really like the hardcore rock music. i didn't really want to be really preppy. i do love the earth, and i do like hiking, i guess thats the most real and true of all the phases, but that doesn't mean i have to dress in hiker-friendly apparel at all times. its not like by wearing chacos i was really doing anything to save the planet. but you would have thought that i was. i thought i was anyway. the thing that i later realized is that in all of these times of my life, i didn't really want to be what i was posing to be. i wanted people to see me as being that way.
i read a book the other day by don miller and he was talking about a time when he and a friend had protested the presidents arrival to their city because they didn't agree with a recent bill had had signed off on, or something like that. he said they made signs and marched and yelled and got real angry with the cops and made a big scene, but when the president got there, he got out of the limo, and just walked right into the building without looking their way, did whatever the President does inside the building, and then came out and got right back in the car and left. Don Miller said that he felt really dumb and useless. he and his friend just left after that, feeling like they had just wasted their time. He said that he wondered, afterwards, if he really wanted to be socially active or if he wanted to be known as a socially active person.
and i cant help but to ask the same question about my faith and about all things i "believe" in my life. do i really want to love God, or I do want to be known as someone who loves God. Do I really want to change the world, or do I want to be known as someone who changed the world? its a question of our intentions, whether they are pure or not, whether they are God serving or self serving.
and its a question that i think we all can afford to ask ourselves every once and a while..
"...if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." -joshua 24:15