April 17, 2015 by Renee Griffin
When you find the courage to STAND OUT,
You begin living life in full BLOOM.
The cowboy sat motionless on his horse in the middle of a busy intersection between Wal-Mart & Sam’s. In his left hand, he kept a tight hold on the reins, and in his right hand he hoisted a plain white sign. The simple red font formed a message I couldn’t quite make out as I turned into the busy parking lot. What I did see were the words JESUS CHRIST. Ever the curious type, I made a quick u-turn and headed back to read the whole message.
I pulled my SUV alongside the cowboy and his horse rolling down my window. I greeted him saying, “I had to come back and see what your sign says.”
Without a word, he turned the sign around so I could read it.
“IF YOU ARE READY TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST AND BE SAVED…
STOP AND LET’S TALK.”
After reading his sign, I said, “This is awesome. You are doing an amazing thing, and by the way, I do know Jesus. Also, I would like to take your picture…if you don’t mind.”
He agreed and swiveled his body around to face me. His expression didn’t change.
I took the shot and thanked him saying I was a writer, and this picture would be on the internet more than likely.
He replied, “Okay.”
Seeming to be a man of few words, I took that as the end of our conversation and drove off to do my weekly shopping.
I couldn’t stop smiling as I loaded my cart with apples, lemons, and a huge container of Nutella. (It’s nuts so it’s healthy.) I kept grabbing my phone to look again at the picture; this man’s willingness to do something different made him stand out on a crowded Saturday morning.
Our culture promotes conformity, yet the unusual ones, the conspicuous, attract the most attention. It takes strength to separate from the comfortable place of familiar.
Are you willing to be weird, wild, and wonderful?
I asked some little friends of mine this question after telling them a story about an old pair of weird blue jeans I have. They are ornately adorned with peacock feathers up and down both legs. They are unusual. (The hubs hates these jeans.) See?
Since the day I brought them home, he scowls when the feathers emerge. I haven’t worn them in years, but my conversation with my buddies sent me digging in the way-back tombs of my closet.
These jeans are kinda strange, man. I get that, but it’s what I like best about them.
The day after my talk, one of my favorite friends brought me this poster. She gets me.
Really, why should we try so hard to fit in when we were born and created by God to stand out?
(Dr. Seuss was truly one of the best doctors ever.)
I am pretty sure Dr. Seuss and the cowboy would’ve been great friends. Neither of these men were willing to be a normal nobody; both chose a path where they no longer blended in.
In Paul’s letter to the Phillipians, he encourages them to be stand out in their generation. He was calling them to shine in a dark, unbelieving world Paul described as “warped and crooked”. He was asking them to do something different; be obedient and exercise humility.
“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Phillipians 2:15b. NIV
Our Master Creator designed each of us with unique, diverse, distinct qualities for a specific purpose: He calls us to stand out against the dark culture around us. Obedience to God’s Word, humility, surrender, and forgiveness are all qualities that distinguish His Children. He planted a purpose in our hearts that will take boldness and fearlessness to live.
When we find the courage to stand out, we begin living our lives in full bloom.
Are you willing to STAND OUT? To shine? To live life in full bloom?
Let’s do this. Let’s do it together.
If you need help getting started, let me know. You can borrow my jeans.