By Sharonda McPhee

Stand Out and Be Different

As a little girl, I had a negative perspective of the word ‘different.’

Why?

Because throughout elementary and middle school I was teased and made fun of because I was different. So over time, I changed how different I was, to blend in.

When people teased me because I wore glasses, I ditched the glasses. When they didn’t like the way I dressed, I changed my wardrobe. I was also outspoken about God. So when I was worried that others didn't like me, I stopped talking about God.

Aimlessly Following People

Before I started following Jesus, I was a follower of people. I did what my friends were doing—they were my leader. I also aimlessly sought the attention of men, while my focus should have been on my one and only true leader, Christ.

Jesus is the perfect leader and the perfect example of being different.

When Jesus walked the earth, he never attempted to fit in or follow the crowd. He stood out. He lived a life that taught the world: that to be a child of God means to be different. He also knows what it is like to lose friends, be mocked, ridiculed, and rejected.

If Jesus (our leader) was fearlessly different from the rest of the world, then we should follow his example.

Stopped Running

I stopped running away from being different when I decided to give my life to Christ. I realized that if I truly wanted Christ to take control of my life, I couldn’t try to please people and Christ at the same time.

Like Jesus, I had to stand out and risk all that comes with being different, no matter what the costs may be.

Part of being a disciple of Jesus is learning to embrace our difference. He isn’t pleased when we value pleasing our friends so much that it negatively changes our character, how we act, or our personality.

He is pleased when we stand up and embrace our difference.

Seven years ago, I was under the control of my friends and did whatever I could to 'fit in'. Today, I avidly wear my glasses, I dress modestly with ease, and I openly talk to anyone about Jesus and what he has done in my life.

In what ways are you afraid to be different? How does Jesus’ life inspire you to be different while on campus?

Sharonda Mcphee is an InterVarsity student at Indian River State College, where she's studying to be a veterinarian.

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