What do you do when you hear an idea or belief that’s different from yours?
Do you reject it and write it off as non-sense or do you check to see if there is some merit?
Most people are very stubborn when it comes to their beliefs, especially us christians. All of our lives, we’ve been trained to think a certain way about God and told that if anything differs from what we’ve been taught — it’s a sin. And most of us carry these childhood beliefs into our adulthood, without ever challenging or attempting to discover what christianity is all about for ourselves.
I’ve known many people, some who are much older than I am, that go to church every single day without ever missing a service, but still don’t know who God is. They just go to church because that’s what they’ve been taught to do and they don’t want to disappoint their parents. But they don’t ever read their bibles or spend anytime with God so they don’t know if what the pastor is preaching to them is actually in the bible or not. Therefore everything they do in Jesus name goes in vain because they don’t have a real relationship with God.
Crazy Huh? Who would want to live like that? What’s the purpose in going to church or calling yourself a christian if you don’t really know God. That’s like calling someone your wife or husband, and being faithful to them, but you’ve never meant before — it doesn’t make sense. But this is exactly how many people who call themselves christians are living today.
Although I’m a christian and I believe that Jesus is the only way into Heaven, I don’t believe in forcing people to accept Him into their lives based on the fact that I’ve accepted him in mines. I believe that everyone has to find Jesus on their own in order for their walk with the Lord to be real and not phony.
People who let others do their thinking for them, who will not form an opinion of their own until they are sure that what they will say will be meant with approval and acceptance by their peers, don’t accomplish much in life. Not just in the areas of their religion or their faith in God, but in every area of their life.
Anyone who has ever achieved anything worth having, has had to develop the courage to challenge mainstream ideas and beliefs to get where they are today — me included.
The Effects of Thinking Differently
Back in the day, when i was dealing drugs on the streets and doing what all my friends were doing, I got in all sorts of trouble with the law and been in one too many life or death situations. That’s what thinking like everyone else got me.
But since I found Jesus, I have developed the courage to just be who God created me to be. And having the courage to go against the grain and think differently than everyone else has bettered my life in every area:
- I stopped smoking weed, which increased my alertness, attentiveness, and awareness, as well as drastically reducing my memory.
- I started reading the bible and personal development books that help me renew my mind and transform me into a much better person than I was before.
- I became more happier when I simplified my life and stopped believing what the majority of people believe, that having more stuff makes you happier and more secure.
- I changed my career by starting this blog, which lead me to writing a book and mentoring youths.
There are many more examples I could use, but I think you get the point.
And I don’t list my personal achievements to brag — but to share with you what I believe is the key to living authentically: having the courage to think differently.
If you never stand out from the crowd, you will always be average. And God didn’t create you to be average, He created you to be extraordinary. But in order for you to become extraordinary, you have to leave your ordinary ways of thinking behind you.
As Paul said “if I were still trying to please man, I would not be a follower of Christ”. You can’t be a follower of Jesus and be a follower of people at the same time. You are either one or the other.
Non-Conforming To The World
I find it crazy and ridiculous when people feel they’re at a social disadvantage if they think differently from everyone else in a social situation, as if they have to conform to fit in.
But conformity is what puts you at a social disadvantage, not being different. Being different is a Godsend, and gives you the social advantage.
Take me for example: As a former drug dealer and street thug, my background puts me at a huge social advantage when I’m chatting with street cats, compared to other christians who don’t have my background. When they hear my story and where I come from, they are intrigued, and that often leads us into conservations about life, goals, entrepreneurship, and Christ. They feel comfortable opening up to me because I am DIFFERENT from other christians and my difference, enables me to make a difference.
So where do you tend to violate social expectations in your life? What have you been through in your past that makes you different from other christians?
Whatever that is, use it to gain the social advantage of people you meet along the way who have gone through similar things. You’ll be amazed at the difference you are able to make in people’s lives by just being different. You may even make new friends over your differences. Best of all, people will remember you. They’ll forget everyone else who acts like they’d expect. But you, they will remember.
So if you think differently than other people in your social circles, own that. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to think differently from everybody else and see it for the huge advantage it truly is. Not only is being different a blessing, it’s what God created you for.
Your difference is your path to destiny. And the only way to reach it, is to be it.