Be a real rebel. Be in it, not of it.
I think this is a very important concept that we all need to understand. Have you ever felt like you just don’t belong anywhere? Maybe, like me, you have a few different circles of friends that you drift in and out of. We enjoy the company of all of them, but we just don’t fit in. That’s OK, because none of us were made to fit in! We can only find the perfect love and acceptance that we want so much, when we turn to God. He put us on this earth, not to blend in with the crowd, but to stand out and point others to Him. We live in this world. But we don’t belong here. We need to be rebels and prove we are in it, not of it.
Enter the college scene. I have experienced my first semester of college. Within that first semester, I have been exposed to many trends, none of which are new or surprised me. But I guess being thrown into an atmosphere where I’m in the thick of it all, has really made me take a closer look at college culture.
Drinking. Drugs. Porn. Sex.
It’s sad, that even at a Catholic college, these four things seem to be dominant themes. It’s a pretty up-in-your-face culture. I could tell you a thousand stories of things that I have heard and seen, that show exactly how wrapped up so many are in things that are so temporary, so…unnecessarily part of this world. That we don’t belong in.
Here’s the thing: drinking, drug use, porn, and sex (a.k.a. the hook-up culture) make the typical college experience so empty. They make *life* so empty. These things may seem fun in the moment, or make us feel like we’re fitting in, but eventually the guilt and shame is going to set in, whether it’s right after the experience is over, the next day, or years down the road. Why do we want to experience these highs when the crash is so devastating? We all sin, but we shouldn’t seek it out for fun or cave to it under pressure.
Underage and irresponsible drinking, illegal use of drugs, porn, and sex before marriage, are not only morally unacceptable, but pose real threats to our health and our safety, as well as the negative impact it can have on our future marriages. But even in the current time, physically, we are at risk for poor and/or dangerous choices while under the influence, life-long addiction battles, unplanned pregnancies, STD’s, and possibly even death as a result of our choices. Emotionally, it’s easy to wreck ourselves, which also affects our mental health. Heartbreak, anxiety, depression, stress, guilt, and shame, questioning our self-worth, all due to the complexity of the situations we may have created. Because that’s the thing:
When alcohol, drugs, and recreational sex are in play in friendships and relationships, it complicates so much, calling into question what words, actions, or emotions were real, and which were influenced or driven by chemical imbalances or physical desires.
Friendships and romantic relationships, alone, can be difficult enough for us to navigate. But take a moment to think about how much more simplified they are without the added complex factors of alcohol, drugs, porn, and sex.
Do not conform to society. Rebel against it.
If we are just doing these things to fit in, then we need to realize that conforming isn’t the answer. Conforming only suppresses, and then takes away what makes us each, individually, so unique. It diminishes who God meant us to be. It’s a trap, because even though it seems like freedom, all it does is take away our freedom and ability to be ourselves in our purest form: the one that shines for all to see.
Our earthly life is temporary. It’s a test, for us to prove ourselves worthy of eternal life with Christ. When we put our relationship with Christ, first, it makes the rest of our life so much clearer. So even though we want to fit in, we should do everything we can to protect our light, instead of hiding it in a mediocre earthly life full of sinfulness, that we are only going to regret later. We were made for more than that. We were made for eternity.
How do we resist conformity, when we are pressured into it by situations and friends?
- Pray for strength.
- Read the Bible and other spiritually enriching materials.
- Find a few friends who also are seeking to stay true to themselves.
- Go to Mass, and receive the Sacraments, regularly. (Penance and Communion.)
- Form a prayer group with them that meets every few days or so.
- Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, and cling to your values.
I know I am not the only one trying to resist conforming, and trying to stay ‘different’. There’s a lot more like me, out there. If more of us have the courage to boldy live and lead, staying true to our faith and values, maybe this intentional way of living will appear as a more evident option to others.
My hope, is that we inspire those who might be questioning themselves, and encourage them to start living free from the crushing expectations of our generation’s society.
It’s not easy. But at the same time there is a sense of peace and true satisfaction in not to giving in, and being a pawn in society’s game. It keeps our lives simpler, safer, and easier. Best of all, it will be worth it in the long run, and that’s what matters most.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
~Romans 12:2 NASB