It is in our nature to want praise, rewards, love, and appreciation from our friends and acquaintances. It is a need that resides in our genes. It is the way of life. It is the way we were brought up. This is what society has taught us.
We are occasionally knocked down by this tag team of nature and nurture. Nature pushes us to want affirmation and culture props it, even if it is to be found in shady places. Applause is pleasing.
The wirework that forms our centre sanctions this kind of proclivity. The building blocks that make a totality of me hanker for it.
We want our names to be on the billboards, signboards and in households. We enjoy the razzmatazz. We crave for a cheering clique. We dream to be celebrated and adored. We want to fit in and move together with the big crowd. We envy the company of big boys and girls.
In the process we find ourselves swinging to the cadence that does not go along with our uniqueness. We start singing to the tune that derides our exceptionalism. We begin to pander to our baser instincts. No sooner we find ourselves tangled in a tarantula’s web.
However, it is surprising to note that the Almighty God does not give a hoot how much praise we get from people. The number of friends we have in our real-life set-up does not impress Him. It does not bother him how many followers we have on Instagram or Pinterest. Our popularity cannot affect Almighty.
The purpose of the Gospel of Christ is not actually to fit in but to stand out. That is why it is futile to sweat blood just to have a spot in the squad of the eleven, only to be given a red card later.
This does not mean we should not have friends. Nay!
It does not imply we avoid all these things. Nada!
It rather means that in the process of living out our lives we should not be obsessed with the idea of trying to please everyone at the expense of God. We should not allow any idol around our fiefdoms.
Romans 12:2 spurs us to remain ahead of the game. It tells us to be at the tip of the events. It reminds us who we are, lest we lose our identity.
The world has taught us that failure is the end of the game. That you are not supposed to slip. You are supposed to get it right always. We always talk about those who qualified to join Universities in the recent KCSE results. Few care about the rest. Scoring an E is equated to failure. I don’t think that is what the Bible teaches.
Abraham the Father of Faith had his share of failures and mistakes. He could not admit Sarah was his wife for fear that he would be killed. Jacob, The Prince of God, starved and had to run to Egypt for survival. Moses, the meekest man on Earth could not express himself eloquently. Gideon, the valiant man, despised himself and even after God worked through him mightily, we still find that he had serious issues later in life. Naomi lost her husband and two sons and called herself ‘Mara’. Paul the great Apostle collected a snake in the process of finding firewood. It is not strange to collect a snake. The list is endless. It spills over the Bible into our modern times. You can mention people you know who failed to succeed.
Nonetheless, we are not supposed to lose our cool amid failures, ups and downs, twists and turns, thick and thin. Failure is not supposed to drive you to seek consolation in downtown. Do not run into wrong places as a result of a temporary blunder.
God has called us to be unique. We are to be distinctive. We are supposed to stand out when others are fitting in; take a walk when others are sitting; run when they are walking and fly when they are running.
Despite the hullabaloos around our lives, we can still make it. We still have a hand to hold us through these murky waters. We can still shake down the snake and survive the bite like Paul. God of the universe is still waiting on us and we can always run to Him.
That is the sure way of discovering the purpose of our existence.