Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nice Guys Finish Last

I go to community college now.  For those of you who, like me, were/are homeschooled, let me give you a quick rundown.  You have to actually sit in a classroom next to other people.  Other people will be everywhere when you're walking around campus, and guys smitten by your beauty and unaware that you didn't go to school and therefore are completely and hopelessly awkward may try to approach you in the library.  And even if you can avoid those near occasions of socializing...there are these things called GROUP PROJECTS. You can't escape.  Eventually someone will find you. Fear them.

Oh how I love sarcasm.

I have found that my many new friends typically all have the same reaction to finding out I was homeschooled: "What? No way! I thought you went to, like, a regular school!" "Wow, I always thought homeschoolers were awkward and stuff but you're really normal!" Even if they don't say it, their faces give it away and I can plainly hear it going through their heads.  I just sit there vastly amused, proud of having fooled them. Thanks for that, guys.  I love finally knowing that all those times my homeschool friends and I made wisecracks about our stereotype were not in vain.  :')

So, I was thinking, why does my stereotype destruction have to stop there?  I'm not exactly shy about calling people out on lies, especially the ones told by the pop culture.   It's amazing how many false stereotypes are perpetuated by the same culture that is obsessed with non-judgement.  For example, not all white girls like pumpkin spice lattes and wearing leggings as pants...although the Chipotle thing is pretty accurate...

More importantly: not all Christians take delight in pointing out your flaws.  Not all of them think you're going to hell.  We're not all like those people out in the courtyard in front of building 7 carrying signs that say "REPENT OR PERISH."  And not all of us are boring.  Christians can and will hang out with you.  We'll laugh with you, we'll tease you, we'll listen to you.  Sure, there are some lines we don't cross.  For example, I will probably never master twerking, no matter how hard my friend Stefani tries to teach me.  Fortunately, I think we can all enjoy life just as well (or probably more) without me acquiring that talent.  Anyway, maybe we virtuous people have the "nice guy" or "good girl" stigma...but not all nice guys finish last.  In fact, the nice guys are winning. 

Most people are still very, very attracted to goodness, as much as we might complain about the culture being "evil."  Being "bad" is only cool in a superficial sense.  It's more of an attitude you're supposed to have so you can participate in the party scene or show off in front of strangers.  But "niceness" is appreciated at a much deeper level.  In fact, a lot of the "bad" kids are secretly nice, too. The nice guys are not only fun to be around, they're the ones who will be around when it's not fun.  They're the ones that want to remind you how much you're worth when you've forgotten and made yourself cheap.  They're the ones who are trying to be brave and vulnerable when the rest of the world is putting on a show to hide the weakness and maybe the pain. 
One of my favorite rappers, Lecrae, recently released a song about his frustrations with today's mainstream music, called "Nuthin'." I recommend that you look it up and listen to the whole thing, but here's a sample of his powerful lyrics:
"[They] don't talk about the laws, taking kids away from mommas
Don't talk about your homie in the trauma cause he shot up
Or what about your young boy messing up the product
They don't talk about the bond money that they ain't have
And everybody snitch on everybody in the jam
They don't talk about the pain, they don't talk about the struggle
How they turn to the Lord when they ran into trouble-
Imma talk about it."

Imma talk about it, because I have faith in you.  If you let me, I'm ready to challenge you because I know you are greater than you realize. And I shouldn't have to be ashamed of that.

Pope Francis noticed a bad habit that today's Christian has of "considering oneself as the victim of an inferiority complex."  I struggle with being brave about my faith and taking risks to bring Christ to people.  I worry that making my goodness too obvious will make me the weird girl and cut me off from the people I want to help.  However, I'm starting to realize just how much my new friends at college appreciate that I'm different.  Inferiority is not an issue because the heart of who I am, the real focus of my Christianity, is love.  It is not a "feel-good" kind of love, but a gut-wrenching, suspenseful, compassionate love that bleeds for others, and if they could see it they would know it's nothing other than beautiful.  We're not ashamed of what we are, but of what others mistakenly think we are. Instead of being cautious or apologetic, we need to actively show our true colors and tear down the stereotype.  Our attitude has to change from Christianity isn't cool but I'm going to live it anyway, because Christianity is cool, and joyful and fun and fulfilling...but nobody's going to realize that unless we ourselves realize it first.  Own being the "nice guy!"  Don't worry about defending yourself, your happiness will do that for you.  Just be around other people and have standards and fun at the same time.  For real though, God wants you to "work" for Him by having fun. 

Yes, I'm a good girl, and I love it!  I'm the good girl who you'll find hanging out with the "bad" kids, wearing combat boots, a leather jacket...and a silver crucifix.  Shout out to the nice guys I know who are keeping chivalry alive and in style; you are appreciated more than you know.  Shout out to my gorgeous good girls who rock authentic femininity like a boss.  We're alive and kicking, saying with our lives and sometimes our lips, "Jesus is still here."  And He's still not finishing last.

The Forgiveness Myth

I do not enjoy forgiving people because it makes me feel like a doormat. I would honestly rather get all Carrie Underwood/Miranda Lambert up...