I have found myself recently reflecting on those sort of people who march to the beat of a different drum.
Maybe it’s because a guy just got elected who could not have said more things to tick people off and had me slapping my forehead often saying, “aarrghhhh…if he would just think before he opens his mouth.”
Or it could be that I was influenced by one of those cheesy Hallmark movies (I admit that I can occasionally be found watching one) where the girl who gets the guy is the one who is the misfit in a culture of clones.
For whatever reason, even if a person is a bit annoying, I have to admit, I admire someone who isn’t always chasing down popular opinion and culture but believes they have something to offer and they put themselves out there despite the ‘boos’.
But most likely my thoughts have surfaced as I remembered a conversation I had with someone who was struggling with what their next step should be. They had met a dead end and it had rocked their confidence. They were questioning and measuring them self in the context of what worked for others.
That’s not so bad, right? After all, to examine oneself and see if changes need to be made can be a step forward in maturity.
Yes and no.
“Yes”, if the light goes on and you realize that you have been doing some things wrong. Wisdom would dictate that you pick up a few new tools and try a different approach. That is insight and growth.
However, I will always say it is a “no” when one feels that they have to totally change everything about who they are or what they believe in order to please or reinvent themselves into someone they are not.
“Know who you are in Christ, know what you believe and then go be that even if it doesn’t look like everyone else.” That was my advice to my struggling friend. Pragmatism has its place but genuine and sincere honesty is something that few people have in a consumer driven culture.
Years ago, Willow Creek Church near Chicago was on the cutting edge of suburbia, reaching their community for Christ. Many churches tried to follow their model but failed to realize that #1, Bill Hybels was not their pastor and #2, not every church is in a suburb of Chicago.
Despite copying everything Willow Creek did, few churches exhibited the growth and impact that Willow Creek displayed.
Could it be that God’s plan for Willow Creek wasn’t the same plan he was going to have for every church in every community?
Maybe the drum and the drummer were going to look different in each individual church?
It seems to me that when Jesus called his disciples he said “come follow me”. He didn’t say “look at what the other guys are doing and then try to be like them”. He kept it really simple and it has changed the world.
So, Peter the impulsive and fearful fisherman followed. Paul, a devout Jewish leader and former persecutor of the church followed. Luke the doctor, John the beloved, all of them followed right where they were at, not knowing how it would change them, just that they would go.
No doubt a fisherman leaving his nets to become a ‘fisher of men’, or a Jewish leader converting to Christianity was not a popular decision. However, at the end of the day, all they could hear was the beat of a drum that drowned out all the rest and nothing was going to keep them from following it.
There are those who will always play it safe and stay within the context of popular culture putting their finger in the air to find out which way the wind is blowing. And there are those who will listen for that faint beat of a drum in the distance, calling them to dare to step out and be different.
Following the beat of a different drum might make for a lonely march at times, but it seems to most definitely be a more freeing one.