Once upon a time, it began. I don’t know when, I don’t remember the specific day, but I remember a variety of instances. It was arguing with a teacher in sixth grade, because I believed my essay deserved a 100%, not a 98%. But I guess when you’re 11, it is rude to challenge your superior.
It was quitting cheerleading out-of-the-blue right before entering high school, buying a pair of asics, and deciding I was going to run. But society says if you are good at something, you are suppose to do it forever, regardless of if you genuinely love it.
It was going to my friend’s Sweet 16 and not wearing make-up because I didn’t feel like it. But girls are taught you must have powder and liner on your face to be “ready”.
It was jumping out of an airplane on a random day in July because it was on my bucket list. But the public thinks that’s reckless and wonders why you would have a bucket list at the age of 19.
I’m a rule-breaker.
Not an all-black-wearing, in-your-face, middle-finger badass, but a (mostly) law-abiding, rule-breaking individual.
At this point, 95% of my close friends are cracking up. Okay, I get it. I don’t skip class, don’t drink alcohol, and you will never find me in a car without a seat belt on. If you look at me, I appear fairly harmless. I am an average woman’s height–coming in at an astounding 5’6″, with average brownish-blondish hair (curly, kind of like a lioness). I am currently sporting a bright blue backpack, aviator sunglasses, and my nails are painted a purple pastel color. Really, really harmless looking.
Yet, here I sit, convinced somewhere along the road I became a rule-breaker. Here I sit remembering the first time I said a two-letter word that empowered me, a two-letter word that changed the way I live. A two-letter word that I believe our generation must start using more: no.
Society assumes. Society has a list of assumptions, and until we stand up–until we tell society no–we are abiding by an unspoken list of rules. It is assumed that if you’re an athletic guy, you sleep around. It is assumed that if you’re Greek, you will vote for a certain candidate. It is assumed that if you’re Homecoming Queen, you have had your first kiss. It is assumed that if you’re in college, you have to drink to be fun. It is assumed that if you are offered to work at a Christian camp, you must take it because The Lord divinely chose you for it. It is assumed that if you claim the name of Jesus, you must have never said the f-word, never gotten angry, never sinned or messed up like everyone else.
Here’s to saying no. Here’s to looking at society, and the people that make it up, and saying no. Here’s to being told you have “too much ambition” for a woman, that you ultimately must want to be a housewife, or that you need a trophy husband. Here’s to having to have a date to every formal, party, trip to Chipotle; to people assuming singleness means loneliness. Here’s to being told that you “cannot” do things at a young age because of where you live and where you are from. Here’s to learning that “tradition” may be synonymous with “separation”. Here’s to being asked what you want to do with your life when you’re 16 years old, to being told you have to go to college to be successful. Here’s to society telling us that you are worth more and better if there is a certain number as your GPA, title that follows your name, or society begging to have you. Here’s to not being enough–not pretty enough, not smart enough, not old enough, not eloquent enough, not good enough. Who deems you enough? Who can tell you your sufficiency?
You are enough for Jesus. Just as you are.
Right this second.
Society places restrictions on us, whereas Jesus rejoices in us. Society says yes and no, whereas Jesus just wants to know–your heart, your desires, your insecurities. The world offers fleeting excitement, and Jesus offers us the eternal. The world doesn’t care if you are full, and Jesus desires you to have fulfillment.
Until we realize the slaves we are to the world–the prisoners we are to social status, expectations, and these unspoken yet prominent rules. Until we realize the assumptions we believe and the way they restrain who we are made to be, we will never be able to fully rejoice in the freedom God gave us. Freedom from expectations, freedom from rules.
Throw your name up there in the blank–you are not constrained by this world. Be you. Be authentically and shamelessly you. The “you” that our perfect God created. The “you” that our sovereign Lord is in love with. The “you” that a perfect man believes and died for.