Be a Salmon! Swim Against the Culture

10:40 AMHeather

What do the kid president, Robert Frost, Jen Hatmaker, and Jesus all have in common?  I promise--this is not the set up for some punch line.  If you'll bear with me until the end here today, you'll see the connection.  

I kept seeing this video on Facebook about a pep talk from the kid president.  I ignored it at first, but then realized I couldn't escape it.  So on the millionth time it was posted, I clicked to view it.  

And, I laughed out loud.  I really did feel pepped up.  Inspired.  Ready to tackle the world.  Or, as my agenda would have it that day--school pick-ups and the car pool line.  It's a rough world out there, folks.  If you've never conquered this task, pray up.  

Night before last, I showed the video to my kids and husband.  They laughed, too, and kept repeating, "Not cool Robert Frost!" and "It hurt, man!  Rocks, thorns..."  Of course, I'm the mom who exposes my children to such important things as video footage of Bon Qui Qui, the nail salon, and now the kid president.  Robert Frost?  They were clueless.

So, I looked up the poem and read it to them.  There.  Now all you intellectual literature people can feel as though I've done some good here.  The consequential conversation about choosing the road less traveled sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher to them, I'm sure.  Cause they just wanted more of that kid president.  Or the beautiful nail.  Just one.  Or, "SA-cur-aty!  We got a complicated order!"

Fast forward to my Bible study this morning.  Yes, indeed. The intro week for the Bible study of 7 by Jen Hatmaker.  She's talking about hosting hurricane evacuees and how one little boy walked into her house and shouted to his dad, "DAD!  This white dude is RICH!"  It was an eye opener for her.  To compare herself to those less fortunate instead of those who had more.  

I circled this line in my book.

"And I was so blinded, I didn't even know we were rich."

Gulp.  Blinded.  To the reality.  How 'bout it, bloggy friends?  How blinded are we?  How desensitized to our blessings have we become through our culture of more?  I know for me, pretty desensitized.  It's SO easy for me to feel as though I'm falling behind when I live about 20 minutes from Westlake, Texas.  Yep, a little suburb of Southlake, Texas--which in and of itself, ain't doing too badly.  But, Westlake topped Forbes list of income per capita in 2011.  In the NATION.  TOPPED.  We're number one, baby!  In earning boat loads of money.  And, that my friend, is where I went awry believing that I lived on the wrong side of the tracks.  I mean, poor me.  I don't have a personal chef.  I don't drive an expensive car.  I don't even have a guest room and my neighbor isn't the Jonas brothers or a Dallas Cowboy player.  Waa-waa-waa.

Even if you don't live on the cusp of such wealth, much less in it, you are bombarded with images that perpetuate this lie that you aren't rich enough.  The Bachelor takes girls on dates in a helicopter to eat caviar and rare truffles after buying an entire wardrobe at Marchesa.  Our email and snail mail are crammed to overflowing with ads about buying more.  More clothes, more home decor, more eating out, more organization for all our stuff, more, more, more.  We watch HGTV and see the real estate agents in NYC try to sell multimillion dollar high rises with killer views.  We've got Big Rich Texas, Big Rich Atlanta, and the Real Housewives of everywhere in between.  

Real?  Um, excuse me.  But, the real housewives--I mean really real--would be shown in pajamas and bed head with a baby on their hip trying to keep a toddler from climbing the table to hang from the chandelier.  All while cooking up some toaster strudels (they are healthier than pop tarts, right?) and changing out the fifteenth load of laundry for the day.  

We are desensitized alright.  BLINDED by the culture.  Oblivious to the blessings we enjoy every stinking day.  And, I have to say that my blinders are being removed.  I'm having a love/hate relationship with this process.  LOVE realizing just how incredibly rich I truly am.  Great boost for contentment.  HATE realizing how disillusioned I am and how unbroken I am for a world spinning around me in utter despair and poverty.

Worn from these hard hitting thoughts, I flipped around in my Bible to find some Scripture for the nightly bedtime cards I place on my children's pillows.   And ended up in Matthew 7.

Enter the narrow gate. For wide is the gate
and broad is the road that leads to
destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road
leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 
     

There you go, folks.  The road less traveled.  Not cool, indeed.  But, oh so rewarding.  Surely full of rocks and thorns.  It's pretty hard to be the explorer on unbeaten paths and make a way where no one else has.  Not so fun to be on the lonely journey of discovering new lands while others just dance along their well traveled wide road, where the pitfalls of an uncut path have long ago been tamed.  Pretty convicting to realize just how blinded and desensitized and hardended our hearts have become about true wealth and riches.  

This narrow road?  Extremely counter cultural.  Forget about swimming upstream.  This goes way beyond.  It's a small gate.  It's a narrow road.  Only a few find it.  That translates to lonely, lonely traveling.  

But, not if we band together.  Not if we remember there's safety in numbers.  Not if we join our arms together like Dorothy did with the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow.  There, bound together by determination, we can follow the yellow brick road.  Narrow as it may be.

Which is why we need to pep talk each other.  Who needs a kid president to do that job?  (Okay, he is incredibly endearing and I keep waiting for him to say, "Whatcho talking about, Willis?")  We really can choose this hard way of discovering our blindness and then deliberately turning a blind eye to the culture of wealth and riches and wanting more and more and more.  We really can lift each other up in prayer and encouragement.  We really can dig into the Word to replace the lies with the TRUTH so that we crave more and more and more of Jesus.  More and more and more of generosity.  More and more and more of purging excess and trimming the fat and being open on the altar of sacrifice to whatever God might need to remove that keeps us from His narrow gate.  Be gone, detours!  Be gone, obstacles!  Be gone all the junk that keeps me from the true and eternal treasure that He has for me.  

So, what do the kid president, Robert Frost, Jen Hatmaker, and Jesus all have in common?  Hopefully, a lot with me when it's all said and done.  A determination to be awesome.  To persevere on the rocky, thorny narrow road that leads straight to the immeasurable blessings that I'm too blind to see right now.   

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