Peer pressure is still a thing as adults. If anything, I think it’s just as prevalent and we’re less adept at recognizing it than we were as teenagers. When we were teenagers EVERYONE was warning us not to give in to peer pressure, but now, it’s just keeping up with our friends.
I need to tell you, in order to obey God, I have to preach to myself all the time that it’s okay to go against the grain. It’s okay to be misunderstood by others to be approved of by God. When I was a new Christian as a young teenager, this was easy for me to understand. In order to obey God, I couldn’t hang out with my friends that did bad-kid stuff. It didn’t matter to me at that point if they didn’t think I was cool or acceptable.
BUT, what does it look like when our friends are Jesus-y but their lives look differently than ours? We can’t just dismiss their way of life out of hand as bad…but it is sometimes difficult to live in the tension that you’re both following Jesus and you’re coming up with different convictions and different ways to do so.
In the past few years, we found ourselves following Jesus in what I might call “downward financial mobility”. :) As the years past, we found ourselves making less and surviving on less and less. As friends drove nicer cares and bought nicer houses and racked up their investments, we were stacking pennies and holding our breath until our next check came in. It wasn’t that we thought poverty was the way to follow Jesus, but low-level poverty is where we found ourselves as we did follow Jesus in more and growing intimacy.
This is not to say money is bad. We’re not in the same financial position we were. BUT, I learned how hard it is to follow Jesus differently than others in your friend group or your church family during that time.
There are two many temptations to preach to yourself against:
Pride - just because you have been convicted differently does not make you holier or more right. They are likely growing closer to the Lord in ways that are still far from Him. Believe well of your friends and church family. Be generous and gracious with your assumptions.
Preach this: I may have a log in my own eye, I should not assume I’ve got a corner on holiness. (Matthew 7)
Shame - more recently, I’ve become tempted to believe that I’m wrong and EVERYONE ELSE is right. I’ve felt misunderstood and maligned, and I think I might be making 80% of it up in my head. That’s what shame does. Shame inflates and inflames our worst beliefs about ourselves—and not in a holy way, at all.
Preach this: I have God’s approval by faith. (Romans 4)
Just because the culture you’re a part of says good Christian women do one thing, it’s okay if the Lord has called you to something else. If you’re being obedient, you’re not behind. You’re not doing it wrong, you’re not failing. You’re growing, and that’s ok. 🖤