by Niki Turner
As soon as this week's theme was announced (and every time it's been mentioned since) I have a weird Sesame Street/Karen Carpenter flashback. I debated posting at all, but I couldn't let go of this one song... But there was one song that kept coming up in my head when I considered this week's theme.
It's not very old, not a famous hymn (though it was nominated for a Grammy!), and I don't know the story behind its creation, but this song has been stuck in my head for close to a year. Here's the video of "Free to be Me" by Francesca Battistelli, from her Paper Hearts album.
The chorus of the song goes like this:
'Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me
Have you ever been afraid to let someone "see" the real you? Afraid that if they knew how you "really" were they'd reject you, or judge you, or persecute you? I have.
Peer pressure doesn't go away after high school. It continues, as far as I can tell, throughout life. There's pressure to get married, pressure to have kids, pressure to raise those kids a certain way. Christians are pressured to conform to their particular church flavor in manner of dress, speech, even hairstyles. There's additional pressure on ministers, and their wives, to comply with certain external expectations.
That's where this song ministers to my heart, and I hope, to yours. God has loved you your whole life. He loved you when you were a screw-up. He loved you when you were being good. He loves you right now, even though you hid your dirty dishes in the bathtub when that missionary couple stopped by unexpectedly.
Have your kids ever adopted the mannerisms, speech inflections, clothing styles, or facial expressions of their friends? As a parent, how did that make you feel? It irritated me. I think it probably irritates God, who is not only our Father in heaven, but our Creator. He shaped us and knit us together according to His design. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, as Paul wrote to the Ephesians. And here we go, comparing ourselves among ourselves and trying to fit in, not with God, not with Jesus, but with each other!
In the same way we want our children, our friends, our loved ones, to be free to be themselves, to be able to relax in our presence, God wants us free. He wants us to be ourselves, not cheesy copies of someone else. Why? Because He loves us! As the saying goes, "You were created an original, don't die a copy." Not a copy of the world, and not a copy of some religious image.
Where have you yielded to peer pressure and brought yourself into bondage?
What one thing could you do today to GET free?
Francesca Battistelli's website