“Are You a Homeschooler?” A Young Adult's Reflection on Convention
by Morgan Dowell
You are a homeschooler if: (Fill in the blank).
You are a Christian if: (Fill in the blank).
Stereotypes: we all have them, but do they really describe you?
Think about it--what really makes you who you are?
Your family and life experiences all have their effect, yet they are only pieces to the puzzle.
What defines your life?
As I think back over Convention weekend, I wonder how often we let our situations in life stipulate who we are instead of God.
We live in a world where everyone is interpreted based on what they do, say, dress, and how they act. Stereotypes carry through all areas of life, from the church, to the world, even your home.
An example of this in my own life is I just graduated from high school, and if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what I plan to do now that I’m an unsocialized homeschool graduate (I know where some of them are coming from!) I would be able to go to Harvard debt free!
I’m teasing sort of, but if you stop and think about it, society really does expect us all to be immature, and self-centered people when we enter our teen years-- even into our twenties.
That lie has become so commonplace today, that the act of showing kindness to someone is considered extraordinary by society. The world’s answer to us is “Why bother?”
There are a dozen more examples that I could give, and I’m sure that you can think of a few too; but those are some of the most common for our generation right now.
Stereotypes in the church are even worse though.
Many people have bought into the mindset of making a list of don’ts and anyone who breaks your list of don’ts can’t be a Christian. That may be the case that they aren’t a Christian, but if you are thinking about that list ten seconds into meeting the person; you are pulling out the tape measure for godliness when you should be listening.
What if I told you I had just met four people whose pasts included lying, participating in a beauty contest, adultery, and serving an evil leader. You would start thinking; “Those people can’t be a Christians!” However, if I told you that they were commended for their faith in the Bible, your draw would drop. By our standards they sound like a hopeless bunch, but by God’s grace two of them are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus, and the other two influenced two nations for Christ.
They didn’t have the Christian life all figured out, but their standard of faith was higher than their need to feel acknowledged by the world, and that is what defines the life of a Christian, not the stereotypes that we come up with! C.S. Lewis wrote; “Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.” Can the same be said for us?
Today, centuries later, we have a colored past, maybe less colorful, but still not blank. Stereotypes rule our lives, and the standards of the world around us wink back at us with pleasing glances that seem to scream from billboard signs saying, “Follow me! It won’t hurt. It’s okay to follow your heart.” The list goes on and on...
Thankfully there is a much better way. You may not think it, but for such a time as this God has placed you where you are for a reason; you can’t even begin to comprehend the plans that He has for you to do, if you are willing to let Him lead.
Let me give you an example... A few years back I remember asking God what He wanted me to do with my life, He didn’t answer that prayer right away; I had to take a speech class to figure out that I enjoyed writing, and from there it took even more time for me to learn that writing is a gift that The Lord has richly blessed me with to use for His glory.
Looking back I would tell you that the journey was a process, an epoch in time marked with highs, and lows; to have traded that path for another would have left me unprepared for today. What was a mountain a few years ago, today it’s a milestone. Another tiny step on the road that leads to eternal glory.
The hardest step for each of us is choosing to come out of the little box that we make for ourselves. Your family is there, and even if you disappoint them you can be sure of the fact that they still care about you. The friends that you have are still there too. It’s comfortable, and safe, but you have no true motivation, you are just living the normal homeschool, Christian stereotypical life. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by making one choice to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Each little step that you take for Him matters.
There will be awful days wherever God chooses to use you. The path that leads to eternity is not the easy choice, yet, as Charles Spurgeon wrote; “As for His failing you, never dream of it - hate the thought of it. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.” There is no one like our Heavenly Father, He still uses people who aren’t stereotypical to do the unexpected.
Today as I look back over the Convention, I see faces... I also hear laughter, someone is either making dreadful faces, or an inside joke is going on! Junior Mints are being pulled out of a bag, and I see a handwriting contest going on! Right now it’s all fun, and games, but beyond the surface image that you see are young men and women who are seeking after wisdom in the choices that are front and center.
Choices which range from nursing, music, counseling, filming, journalism, politics, and marriage, to everything else in between, and Lord willing, all to the glory of God.
Today as our generation is preparing for the future may we always remember; “To seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) For though our habits may say we are a homeschooler, a Christian, a graduate, a first born, etc. Your true definition, along with countless other saints, is a child of God.
Morgan Dowell is an 18 year old homeschool graduate. She enjoys reading, writing, and playing the piano. Morgan blogs at aheartrefinedbyfire.wordpress.com on being the sibling of someone with special needs.