Five years ago my sister and I took a gap year and went to New Zealand to live life as the Kiwis do. Our first day in our new home, a small farming town called Putaruru (pop. 3,777), we joined our host family and their home church as they erected a new worship center (much like a barn raising). Our hosts, worried about our sensitive American skin and the hole in the ozone above New Zealand, took us to the farm supply store before the event so we could get coveralls, gumboots, and giant straw hats that were essentially cowboy hats.
After, my sister and I decided to walk home from the church, so we trudged along the road in our new cowboy hats.
We walked into our new home to be greeted by 10 individuals we had never laid eyes on before, all staring at us as though we were aliens. Apparently everyone in town knew we were arriving that day and had been calling the house letting our host family know we were walking on the street. One piped up, “We saw you walking and knew you were the Americans because you were wearing cowboy hats!” Another chimed in with, “Although we expected you to be more like the Kardashians.”
We were mortified.
My culture tells me I’m not good enough. I’ll never be worthy. I need to be this size, this height, this color. I need to like drinking, partying, staying out late. I have to be cool. I have to be smart, but not too smart – I choose not to believe this. Or rather, I choose to believe what Jesus tells me about myself.
I am good enough. I am worthy. My appearance is secondary – God looks at my heart (1 Sam 16:7) – and if I feed myself spiritually, I live counter-culturally. I’m not successful at this all the time, or even most of the time. The bombardment from mainstream media, social media, and even my close friends saturates me with all the ways I do not measure up.
So I live in this world and attempt to not live of it as I try to spread the joy I find in Christ and knowing that to him I will always be enough. The steadfast church is my culture and the world that it is encountering will continue to pass away.
Katie McRoberts, Editor-in-Chief