When people meet me for the first time, they usually notice two things: I am very tall (5’10”) compared to most American women, and I have an accent. Well, there is a good reason for this — I am actually a foreigner living in a foreign land. I have done so for more than half my life. I was born and raised in Germany, then spent over a decade living in New Zealand, and came to the U.S. about 16 years ago. My accent is a mix of German, New Zealand British English, and North Carolinian twang. I picked up the last one by having lived in the South for several years before ending up in Ohio.
If having lived in three countries on three continents has taught me anything, it is that it is OK to be different from those around me. You can maintain your identity and do not have to fit in if you accept your differences from others and theirs from you. You can cherish what they bring to your life by being different, and you can diversify their lives by openly sharing with them who you are.
Last weekend, we heard from Dr. Calvin Sweeney about what it is like to live as a foreigner in a foreign land. His message was “when you know you’re meant to be different, you can live intentionally out of place.” He gave us four things that we can do to live intentionally out of place. Today, we will cover the first step: Prepare Your Mind.
1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
Peter is encouraging his audience to think soberly and think hopefully. Remember, they were living in fear that they might be the next victims of Roman persecution. Peter is encouraging them to be watchful, calm, and ready as they look forward to the day when Christ will return and make all things right again. By preparing their minds in this way, these early Christ followers could live intentionally out of place in a world that did not feel like home.
Have you ever felt like a foreigner in a foreign land? How did you feel different from others? How could you use your differences in a positive way to connect with others, and maybe even connect them with God?
Make a list of things that make you different from those around you and circle those that you could use to connect positively with others. Make a list of the ways that most people around you are different from you and circle those that you would like to hear more about from them.
Also, each day this week, we will spend time in one chapter. Today, we will focus on 1 Peter 1. Feel free to simply read through the chapter. Or, you can listen to it through StreetLights Bible. Download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for making us all so different from one another. Please help me to recognize and appreciate how I am different from others and how they are different from me. Please help me find ways to prepare my mind to connect with others, who are not like me, in a positive way. Amen.
This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Lutheran church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters and a wonderful man who loves the Lord.
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