Working in a Secular Industry
One of my all-time favorite movies is “The Holiday.”
Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black…Hollywood Gold.
The movie revolves around two women who are wildly unhappy with their lives, so, they decide to switch houses on a whim over the holidays…insert here…heartache, hilarity, tears, and happy endings! So many lines in this movie are relatable and worthy of quoting, but my absolute favorite has to be when Kate Winslet finally gets enough gumption to stand up to her long-time crush and literally shouts at him…”I am a very square peg, and you are a very round hole!” Okay, at this point you’re probably thinking, what does this have to do with anything, but trust me, it has to do with a lot of things.
How many times in our lives do we try to fit our very square pegs into very round holes? We do it because we want to fit in, or have the right relationship, or maybe because we just want to feel like we aren’t different from the world. If I’m being honest, I do it, I know you do, everyone does it because quite frankly it is difficult being different. It’s a challenging concept knowing that because we belong to Christ, this sets us apart from everyone else. While this fact may be easier to deal with when we are at church or hanging out with friends, at family gatherings or the slew of things we do that keep ourselves busy, sometimes the place it is hardest to be set apart is at work. I think it’s safe to say that for most of us we work in an environment that not only isn’t Christian, but isn’t even Christian friendly.
Over the past two years I have found myself down a rabbit hole of crazy, smack dab in the middle of one of the most volatile careers for Christians there could possibly be…Hollywood. I love my job. I love never knowing what is going to happen day by day, meeting new people, going exciting places, it is all insanely fun and I wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world, but, it is not easy. Holding on tightly to the Lord when you are getting shot down from every angle is tiring and sometimes feels overwhelming. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but selfishly, part of me hopes you do! No matter what job you hold, in today’s society where money is god, it doesn’t make it easy to be a beacon of hope to those who are missing the Lord from their lives. At what point did the social norm become sleeping around, getting drunk every weekend, and living only for ourselves? It is all around us, whether we know it or not, trying to permeate every part of our being. So, how do we take part with our friends and co-workers without being apart? It may seem a little heavy handed to make such a big deal out of what may feel like something so little, but I think if we do not set ourselves apart in the smallest ways, how are we supposed to set ourselves apart in the big ones?
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its, own. As it is, you do not belong to the world. That is why he world hates you.” (John 15:19, New International Version)
“Hate” is pretty strong word usage, I understand. I think that the intent behind this verse is to be straightforward and tell us that guess what, not being apart, being different, oh ya, by the way, it is going to be hard and the world will probably not like you very much and it won’t be a popular decision. Not going out on the weekend because you know your friends will all get drunk…nope. Not dating that guy because he doesn’t know the Lord…nope. Getting poked fun at because you pray about everything…nope.
I once got pulled into my boss’s office because he wanted to have a meeting about my work behavior. Que panic! We sat down and after an hour of him talking I left, walked to my car, called my mum, and burst into tears. My boss had told me that I was too happy, I was off putting, no one should be as happy as I am, and no one wants to deal with someone who has such a positive attitude all the time, so I needed to learn to tone it down and stop smiling so much. Yes, you read that right, trust me, I couldn’t make this up if I tried! Too happy? Too happy? I’m not sure I even know what that means! I think that this is why the Lord said the world will hate you, it is simply because they will not understand you.
It isn’t easy. It never will be.
“And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2, King James Version)
When you are constantly bombarded with people not understanding why you are the way you are, I ask that you be strong and know that the Lord has a plan for you and he wouldn’t bring you to it if he didn’t intend on bringing you through it. Even without malicious intent, when someone makes fun of you for going to church, or not sleeping around, or being too perfect, or watching jeopardy on a Friday night instead of going to a bar, it can still be hurtful. Knowing that you are different, that you are a square peg, and the world is a round hole trying to get you to give up your witness, waiting for you to mess up to show you that you aren’t perfect…DO NOT GIVE UP. Ask the Lord to give you strength to be in the world, but not of it. To shine your light and be a beacon of hope even if others don’t understand because somebody might just come along that needs that light and you could change their life. If you live your life according to the Lord, you will undeniably come across hardship wherever you go because you are different, but that is the best part. You have been chosen by God to shine and while that may not be a popular choice it is a life-changing one. And at the end of the day when people are filling their lives with “stuff” to keep from feeling empty, you will have the Lord and know that he is there, right beside you, smiling down because you are different.