Of all of us in my immediate family, our son is the one who most embraces order and simplicity. As a young child, he always organized his Legos. He put his trains in color order, made sure his bed was made and had the cleanest room.
As an older teenager, he still likes structure and order and when assigning chores. I always give him the ones that employ the use of detail. They are also best executed by someone who is persnickety.
After he asked numerous times for a rack to organize some of his things in his room, I finally ordered one. It seemed like the perfect choice; a good size, fits into the theme of his room, and it fit my budget – the trifecta of awesome!
I was not home when the rack arrived at our house. In fact, I was out of town speaking. My husband and son decided that they would hang it while I was gone. They gathered all the necessary tools, assembled the piece, and hung the piece on the largest wall in the room.
When I came in the next day, the boys were beaming. They could not wait for me to see their work. However the response I gave them was not exactly what they expected.
The rack was great – they did a fine job putting it together, but it looked terribly crooked on the wall. I even found myself tilting my head a bit just to get perspective. I was quiet and my husband and son waited for me to celebrate their great work. But I was quiet. Really quiet.
I could not bring myself to tell them how crooked I perceived it to be. It was finally my husband who broke the silence.
“You think it is crooked, don’t you?” my husband said, annoyed.
I could not lie. I finally admitted that although I am certainly no interior design expert, I did indeed think it was uneven on the wall.
“We used a level”, my husband explained. The rack is actually level with the floor. However, the door jam and chair rail are not straight. This gives it the appearance of being crooked, but in fact, it is totally straight. He even grabbed the level. Then he placed it on the top of the rack and proved just how perfectly level it is.
We had a tough decision ahead of us. We can adjust the straight rack to fit a crooked room or the other way around. It seems like an easy decision, but it was not.
Facing the peer pressures of the world is not terribly unlike facing a crooked wall hosting a straight picture. We must ask ourselves the following question. If the truth of God is the level, how do our actions and thoughts look in comparison?
We Have Choices to Make Daily
When we face difficulty and peer pressure, we have a choice every day. We can either align ourselves with the “slant” of the world. Or, we can continue to seek God’s balanced and perfect standard – His Word.
Is it always easy? No. Sometimes it is difficult and vulnerable to choose to go against the norm and choose God’s truth versus the more popular and much easier version of the plaudits, positions, and paths of this world.
The Apostle Paul says it this way: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ (Romans 12:2)
Although we chose to keep the rack where it is, it serves as a reminder to refuse to align ourselves with anything less than God’s best for us – His Word. The optical illusion bothers my eyes every time I look at the rack in comparison to the wall. However, it is there to serve as a reminder to our son to go against the cultural norm if necessary. It teaches him to recalibrate his mind to use the level as the guide. Also, it serves as a reminder not to recalibrate the level to fit the crookedness of the wall.
As parents, we have the responsibility to model and teach our kids the Truth of God’s Word. This is so they can align their lives, choices, behaviors, and beliefs accordingly. This means we spend concerted time in God’s Word every day and teach our children to do likewise. Such devotion makes it easier to stay “level”.
Now we just need to find a good carpenter to help fix the wall…
Amberly Neese is a popular speaker/teacher, comedian, author, and all-around encourager dedicated to helping you become the joyful person you were created to be.
She helps people like you experience the freedom found in meaningful relationships with God and others. Her bible studies, “The Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive” was released May 2020. Her latest projects “Common Ground: Loving Others despite Our Differences” and her devotional “The Friendship Initiative: 31 Days of Loving and Connecting Like Jesus” launched May 4th (yes, Star Wars day).
She and her husband have two teenagers and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.
Author of “the Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive”, “Common Ground: Loving Others despite Our Differences” and “The Friendship Initiative: 31 Days of Loving and Connecting Like Jesus”
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