We instantly become outsiders whenever traveling away from home. Whether it’s our accent, dress, or mannerisms – we tend to stick out from the locals. And often we attempt to blend in. But sometimes it’s best embrace the fact we’re not from here.
We’re hardwired to seek belonging. Even on vacation, for instance, we’re often reluctant to stand out as a tourist and try to adopt local customs as quickly as possible.
And certainly we seek to assimilate the traditions around us whenever we stay somewhere for an extended period of time.
Generally speaking, this is wise and respectful. It’s only right to respect other’s way of life when entering their home or community and not to impose ours onto them.
At the same time, this accommodation only goes so far. At some point, we must hold onto our true self even if this means remaining an outsider.
The Apostle Paul reminds us while we’re free to take on other’s way of life, this is only to the extent we’re able to keep our bearings in Christ.
As such, there’s likely a lot of common ground we can find with others and we don’t have to disrespect their customs just because they’re different.
But our core values and guiding principles may make us peculiar to many in our communities. The story we tell and how we interpret the events of life can make us strangers even with those we work, play, and socialize with on a daily basis.
Of course, as citizens of heaven this makes sense – our home is ultimately with Christ and is not with our professional, political, or social affiliations.
We forget we’re not from here when we completely conform to the world around us.
Make reasonable accommodations whenever possible. But hold onto your integrity even when traveling away from home.
Photo by Jaunt and Joyon Unsplash