My mom was a true rebel. There was nothing conventional about her swag. Before the term “afro” was coined, momma rocked a natural. When proper southern belles of the 60s were being groomed for traditional professions, my mother aspired to be a free-hand illustrator or graphic artist. None of my friends’ mothers were similar in approach. While other girl’s practiced how to keep a clean house or cook a variety of tasty dishes, momma ushered me to the latest art exhibits or perched us on the front row of a community play or dance recital. Park adventures turned from endless spins on Merry-Go-Rounds to intense archaeological digs to China.
I gleefully recall us laying belly to ground, cupped fingers pulling back the earth’s surface searching for a different world. She told me China was on the other side of the planet, and if we could dig through, we could visit. Of course, I wanted to go. She had a gift of seeing truth hidden past the apparent and hearing pure notes behind sound. In those special spots of clarity, she placed value. Her drum had a different rhythm and she made certain my drum was offbeat as well.
Momma gave me permission to adopt my own pattern for life, void of popular opinion. I hear this life principle brilliantly ringing in Philippians 3:17. Paul reminds believers to, “…join in following my [Paul’s] example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” In this chapter, Paul explains what holds true value in life. He gives us permission to reject the pattern of this world. The world celebrates substantial bank statements, educational accomplishments, lavish possessions, high-class pedigrees, social affiliations, beauty and power as valuable attainments. These things aren’t bad; they just hold no true value in the scope of eternity. Paul is clear that authentic value is only embodied in a cultivated relationship with your Husband, Jesus Christ.
We must pattern our lives after those who place primary value on their walk with Jesus, counting all other accomplishments in comparison as nothing. Now, I didn’t grant clearance to become lazy and unfruitful. The scripture encourages us to develop our talents (Prov. 22:29) and accumulate wealth (Deut. 8:18). However, these elements don’t equate to or out weigh our knowledge of God. If any worldly pursuit or achievement is getting in the way of your love quest with the Father, drop it. If it makes you feel more adequate as a person, disregard it. We should be quick to pattern our lives after those who are of like minds. Talk about avant-garde!
I thank God for giving me a mother who programmed my heart to invite the unconventional. Everything about the pure Christian experience is unconventional. This life is against the norm and radical; upsetting to many onlookers, unbelievers and religious. Jesus is the truest rebel. Hanging out with sinners, spitting to restore sight and healing on the Sabbath turned His society upside down. Why? He is the Truth just past the apparent and the purest notes behind all sound. He is where true value lies. His drum has a different offbeat rhythm. Beat His drum by attributing value in the right place and following others who do the same. Shall we play?
Kathryn P. Bailey