Breaking out of the mould
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what type of person I am. It just seems over the last few months I’ve done a couple of things which don’t fit my “type”.
A few months ago I started worrying about my fitness and health – I really wanted to try and lose some weight and shape up a bit. I don’t have much time to do sports, and I don’t particularly like going to the gym, so I wondered about whether I should try lifting some weights instead (as I was reading up about it I discovered it’s very good for you). The strange thing was, one of the biggest things I had to overcome was not physical but rather my view of myself: “I’m not the kind of person who lifts weights!” I’ve always been a fairly nerdy kind of person who isn’t really into physical fitness. I don’t know why I should think doing something like that is not for me, but there you go.
The second thing is, as I mentioned the other day I started up the Sacred Podcast – a DJ podcast with Drum & Bass music. Again, that’s probably not the kind of thing which goes with my “type” – most people don’t associate members of the clergy with that kind of music! And it seems that most people tend to assume – for whatever reason – that I like classical music, or maybe the style they play on Radio 2. (For the record, I do like most kinds of music, including classical, and when I listen to the radio in the car it’s usually Radio 2.)
But – this is the point. Why should we have ‘types’ of people? Why should we restrict our interests to the kinds of things people expect us to be interested in? Why should we try to fit into a particular mould?
Some of the most interesting people I know are people who just don’t fit into any mould: they are their own people. God made us all to be individuals. We all have different interests – we don’t all have to like a particular kind of music, or a particular kind of exercise, or hobbies, or anything like that.
C.S. Lewis once said: “How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints” (Mere Christianity). This is one of my favourite quotes: those who follow Christ are gloriously different – not carbon copies of one another. We don’t have to share the same interests or hobbies or whatever – that’s what makes us interesting.
J.B. Phillips, a Bible scholar, translated the New Testament into modern English. Some of his translations are very memorable – his translation of Romans 12:2 is another favourite of mine: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within.” Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould – how brilliant! As God remakes us in his image, we don’t lose our identity – we become more individual.
Just for a bit of fun…
One of the funniest scenes from the film about what it’s like to be an individual…