So, you’re no Molly Mormon or Peter Priesthood, huh?
In the culture of the Church, there are many non-doctrinal expectations. Yes, we should seek to follow God’s plan as closely as we can but that doesn’t require you to make perfectly baked casseroles, to have a “mom” haircut, or be clean shaven every single day of your life.
I’m a convert.
I had pink hair, a nose ring and lots of band tees from my frequent rock concerts. (Cue embarrassing Myspace picture)
Changing the Inside
I started developing a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but one thing is not like the other. I would sometimes question, “Am I really the Mormon type?” The answer, of course, is yes! Because, God wants me. And He wants YOU. My conversion was to Him, not to pastel sweaters and jello salad. (Though I’ve always been a sucker for a nice pastel and 85% of my wardrobe is sweaters.)
Now, there is nothing wrong with loving mom bobs and light pink cardigans. The problem occurs when people feel like outcasts if they aren’t into those things. We are meant to be unique!
It’s Alright to be Different
Elder Holland reminded us of this when he said, that “when we disparage our uniqueness or try to conform to fictitious stereotypes—we lose the richness of tone and timbre that God intended when He created a world of diversity.” We are meant to be different! Our Heavenly Father made us to be unique, but also wants us to change. Wait, what? Yes. In his address “Songs Sung and Unsung” Elder Holland tells us that Heavenly Father says,
“‘Come as you are’…but He adds, ‘Don’t plan to stay as you are.’ God is determined to make of us more than we thought we could be.”
Heavenly Father does want us to try to be like someone else, the Savior. He invites us to become like Christ. So, in some ways, members of the Church should be similar. We should all have kindness, generosity, patience, charity and humility. But, we can do that while enjoying what makes us unique (within the bounds of the commandments, please don’t do crack). So, enjoy riding unicycles, or listening to post modern electric folk music, have your “edgy” haircut or wear that bright green eye shadow if that’s what you like!
Strengthening Yourself and Helping Others
We often create feelings of shame and guilt when we appear different from the status quo. Others may feel judged or on the outside because they don’t fit the invisible mold we have created. There are a few things to help ourselves and others to combat those negative feelings.
- If you are feeling like you don’t quite “fit the mold” remember that the mold isn’t real! God loves you as you are, and for who you can become. How expensive someone’s shoes are is not a factor.
- Serve others. There is no easier way to feel happy and make friends than to serve someone. Offer to go out with the missionaries, and to have lessons in your home. Ask the Relief Society President if there is someone in the ward who could use a meal. If you see someone sitting alone in church go and sit with them.
- Study your scriptures and pray daily. This is essential. Doing so will help you feel the love of God and Christ and realize your importance in God’s eternal plan.
- Reach out to those who are by themselves. Everyone wants to feel loved and included but sometimes it is hard to reach out if you don’t feel like you fit in. Just ask someone simple questions about themselves to get to know them better and try to find what you have in common.
- Do your home or visiting teaching. Seriously. DO IT. It is so important and there are so many miracles!
- Don’t ever side-eye somebody for their blue hair, above the knee skirt or cigarette odor.
Looking at the Inside
Each one of us is a work in progress, we each are at different places in our lives…and that’s okay! Instead of trying to fill molds, let’s fill hearts.
“If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose. … The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’t mastered them yet.” – President Uchtdorf