catalysts for change (and dress uniforms)

My 9-year-old wears a uniform for school. It’s definitely not one of her favorite things, to be sure (although I think she looks adorable). There are many compelling arguments in the use of uniforms, and testing scores and behavior patterns over the years have indicated a clear benefit to allowing students the freedom to focus on school and not on the more trivial juvenile complications such as socioeconomic status and competition during classroom hours.

All arguments are valid, however, and as I was sorting through the pro’s and con’s in my head this morning (yes, my brain really DOES run at ridiculous speeds at ALL times of the day; processing endless myriad topics…constantly…), I was thinking about how many different results can come from various schools of thought, parenting styles, work environments.

I can see where a child who always had to wear a uniform growing up might rebel and become a person who struggles with authority and boundaries. Similarly, a person who came from the lower echelons of society, might have faced ridicule for their not-so-trendy duds and struggle with insecurities and an inability to fit in to a social environment. Every atmosphere presents varied opportunities for each person, largely dependent more on their personality, faith, and upbringing, than on the environment itself.

So, this is where I want to take the conversation – what if we are each called to very specific destinies by God? The bible says that He works “all things to good, for those who love Him.” If this is the case, we can trust that whatever situation, family, or desert, we are placed in, we can be assured that we will grow into the person we are called to be, if we focus on His Word and promises. Surely, then, no matter how great the pain, or deep the loss…how mixed up or misused, we’ve been…whatever mountain we’ve climbed or valley we currently live in…It WILL come around and become of benefit to us, if we choose to walk in faith and speak life and hope over our lives.

I remember a poignant conversation I had years ago with a very dear friend. Struggling with some family-of-origin issues, she was graciously listening as I vented, cried and expressed my sheer frustration for what I perceived to be some missed opportunities for growth and healthy development. After a while, she looked at me straight in my eyes and shared something that I didn’t like at the time, but what came to be a comforting blanket every time I faced a familiar or painful situation.

“You were given the parents you were, to become the person you were designed to be.”

Much of life is hard. And sometimes feels extremely complicated. But at its core, we primarily function from one of two positions: Fear or Faith.

While never easy, it’s often quite simple. Our perspective is ours, and we get to do with it what we want. Even the most tragic of stories can end in triumph, depending on the perspective that prevails in the darkest of nights.

Regardless of what we are given – freedom or bondage – the end of the story is more about what we do with it all. If your uniform is confining, add a little bling. If you have no safe parameters and life seems out of control, try putting some boundaries and clear parameters into place. Wherever you are right now, your positioning can always change.

And, it just might be the catalyst for change you were looking for all along.

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