This morning while rearranging my office, I came across a book that Candace had purchased at a book fair during her Kindergarten year. Wow, have we girls had a lot of fun reading that book! It’s entitled A Bad Case of Stripes and written by author David Shannon. If you’ve never experienced it, you’ve got to check it out! The basic gist of the story is that Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but won’t eat them because she wants to fit in with the crowd. And, the crowd does not eat lima beans. Ultimately, she goes through a myriad of ailments that no doctor, ‘healer,’ scientist, etc. can fix, from her skin becoming striped with many colors to many other ailments too numerous to mention here. The story ends when a sweet little grandma knocks on Camilla’s door and convinces her to eat lima beans. When the little girl embraces what she really loves, all the ‘weird stuff’ disappears and she is herself once more.
Yes, it’s a silly kid’s book. But, wow, does the storyline pack a serious punch.
I mean, seriously! Let’s think about this a minute. Have you ever done – or not done – something simply because of the public opinion that surrounded you? We humans place a lot of stock in what others say – or think – about us (and most of the time, we should be ignoring it all).
For Camilla, it meant giving up the joy of eating lima beans. I happen to like them, too, but I’m not here to talk veggies. Let’s consider the Bible. How many won’t take it to school or work because they’re afraid of what their friends or co-workers will say about them? We have a Finnish friend who reads her Bible every day on the bus. It’s a pretty sure thing that all of the people who normally ride with her know that she must be seeking a relationship with God. She doesn’t even have to open her mouth and say a word – her Bible says it for her!
What has God asked you to do that you won’t do, simply because you are afraid of what others will think? Share His love. Pray for someone you know is ill. Volunteer at a rest home. Be a ‘candy striper’ at a hospital. (We would love to be able to do some of these things. Unfortunately, we’ve got a pretty significant language barrier to cross before it’s truly feasible for us to do so.) Chances are, most people are not limited in the area of language.
Where has God asked you to go but you won’t, simply because you’ve never considered going there before? New place. New country. New people. New culture. New language. New employer. New teacher. New whatever.
Who has God asked you to talk to about Him, yet you haven’t because you’re afraid of rejection? Grocery store clerk. Doctor. Dentist. Person at the park. Pharmacist. Newspaper Boy. And the list goes on.
Consider the following scriptures: Matthew 12:14, Matthew 24:24, and Matthew 22:15, just to name a few. Jesus had more than a boatload of people ready to kill him for what He was saying on a daily basis. That didn’t stop Him. He said what He had to say, did what He needed to do, went where He needed to go, and it all furthered the Kingdom of God here on earth. (Imagine where you and I would be – or not – if Jesus hadn’t ‘had the guts’ to do what His Father told him to do…)
All Camilla had to do was eat lima beans. God desires us to do a whole lot more than that but wow… is it ever worth it!
I challenge you to consider setting aside your fears of public opinion and follow God’s plan for your life. Step out. Be brave and courageous. Go against the crowd, if need be. You can be sure that no matter what His will is for your life, He will be walking right alongside you.
Go ahead, I dare you. Be a Peter. Step into the water. (Matthew 14:29) Be a Daniel. Experience that lion’s den. (Daniel 6) Be a Shadrach, Meschach, or Abednego. Be willing to face a fiery furnace. (Daniel 3) Then, watch as the Lord Almighty acts on your behalf.
David Shannon wrote Camilla’s story. Only you can write yours.
I believe in you.
Go ahead… do it!