In this life we will experience captivity of some sort. It can be mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional. A version of captivity may be forced conformity to social norms and expectations. The more we conform to what the world wants, the less we keep our hearts fixated on Jesus. They say “You become the company you keep” and it’s a true statement. Those you surround yourself with will either keep you on track, or take you off course.
In college, students are trying to figure themselves out, along with life itself. Several different morals, values, and “norms” are being thrown at students daily. Students feel the pressure ( also known as peer pressure) to conform and fit in. In 2016, a guesstimate was made that each person in the U.S. sees 5,000+ ads a day (Walker-Smith). Each ad trying to impose a certain thought or social norm on the person. Imagine what we see today in 2017?
I am currently a collegiate athlete at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Previously, I attended and competed on the Track & Field team at Texas A&M University. From my experience, these were the cultural norms around campus for different social groups… athletes partied, did drugs, and drank… nerds played video games and studied… the religious people only did religious activities and wore chacos … sorority girls wore oversized t-shirts and were ditzy… ‘frat daddies’ wore khaki shorts and polos, with their yeti cups and daddy’s money… you get the idea. As a Christian, that means I automatically fall into the “Crazy Religious Christian” category and being an athlete, the “Partier and drinker”, right? Wrong. It felt like if you wanted to have any impact on campus, you would have to be in one of these groups. The more I identified with these categories, the more worldly I became. Jesus became less of my identity, and more of something I hid. I was ashamed of myself, and realized how far off track (pun intended) I had gone. Once I got my life prioritized and back focused on Jesus, everything fell into place. My guilt was washed away, and my purpose was solely to live for Christ and follow His plan for my life.
All of this to say, there is a lot of pressure to conform to groups, standards, thought patterns, etc. When you put Christ first in your life, you do not have the constant need to reaffirm your status or group. You have the constant reminder that your Savior is the Creator of the world. You know that your purpose is not temporary or can be taken away. You no longer feel captive to the world, but free in Christ.
From personal experience, when I let go of all of the guilt and worldly expectations. I just focused my identity and thoughts on Christ, all of the pressure fell away. I was and am free to be me, in whatever shape or fashion that is. Without a need to conform to a standard or group.
If you are wondering what God’s plan is for your life, and want to experience true freedom. Talk to the Creator of the world, you won’t regret it.