Day 1 - The Journey Begins
When I emigrated to Hawaii from Hong Kong along with my parents, I began to notice that I was different from my classmates because I was Chinese and could not speak English well. I tried to hide my identity as a Chinese immigrant and was even ashamed of my Chinese speaking parents because they represented the person I was trying so hard not to be. As a foreign girl, I desperately wanted to be accepted by my peers as I pretended to be like them. I even made it a goal to sit next to the most popular girl in school at lunch in hopes of being accepted by the popular group so that no one would see my shame of being different from them all.
Have you ever felt like you were not good enough or that you didn’t measure up to the people around you? Have you ever been intimidated because of your race or gender? Perhaps you felt inadequate by someone you perceive to be more popular or from people with higher status. The problem is that sometimes feelings of inadequacy can cause you to become ashamed and embarrassed of who you are.
When we fail to accept our culture and heritage, we begin to compare ourselves with the people around us. Is this person popular, smart, or just plain weird? We might even make it our goal to befriend those that we believe can increase our social status just so we feel “normal” and fit in with the crowd.
Unfortunately, when we feel different from others, we often try to hide our inadequacies and our shame of being different. It’s only natural to want to be accepted by those we consider popular or cool, but we cannot pretend to be someone we are not just to gain acceptance. The good news is that we do not have to be like everyone else. We must be willing to take the first step by learning to embrace our heritage and appreciate who we are in Christ.