Very few of us are 100 per cent compliant. Even the most obedient among us has moments of wanting to be a free spirit, if only to order a double scoop of ice cream now and again. There’s something tantalizing about breaking the rules, or at least indulging in a daring impulse-jumping into a pool with our clothes on, or suddenly dancing down the street.
But while most of us are steady except for exceptions, we all know people who define themselves as rebels and openly go against the grain at every opportunity. Most of us have friends or relatives like this (or we ourselves are like this). Rebels enjoy forging their own trail, challenging authority, and questioning the status quo. The worst thing you can tell someone with a contrary nature, is not to do something. Because then they have to do it, right? If only to prove you aren’t the boss and can’t order them around. A little boy sitting in a mud puddle is the perfect example.
You may be thinking I’m going to describe how to stop being this way, but I’m actually going to bump it up a notch. I have an LDS friend who describes herself as a rebel, someone who doesn’t like conforming to all the “rules” we members embrace. She’s strong-willed, stubborn, and would probably fight to the finish if someone tried to grab her in an alley (it’s always an alley, isn’t it?)
In a recent conversation, she told me that this streak of independence is why she can’t be active in the church. I realized I cannot talk her down from that ledge: Being a rebel is too big a part of her self-definition. So how can we make that “I’ll show you” attitude work in her favor, and allow her to come back and enjoy all that the Church offers?
Suddenly I found myself saying, “If you can’t live to please Jesus, at least live to infuriate Satan.” Think about it: If you have to rebel against something, simply shift your target and aggravate the Adversary. Get up every day determined to tick him off and foil his plans. You could do this indefinitely.
It makes perfect sense: Satan has dozens of messages pummeling us every day. It isn’t as if the LDS Church is the only organization with directives-ours are just more blatant. But Satan has just as many admonitions-possibly more-and we’re kidding ourselves if we think we’ve escaped his attention.
So why not decide to be the biggest thorn, the biggest pain he ever encountered? Talk about a great way to channel that antagonistic energy-and the net result would be beneficial, instead of damaging-it’s a win-win! You outwit his schemes and you exalt yourself in the process.
I could see a twinkle in my friend’s eye; she had never considered anything quite this sneaky. I hope she does it. She’d be great at that.
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