Courage to be Different

What do you see in this picture?  An old church building with a colorful display of pumpkins?  That’s certainly a pleasant enough autumn scene… but I was inspired as I drove by this venue because of another scene.  As I looked up at the myriad of wires above me, I saw “courage” and was reminded of Jesus’ courage –and the courage to which he calls me.

There is a lone bird among the crowd of other birds on the wire who is “not like the other”.  He (or she…I don’t know how to distinguish bird gender) inspires me. Look closely at the bird in the middle on the third wire down.

Years ago I would sing along (with my children) to a song that often played on Sesame Street.  The lyrics included the words, “One of these things is not like the other, which one is different, do you know?”

It’s not that hard to spot something or someone that stands out as being different.

I was inspired today as I saw this bird of a different species standing out among “everyone else”.  I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 1:20 and again through his words to Timothy.

    I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

2 Tim. 1:12

    That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

I’m inspired by the teens and campus disciples who shine in bright contrast to the world around them and aren’t afraid to be different.  I’m inspired by parents who are following Jesus who don’t give in the the worldly values which are so strongly espoused. I’m encouraged by the singles who are living for God, and not for selfish ambition.   I’m challenged and inspired by the words of Paul above, as he learned them from Jesus who said,

    In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

I’m amazed that God is not ashamed to be called our God (Hebrews 11:16) and that Jesus is not ashamed to call me his sister (Hebrews 2:11)

So, thanks little brave bird for your courage to be different from others around you.  You remind me that I am not a citizen of this world, but of heaven.  And my life needs to stand out and be decidedly different — so that God can be clearly seen.  I hope the birds in the crowd will (metaphorically) see Jesus and desire to fly away with you as you lovingly and courageously make an impact on them. I pray to make a difference for Jesus as I fly though my day today.

ps.  While on the bird theme…my proof copy of the new book “There’s a Turkey at Your Door” arrived!  More information coming soon, but you can see info at


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  1. Shari Simpson-Cabelin

    “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. ” I love this scripture so much. I KNOW whom I have believed. xxoo

  2. Lucy

    Thanks sister
    Very simple but inspiring lesson on how to be different.thanks Lucy


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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