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Finding Your Inner Hipster: Being Unique In The Face of Modern Individualism

There’s a hipster inside us all. It’s just taken me a while to embrace that fact.

According to UrbanDictionary.com when searching the word “hipster” you will find the following:

“Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.” – urbandictionary.com

Witty banter…Now THAT is what being a true hipster is all about, right?

For those of you who dislike the hipster sub-culture, I agree that the term “hipster” has been overused in almost every arena the past 5-10 years and it often carries an air of snobbiness, as if hipsters think they are better than others for their unique style and taste. I’m not suggesting we all have to shop at Urban Outfitters, drink coffee at independent holes-in-the-wall (I fall into this category), only read literature from 19th century authors, listen to obscure bands/musicians, and wear skinny jeans everywhere (even at sporting events…Get a jersey for crying out loud! It’s a sports event, not a night out in SoHo, NYC!).

What I am suggesting is that we begin a conversation with God searching His heart on what He’s gifted us to do, what talents we can use for His glory, what failures we’ve experienced, and what unique voice we have in sharing the message of hope found in Jesus. And if you’re not following Jesus, this is a good place for you to begin asking questions about why you have dreams to begin with, who put those dreams there, why you desire individuality, and why your soul is longing for significance.

In the church we’ve confused uniqueness with modern society’s version of “individuality”. Many well-meaning Christians squirm at the idea of being unique because of the negative associations individualism has carried over the past century, whether from the drug-crazy 80’s to the angry grunge era of the 90’s. Side note: flannel shirts are back, in case you haven’t noticed.

In modern societal culture we’re given a false picture of what it is to be unique and a beautiful work of art. We’re told that truth is relative, that authority is outdated, that celebrities are more important than philosophers, and that we can be our own “gods”. What modern culture doesn’t tell us is that when we follow its example we end up at hopelessness, brokenness, and emptiness.

Throughout the Scriptures we see examples of God using humanity in unique and individual ways, all with the intention of bringing unity, healing, and redemption to creation. God tells a unique story through the life of Moses, the former adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, as He redeems his people from slavery in Egypt. The Apostle Paul is able to use his unique story (former persecutor of the church) as a testament to God’s extravagant grace and mercy. We’re told of Elijah, Esther, Jeremiah, Noah, Ruth, and many others who lived a unique story as God worked in and through them.

In God we are invited to enter into a story greater than ourselves, a story where our unique talents, abilities, and even failures can be the instruments of sharing hope and life with a desperate world.

We are the artwork of God and through the expression of our lives we can either tell a story of hope, life, and love, or we can tell a story of despair, meaninglessness, and isolation.

What story are you telling?

– AV

Questions:

  1. What unique abilities do you possess that can inspire hope in others?
  2. How are you using your gifts and talents currently?
  3. If you’re not using your gifts and abilities to inspire others, what is holding you back?