So last week, after what felt like a forever of waiting, a little ditty called Captain America: Civil War came out at the cinema.
I watched it twice.
It was sooooooooooooooo good.
Anyway, in the film there was a quote, and it's one I've known from the comics for a while now, and in fact, I used it to finish my testimony when I got baptised a couple of years back.
The quote says this: "Even if the world tells you to move, plant yourself like tree beside the river of truth, look them dead in the eye, and tell the world, 'No. You move'.
This is something that has really resonated with me and has been a big part of my growth as a human. It's also been something that apparently, I've got rather good at.
Although I'm someone who constantly wears my feelings and my faith on my sleeve, I've not always been very good at sticking to doing what I believe, especially when it goes against what everyone else is doing. A lot of this is to do with stuff that I've mentioned in previous blogs, such as; my inability to say no, anxiety/paranoia, F.O.M.O, and my need to have people like me.
At school this was especially an issue, as I did and said a lot of things that didn't actually necessarily sit right with me. Many of these things became habits, ones that I'm still struggling to break, and recently have been called out on, which has really made me evaluate my heart and the way I live my life and communicate with others. The two main areas I'm referring to here are swearing and gossiping/bitching. The second one especially is one of my biggest flaws as a person and is something that I'm desperately trying to change about myself.
Recently, in my uni bible study group, we did a little thing where we all wrote each other encouragements, and then these were compiled into booklets by myself and one of the other leaders and handed out. When I received mine, I was actually really touched and inspired, and some thoughts about my integrity actually appeared quite a few times:
"Your adherence to your values in times of opposition is so impressive."
"You are not afraid to stand up for what you believe in (even though F.O.M.O is such a hard thing to overcome. 'Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ'- Galatians 1.10. (you rock this!)
I don't share these things just to make myself look better, but to show that actually, if there is a trait that you desire, you can work towards that, and grow as a person.
I think this shows actually just how much I have learnt and grown since starting uni, since I never would've dreamed of being able to say no to friends' plans before, even if I didn't feel comfortable with them. I've also worked a lot harder at saying something when someone is doing something that I think is wrong, or conflicts with their own beliefs. That's because I want to be someone who not only has integrity, but also encourages others to do the things they say they believe and stay true to their hearts and to themselves.
Have a little look at your life. Do you stick up for the things you believe in? Are you willing to call out other people (in a caring and loving way, of course!) if they are doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable?
I think integrity is such a key thing to have, and something that makes people a lot stronger, and respectable too.
As I work everyday to make sure that I am someone who has integrity, I hope that I can encourage you to do the same.