On the night of the Grammy’s, I watch Anderson Cooper’s interview with Lady Gaga and found it very interesting. She is a fascinating person who has a specific message to share with the world. A message that speaks volumes to teenagers and still touches adults. Her desire is to help people know that they can be who they were made to be. She has compassion for anyone who feels like they are on the outside and don’t fit in because she used to feel that way, and now she feels like she is free to be who she is. It was interesting to me that she also talked about being insecure, and I was impressed with her honesty. She wants to connect to people who disenfranchised from society, who don’t feel like they fit in or belong, people who feel like freaks.
It reminded me of how I felt as a teenager and how I sometimes feel today. The fear that being fully myself would be overwhelming to people, that they wouldn’t understand, and that I won’t ever fit in. One of the truths that comforts me is that Jesus understood what it felt like to not fit in or feel like you belong. He knew what it felt like to be rejected and despised by everyone, including the people he trusted the most.
Not only does Jesus understand what it means to be disenfranchised by society, he came to bring life and to save those who feel the same way. Consider him and his own band of Little Monsters. Consider his cousin John the Baptist who lived in the desert, ate locusts, wore animal skin and didn’t cut his hair. Not exactly the person you want to grow up to be. His message of repentance didn’t make him very popular. He was his own little freak show.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, bore the shame of being an unwed teenage mother. I’m sure there were many people who doubted her story that the Holy Spirit was the father of her baby. Imagine waiting over 30 years to see her son step into his mission, only to die a horrible death. I’m sure the doubting voices taunted her the rest of her life, yet she chose to believe no matter what they said.
The first people to ever hear about his birth were shepherds outside of the village and considered the lowest of the low. These are the people who first hear the good news, not kings, not princes, not the super-religious.
Consider the men and women that Jesus paid attention to. People who were demon-possessed and living in caves. A women who had constant bleeding for twelve years and lived isolated and alone, outside of society. Jesus went against the religious and societal norms by not washing his hands before he ate and touching dead bodies and touching people with leprosy. “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3) He did not come to save those who considered themselves righteous or cool or normal, for they did not even know they needed a Savior. Rather he came to save the people who were sick, demon-possessed, even dead, because they knew they needed a Savior and believed that he could heal them, free them and give them new life.
He bore our afflictions and carried our sorrow, even though he was the very son of God. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16) He came so that we could be brought near to God. Through his blood and his death on the cross, our sins can be forgiven and we who were once far away, who didn’t belong and didn’t fit in, could be brought near to God. (Ephesians 2:13)
Lady Gaga says that her stage name freed her to become the superstar that she is. “I wish I could give that gift to all my fans. We are all born to be superstars,” she says. I have a new name too. One that has freed me to be exactly who I was born to be, exactly who the God of the universe created me to be. It’s a name that God gave to me when I believed that Jesus was who he said he was and did what he said he would do.
My new name is Princess. I used to be an Ice Queen demanding that everyone do exactly what I thought they should. I was the one who pushed people out and made myself the center of the universe. I used to be an Orphan who never felt like she was worthy to belong to anyone. But now I have been adopted and brought near through the blood of Christ. Now I am the Princess Daughter of the heavenly Father who also calls me Forgiven, Righteous, Beloved. I am free from worrying about what everyone else thinks of me because I know that he loves me with an everlasting love. Now that is good news for little monsters like me!