Adaptation… fitting in

polarbear adaptationI don’t think anyone really understands how much of ourselves we give up to make sure that we fit in to our jobs, families and our culture. So… what I’ve been thinking of lately is when is adaptation good… when does it go too far… and how do we even know how far we’ve gone? Adaptation is an interesting thing.

When I got my first job out of college, I worked for Allied Chemical… a mine and soda ash processing plant out in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, between Green River and Evanston. What a fascinating job in a very unique place! At that time, prior to the Wyoming oil boom, most people called Wyoming the true wild west. Let me give you some perspective… we went out and “spotlighted” and hunted jackrabbits at night for fun, they herded cattle down our dirt road right in front of our trailer, my friends trapped animals and sold their fur, people hunted elk, deer and antelope so they could eat well, the bars only served alcohol in plastic glasses so no one would get hurt when the fights broke out, domestic violence was rampant, the police feared their own lives, prostitutes hocked their goods by CB radio to the truckers on I-70, and very few high schoolers went to college because they could immediately get jobs at the plants making really good money. To say the least, this “boy scout” wet behind the ears Christian young college grad… yours truly… found out how little he knew about life.

So, I was faced with a challenge. Did I adapt and adopt the lifestyle or not? I found myself in what seemed truly life or death decisions. You see, one shift foreman (of which I also was) was almost beaten to death on an off shift because he didn’t go with the flow. One of the people on my crew strongly suggested I rethink some things… and essentially indicated that I needed to be real careful around the shift lead… he had been known to get real violent and severely hurt people in the past. So, what was I to do?

I’m sorry to say… I adapted in ways that, looking back, were not the best. I started thinking differently, cussing… looking the other way even when I knew it wasn’t right. I adapted and I justified it. Only when I got out of the situation did I see how much it had changed me… how much of myself and my beliefs I had sacrificed. But I didn’t stay there thank goodness. After much soul searching… reflection… talks with Sara and praying, God gave me the strength, discernment, and wisdom to do the hard work of regaining ground… the ground I had lost through adaptation.

I still struggle with this each and every day. It’s amazing how easy it is to adapt when you shouldn’t… to go with the flow… to not confront the tough issues… or to not adapt and change when you should… but through God’s grace and strength and the discernment He gives, I keep trying and, most of the time, find times of success.

Adaptation can be good or bad. Where are you being led to change… to adapt… in a positive way? Where have you adapted and given up a part of yourself or your beliefs just to fit in?

What one step can you do to move forward?