Want What You’ve Got! (antidisestablishmentarianism)

Photo of Texas Instruments Speak & Spell toy, ...My brother was very young when he mastered the Speak & Spell.

I don’t mean that he learned how to use it… I mean that he knew how to spell every word the red box could pronounce. In search of a challenge, at a ridiculously tender age, he moved on to the longest word in the English dictionary: antidisestablishmentarianism.

My little brother was the recipient of many an astonished expression from my teenage friends as he nonchalantly rattled off the spelling of this word that most of us had never even heard used in a sentence. Was his interest in spelling an attention-getter? Yes. But it wasn’t only that. Today my little brother is among the most brilliant computer-minds that I know. What began as a quirky childhood thing was actually a foreshadowing of the unique and talented man he has become.

I have a friend at church who suffered a severe brain injury at age twelve. Now in her thirties, this lively sister in Christ is active in our church family and around the community we live in. Always equipped with a joke to tell, my friend’s pre-teen sense of humor has become her MO and people look forward to a dose of her quirky perspective as expressed through her fun and often mischievous way with words.

Many of us have, during a season of our lives, been known for something in our personality or interests that seems unusual to others.

In high school, my friends called me McBrita (because of my love for Egg McMuffins and the fact that I often made the one-block trek to the Golden Arches between morning classes).

Guys at the gym regularly stop my husband to ask about his leg routine as they suffer calf-envy over his genetically gifted limbs.

A little guy that I know brings his service folder home every Sunday so that during the week he can use a dictionary to look up the words he doesn’t know yet.

A friend of mine prays out loud as she walks between her home and the grocery store (after receiving a few strange looks, she has found that holding a cell phone to her ear serves as prayer-camouflage when needed).

Sometimes our unusual tendencies and talents bring welcome attention.

Sometimes the unwanted attention we receive because of our novelty makes us want to crawl into a dark corner and refuse to come out until July.

The things about us that seem abnormal to the world can cause us to feel so different from others that we respond by trying to squish the clay of our lives into the status quo molds of our culture so that we can fit in. So that we won’t draw attention. So that we can just look like and live like everyone else.

Paul talks about this tendency in Romans chapter 12:2-3 (ERV):

“Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you… You must see yourself just as you are.”

It takes courage for us to see ourselves just as we are, but until we are willing to do just that, understanding and acceptance will always be out of reach.

Today, let’s stop trying to make our bodies and minds and ideas and interests look like those of the people around us. When it comes to our own peculiarities and penchants, there has never been a better time to Want What We’ve Got!

Daily Questions: In what ways do you see yourself as quirky? Do your peculiarities draw the attention of others (or are you flying beneath the radar most of the time)? How might God be using – or planning to use – your unique self in His work in this world? Are you willing to embrace your inner geek and let your true colors transform you from template-made to Spirit-crafted?