Some days it feels like I was gifted with the jackpot at the end of the rainbow of quirky traits. I can recall a phone number I've seen written out, even if I've never dialed it. I have the ability to care deeply and quickly about someone I don't know all that well. I cry when moments hold the slightest meaning even when I've promised myself I wouldn't. I'm genuinely enthusiastic about other peoples' lives and interests. And then there's this little gem: Even years later, I'll remember more than is socially normal about a person I've only met once.
It's taken some time, but I can appreciate these qualities now. Though sometimes I get fearful that potential friends or new connections won't be so comfortable with the real me and it will be awkward, so I try to tone it down. I wouldn't want to scare anyone away by my enthusiasm. I wouldn't want to turn anyone off by being the truest version of me. Wait... what?
I think I can safely say I'm not alone in this. Some of us change the way we speak, act, react, hold ourselves, dress, and even the way we think about things, all for the sake of appearing normal. A little more like the rest. Blending with the look and feel of the masses.
There've been countless times I've allowed myself to believe I was made with faulty parts. Tears were not supposed to flow unless I told them to. Therefore I must be too emotional. And I certainly wasn't supposed to embarrass myself by remembering every single detail about a person I've talked to for thirty seconds once in my life. Obviously I must be a weirdo. These people have no recollection of me. While, I naturally remember the four freckles under their right eye, where they grew up, along with their first and last name. Embarrassing. Though helpful at times too. But still, embarrassing and unintentionally stalker-ish.
In Psalm 139:14, the Psalmist spoke words of praise to God about the way he was made: "Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Do our souls know and believe the truth about ourselves? Do we believe God's work in making us is wonderful? It's difficult to praise God for something we think is weird.
So when we believe the way Jesus created us is strange, cringe-worthy, or accidental, there's something wrong with our way of thinking. We must remember how intentional God is and set our minds there instead. We must remember we're set apart. Our quirks are no accident.
All this talk of weirdos and interesting traits makes me think of John the Baptist. I'm sorry, but it does. We generally think of John as this bold, insect munching, scratchy camel fur-wearing guy. He was these things, but more importantly, this cousin of Jesus was entrusted with preparing Israel to meet the Messiah in the flesh. John was to serve as the emcee for the main event -- to introduce the main person: Jesus.
To us John might have seemed a bit strange. To them he was considered a fanatic. But to Jesus he was considered the "greatest of all men" (Matthew 11:11) because of his obedience and all out commitment to carry out the task he was given.
I just love that he didn't seem at all concerned about fitting in, but he did make it a point to concern himself with making sure his life fit inside God's story. He wasn't out to be the most unique or most outlandish person. His goal was obedience. He accomplished this by walking forward in the middle of God's will for him, fully himself no matter how crazy it looked.
Nothing is wasted with God. The traits he gave you, the traits he gave me, the traits he gave John the Baptist were on purpose. Hold your head high, walk in His ways for you, and make obedience your target. Your quirky traits will serve to make the journey more interesting, and they certainly won't be holding you back.