Friday, August 23, 2013

Wonderfully Weird

If you've been around my kiddos and me at all, you've heard me say "wonderfully weird".  I first heard that phrase on the episode of Friends where Phoebe marries Mike.  I liked the way it sounded, and it stuck in my head. 

Raising kids in this self-indulgent, media-driven world is a huge challenge.  Girls and boys both feel the pressure to look a certain way, be a certain size, wear certain clothes, style their hair a certain way and so on.  Everywhere they look, kiddos are being told who they are or who they should be. 

When I was growing up, I desperately wanted to fit in.  In my elementary school years, I didn't really feel that pressure...this was back in the days where kids were kids at school, not in training for high-intensity testing (but that's a topic for another day).  In my high school years, I was happy with who I was...I dressed however I felt and didn't really worry about fitting in.  I was just me.  Oh, but in middle school...yikes!  Maybe it was the transition from private, Christian school to public school.  Maybe it was that awkward age.  Maybe it was a combo.  I'm not sure what the driving force was, but I just wanted to feel accepted by my peers. 

In middle school, all of the popular girls wore clothes from The Limited Too.  My family did not have a lot of money, and often, our clothes were hand-me-downs.  I do remember that in 7th grade I had a navy blue Limited Too sweatshirt/shorts outfit.  My friend Andrea had it in yellow, I think.  I wore that outfit until there were holes in it...for some reason, I felt that it showed the other girls I was as good as they were.  I also remember wearing skirt and rolling them up to make them shorter...don't worry, Mama, Kim Buckner would make me go to the bathroom and fix them.  I was teased my one girl in middle school...I swear, it was her goal to make me cry everyday of 6th and 7th grade.  She was pretty and popular and MEAN!  Even still, I just wanted her to like me, to be nice to me.  I tried everything in my power as a very young lady to feel like I belonged.

As an adult, I have also been guilty of wanting to be accepted.  I spent years trying to make myself fit a mold that wasn't made for me.  I changed so much about myself...the way I dressed, the movies I watched, the things I believed in...to try to make others happy.  I compromised on things in hopes of fitting in.  I backed down from battles that I should have fought to keep others comfortable.  I watered down my spirit to try to find that acceptance.

With my kiddos, I never want them to face that feeling.  I know they will, and that I can't control it.  But, when they face their peers, I want them to be confident in who they are and in who God made them to be.  I tell both of my kiddos on a daily basis that they are wonderfully weird.  They are quirky.  They are silly.  They are smart.  They are inquisitive.  They are bold.  They know right from wrong.  They stand up for their friends, for each other, and for me.  I wish I could bottle what they feel right now so that I could pour it out on them when they get older and start to feel the pressure to be like everyone else.

I feel it is so important to remind my children as often as I can that they are unique.  God designed them with a specific purpose.  Everyone of their qualities is essential for His plan.  Each attribute was intentionally put into place to help them achieve His plan for their lives.  The same goes for each one of us.  Nothing about who we are is accidental.  God knew exactly why He gave me the gift of grace and someone else the gift of strength.  There is a reason I am passive while my friend may be assertive.  He wired each one of us with a very specific task in mind.  When we are being our wonderfully weird selves, we are bringing glory to the One who created us!

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