Originally published Wednesday, 19 March 2014.
Do you ever feel different from those around you? Maybe your physical appearance looks different, or you are a woman living in an all-male-home (like me!), or your work/school/income situation is different from your friends, etc. Whatever it is, do you ever feel like there is something that makes you special, unique, or .... an oddball? I asked this question yesterday on Facebook and was amazed at the response!
I have felt like an oddball in so many ways. I am the only female in an all-male household. I was one of the only women in our church that was not a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom. I have worked as a software developer for many years. This occupation is a male-dominated one, and in school I had several classes where I was the only female. I have imperfections outwardly that appear to not affect others around me. That's the hidden message behind being an oddball ..... You're different.
... something is wrong with you.
... you don't fit in.
... you are alone.
The most heart-breaking thing for me is seeing children and teens face being different and coming to the conclusion that they are worthless. Our children are often bullied with the idea that being different is being a failure. I will just be honest right now and say that even within the Christian community, being different (in that I have a full-time job) has often left me feeling like a complete failure.
When the next generation looks into the mirror and sees an oddball, we have a responsibility. We must change the message that they understand when they hear the term "oddball'.
This is the message we must share with our children:
Oddball does not mean failure.
Oddball does not mean "less than", or "not enough", or "weird", or "ugly", or "strange", or "unloved", or "alone".
Oddball means uniquely designed for God's purpose.
What if I told you that God has a specific purpose for uniqueness? I don't mean just to pat someone on the back and send a warm-fuzzy feeling. I mean deep-down, could we believe together that God has created each of us in some type of "oddball" way for a reason? I have been studying the Bible and learning that God often calls on the oddballs! Reading the Bible, I get to see his plan with the ending for each person who has lived before me. However, I don't see my life's big picture. I don't get to see how He fits the oddball-ness of my life in with His big plan. I just have to trust Him.
Being different gives each of us a unique perspective. Being different gives each of us unique strengths. Being different gives each of us unique weaknesses.... which God can use to display His strength!
Instead of becoming bitter and depressed over being an oddball, I challenge each of us (myself included!) to offer our lives to God. Offer those things that make you feel different. Submit your scars, crooked teeth, broken marriage, skin problems, weight problems, income shortages, work situation, pregnancy, infertility, or whatever it is that makes you unique. Give it to God as an offering.
I have been discouraged over imperfections in my appearance, and the other night for the first time in my life, I just prayed that God would show me why I still struggle with it. I prayed that God would give me wisdom, understanding, and discernment to know how best to give him my scars as an offering.
... because it makes me feel like an oddball. But the lies are being replaced with truth, and this post is just a part of what God is teaching my heart...
You know, being an oddball after submitting this struggle to God, actually feels now like freedom. It feels like God has taken Satan's lies of discouragement and distraction and has exposed them to the light of His truth that He makes all things new.
Could you trust God today to give you a new story for your unique struggles? To believe His truth and replace the lies? Could we offer together our "oddballness" in order to encourage our children to embrace each aspect of their lives that makes them different? Could we trust God together that He has a purpose for each of us and that all things work together for good to those who love Him?