Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"What if I say I'm not like the others"

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"What if I say I'm not like the others,
What if I say I'm not just another one of your games,
You're a pretender,
What if I say that I'll never surrender"

-Foo Fighters, Pretender

I love the new Foo Fighters song. I know that what it means to me may not be what it was intended to mean (FYI - I've got a whole thing buzzing through my head about the way things are interpreted), but I find meaning for it in my life. So let me begin my rant...

Everyone believes that they are special. This is may be true in that each person has value and their value thus makes them special, be it to me, their family, their friends, and God. The type of special I'm talking about is different. I feel like most people think that they are radically unique and different from others. Most people think they are special in a non-conformist, break the mold, grab life by the horns, get out of the "rat race" type of way. I see this attitude in a lot of people, but I don't really see it lived out in a drastic/radical way.

Most people are "like the others." Thats why we have phrases like "regular guy" and "weekend warrior." These are people who don't live their life in a drastically different way or aren't particularly unique. Instead they are regular or they only live differently on the weekends. Although they may have had ambitions to live in a different way, I think a lot of people settle. They settle for a life more ordinary. They "surrender." THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. If people didn't do ordinary thing and have ordinary jobs nothing would ever get done.

Allow me to also stipulate that many of my loved ones and friends are "others." This does not diminish their value at all. Also, being an "other" does not mean you are not living a fulfilling and significant life. Living an ordinary life can involve the extraordinary experiences of finding love, making friends, laughing, crying, raising children, etc. God intended these experiences to be for everyone, not just people who are "not like the others." But God has also called some people to live a life with more drastic and radical differences than the "others."

My friend Mindy is a good example. She has been called to a life less ordinary. Right now she is living in Afghanistan and doing social and mission work! What a risky, fulfilling, extraordinary lifestyle! She could have easily settled a more ordinary life: living in the U.S. and using her business background to make money and have a family. And she probably would have been able to find happiness doing that too. But Mindy is different. She is not one to settle for the ordinary even though she may find happiness doing so.

I feel the same way.

But what makes ME think that I'm different? I like to say "I'm not like the others" but how do I actually live that? How do I not surrender to a life more ordinary? Am I just arrogant or self-decieved to believe that I actually am "not like the others"?

I think it is my passion and undieing stubborness that set me apart from being one of the "others" (I must reiterate that being an "other" is not a negative or bad thing). Now, I realize this may sound quite arrogant or like I am decieving myself, and I'm still wrestling with that as well. Is this me trying to selfishly convince myself that I'm supposed to live some sort of unique lifestyle, or is this a calling from something deeper? Is this what God wants for my life, or am I telling myself this is what God wants for my life?

I've trusted God before in living a lifestyle less ordinary, and things worked out fine. I've been able to embrace the fear of uncertainty while moving somewhere with no place to live. I spent some time sleeping in my car before getting a nice place for practically free! Things were provided. When moving from CO from PA, on a risky decision to not go to the University of Washington, I ended up finding free food and lodging for a year and meeting similar people who will be friends forever.

One thing that I certainly have in common with most "others" is a sense of fear for the unknown and anxiety about uncertainty. But what I think seperates me from most "others" is my ability to stare down that fear and take on a calculated risk. Mindy has embraced the fear and risk of living in Afghanistan and trusted that things will work out they way they are supposed to. I've done similar (though not on quite an extreme level) in my life in the past and am willing to do it in the future.

Again this boils down to the difficulty of understanding what God wants for one's life, and then trusting him to provide for that lifestyle.

More to come on trusting God to provide for the lifestyle that he has intended (at least I think he has intended) for me...

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