I am different…sometimes crazy. I am more volatile than most. I am a little louder at some points and much quieter than anyone at other times. I feel things strongly. I don’t idle well. I dance and sing VERY loudly.
Sometimes people would tell my parents, it was because of these letters:
- OCD — I do crazy things for no apparent reason and become VERY frustrated when the things I deem important are out of whack.
- ADHD — I never, I mean NEVER sit still. I am always moving, tapping, squirming, fidgeting.
- ADD — Every now and again, in the middle of talking to you, I will zone one out, my eyes will drift to the corner of the room, and my mind will temporally change channels.
- ODD — I will fight about things I don’t even care about and sometimes I will talk back. And if I feel strongly, I will NEVER give up my opinion.
- Synesthesia — I hear colors, see music, and was very surprised to learn that not everyone did this.
This sounds like a lot of letters, but they all really mean one thing: I’m a boy!
I now know, it is just the way God made me.
From a very young age, my family, and especially my mom, knew that this boy (me) was different. I was the third child of four, the youngest boy, and the son of popular christian writers. I had a lot to live up to and people were always watching me and had opinions about how “I should be handled.”
So…I was a fighter, but also a lover, but also a fighter.
While most kids would eventually learn to sit still, I simply could not. It is actually a skill that to this day I have not mastered, even as I write this my legs are swaying back and forth beneath my desk and my head is bobbing to the music in my head. As a boy I seemed to always push the limits, I found more pleasure in climbing rocks and rolling in grass then walking on sidewalks. I couldn’t (and still can’t) do much math but, I could keep a perfect beat to any song. If you asked me to spell (please don’t) “Chrysanthemum” I would instead, draw you a picture of it, complete with story line about how it got there and the hero that had to rescue it from dying!
I was passionate and creative, but I soon became painfully aware that I wasn’t normal. As I grew a little older I remember being yelled at by multiple teachers, in church or a co-op class for “talking to much” and “resisting to learn.” I can even now so viscerally feel the deep frustration at my lack of ability to understand schoolwork that seemed so easy to everyone else. I can still feel the sting of hearing one more “SHHHHH! Nathan, settle down.”
I began trying diligently to fit into a box, just to avoid more frustration and criticism. What I didn’t understand at the time is that God had purposefully made me out of the box. He had made me to be creative and fun, to love people and to perform. He had actually created me to tap my fingers and sing loudly. He had made me to know Him in a completely different way — but just the way He wanted. Another famous “out of the box guy” once said:
“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
What? I’m fearfully and wonderfully made? It was when I realized this truth that I started the journey to understanding I was exactly how God made me! That it was not just a mistake that had to be changed, and molded to fit the standard child. I wasn’t just some accident, but rather, I was designed this way!
The thing is, we are all going to feel different — like we don’t fit into the boxes of our friends, family, church, schools, pop culture, or the boxes others try to put us in. But that’s because, to be honest, God hasn’t called us to live in any parameters that anyone else has designed. But rather, He wants us to love and embrace the beautiful design He wanted us to fulfill.
My family — my Mom and my Dad figured this out little by little, and ever since, have supported me and cultivated and encouraged me in the areas where I delight and excel. They also helped me, lovingly and patiently with the ones where I struggle, so that I could be the man God had in mind. It was a mysterious process and journey that we walked together by faith, because I know my parents believed I was God’s gift.
So I implore you, if you have a Me, a Nathan — keep reminding yourself and your Nathan, that God has made him just the way He intended, with a specific plan in mind. Remind him that all of the “loud” is not to be quieted, but rather, it is to be used to shout the things God has for us to say.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
The story below is a picture of how God longed to meet with the out of the box, crazy, loud, boisterous Me. And when I was 19, He spoke to me clearly and I finally realized what He wanted me to do.
I was faced with a decision when I was 19. Let me explain: I had moved out and was living in the Big City (New York) on my own. I remember it was a cold and rainy night and my family had left to go back to Colorado. There I was, little old (well actually very, very young) me. I had no idea what I was doing and I was all alone. But there, on my first night out on my own, as I was sitting on my Ikea bed in my small apartment bedroom in Harlem (Yes… I know the family wasn’t thrilled, but I was poor), I heard a voice. It was God, He said “Chase me!” and suddenly He ran out the door and into the pouring rain. I yelled after Him that I was cold and alone and was kinda tired, but He just kept running.
So there I was, faced with a bigger decision than I could ever imagine and the choice was clear: Chase after God, or do what I felt like doing. Well, I chased God, I chased Him right into the pouring rain — where I danced and sang with the Creator of the universe. I chased Him through the next year of ups and downs, friends and heart-break, hurts and joys. I chased Him right out to Hollywood, California, where today I’m finally able to look back at all the chasing of God and say with complete honesty… It has made all the difference.
I wrote a book about all that God taught me. It’s a collection of the thoughts and the glimpses of God’s wisdom I had to chase down — all compiled into my very first book. I would love for you to become a Wisdom Chaser too — to purchase your copy of Wisdom Chasers, click here! Or head over here to read my online journal!
And if God directs, why not purchase an additional copy of Wisdom Chasers and give it to a young man who you hope will become a Wisdom Chaser. And perhaps it will be an encouragement to you and that young man, to hold fast to Him, to chase Him wherever He leads, and to find all you were hoping for in life in the chasing of Him.