In her new book Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful Laurie Wallin states "In these busy days, spent vying with the seven billion people on earth for jobs, resources, real estate, and recognition, we can feel lost in the crowd, unimportant, isolated in the midst of the throng. In the building intensity of these times, we need to know that we still matter.
That to someone, somewhere, we're not just known but loved intentionally, wholeheartedly, deeply. You know the way I'm talking about: the falling-in-love, time-stands-still, life-lives-in-his-smile, who-cares-if-he-chews-loudly-or-never-irons-his-shirts kind of love. Everyone wants to feel that kind of unconditional affection from someone."
I agree. We all want to feel unconditional affection from someone. And there is One who does love us that way.
"You're living a love story like this today. And this book is in invitation to fall ever deeper in love. To see yourself and the people all around you in this bursting-at-the-seams planet with the same twinkle in your eyes as the One who designed you does.
It's an invitation, a beckoning to discover the intrinsic worth woven into you, quirks and all. To learn to love the wonder in your divinely designed weirdness. As you do, you begin to accept the invitation to love the weirdos around you as well. We begin to live the Greatest Commandment and its runner-up (Matthew 22:37-40) with vigor as we learn to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and quirks and love others in their weirdness too." Laurie Wallin
Quirks and all. Designed weirdness. That is where the struggle within began for me. I cringed while reading those words. Maybe you do, too. But it was a good thing for me as I have wrestled for years with issues that this book very aptly addresses.
"What if who you are right now is exactly who God meant you to be? What if the weirdest, most annoying things about you exist on purpose--for a purpose--to bring life, joy, strength, and healing to this world?" Laurie Wallin
Those two "what if" questions were what made me want to read this book. They continue to challenge me as I process it.
In a world where "change" is constant and "self-improvement" is highly acclaimed we are always being encouraged, maybe even pressured, to transform ourselves to fit into one mold or another.
Quirks or annoying behaviors? God forbid! We'll do anything to try to cover those up in an effort to become who we think or feel others would like us to be and maybe who we assume God wants us to be. Or at least we'll wear ourselves out trying.
Unless something like Laurie comes along to bring another perspective like this: "That quirk you despise about yourself? It reflects something important about God's nature. At least, that's what it is intended to do."
I wish that I only had one quirk that I despised, but in truth, I have many. A short list would include:
- moody or oversensitive
- overly organized
- talk too much
- think too much
All of these quirks when looked at from the dark side seem like hindrances of which to rid myself of permanently. They certainly don't seem like something to embrace and use for good.
Unless one holds them up and view them in a different light.
This is exactly what Laurie Wallin has done in Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful. She has presented readers with another way of viewing their lives, personalities and quirks. One that allows us to stop lamenting our weakness and instead encourages us to allow God to use those tendencies on purpose.
This idea, that God uses our natural design, including our most frustrating behavior, for His purpose is something that many of us have never considered. But it is definitely something worth pondering AT LENGTH.
Trust me when I say that this book offers something for every reader. Do you wish you had "better" quirks? Have quirks that don't play together nicely? Or one that is too loud? Want to learn more about famous weirdos? Need to tame fear? Desire to find child-like wonder again? There are answers within the pages of this book.
In just the right amounts, Laurie uses scriptural examples, personal experiences, and the wealth of wisdom she has accumulated, as a life coach, speaker, wife & mom, to lead readers down a path toward embracing some of the very things that they have fought so hard against.
While reading Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful it often feels like sitting down with a loving and caring friend. One who is funny, intuitive and smart. All in all this makes for a wonderful journey albeit very challenging.
But, then again, who doesn't love a good challenge?
Here is another snippet from the journey. "When God is in our tendency to over-think, over-analyze, over-plan, get too emotionally wrapped up in life, and constantly think about the future (or never think about it), God's strength shines brightest and purpose unfolds most clearly. The over-thinking becomes strategic planning. The worrier's tendency to stew over eventualities becomes prayer over possibilities. The chatty one becomes the connector in a group or the one who introduces souls to Christ. The one who doesn't much consider the future becomes the one who reveals to us worrywarts the joy and beauty of this moment. You see God doesn't want to work around you or your quirks. He wants to work through you--through them." Laurie Wallin
Wow! What a refreshing thought. And one of many, I might add. I could share quotes for days as page after page of my copy of Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful are highlighted. There is so much wisdom packed inside.
Don't let the cute little cover fool you. This book is going to take you deep into the recesses of your heart and mind asking questions you never thought of. It will provide answers you've missed along the way. It will, also, create some questions of its own which will lead to positive life changes should you be willing to embrace the possibilities. Changes that will make life more "wonder-full."
Why is this topic important?
"Because if you and I don't live fully in our design--the design God says is made in His image--then part of His image isn't shining in this world. Your part. My part. Our neighbor's part. Nobody else can or will ever fill that gap.
Every quirky part of us we hid or reject is one more piece of God's image we're missing in this world." Laurie Wallin
I don't know about you, but I want to fully do my part to reflect God's image in this world. This book continues to challenge me long after having put it down. I believe it will do the same for you which is why I highly recommend you pick up a copy.
You can find more information about the book and how to get in touch with Laurie Wallin by reading the recent interview that I had with her.
(I was provided with an e-copy of this book from Abingdon Press. My review was optional.)