Do NOT be a Special Snowflake: a letter to my sons

Dear Cam and Scott

You had snowflakes on your lashes when our city got its own African miracle a few winters ago. Tiny icy wonders, each unique one of those flakes.

Cam snowWe haven’t seen snow since then, but I’ve been thinking about another kind of snowflake.

Urban Dictionary defines a Special Snowflake like this:

The Special Snowflake (also referred to as one with ‘Special Snowflake Syndrome’ or ‘SSS’) is a person who believes they are different and unique from everyone else because of something they are or do. This thing they are or do, most commonly is something many, many other people are doing, e.g. Genderfluid, Therian (Otherkin), etc. Special Snowflakes almost always have a superiority complex.

(You can read more about SSS here.)

Thing is, my loves, society seems bent on creating a generation of Special Snowflakes. You’ll be told over and over how particularly gifted you are, how marvellously irreplaceable. There’s a book we’ll force strongly encourage you to read one day. It’s called Animal Farm. Some of the animals in the book say that all animals are equal, but that some are more equal than others. SSS is kind of like that. It’s the world putting billboards on highways shouting that all people are special, but you are more special than most. And believing it makes you unpleasant to be around.

We’re such a reactionary lot, us humans. The pendulum of culture always swings way too far one way, and then the other. So like, people who grew up feeling squashed down – seen not heard – want to raise up kids who are seen, heard and put on a pedestal.

And I’m thinking that Kingdom work is to keep on keeping on being the voice of reason on a planet of crazy extremes. We need to suspend radical truth dead centre, to steady us and others.

So here’s the truth on being a Special Snowflake (or not):

shutterstock_362792108

1 You are unique.

You’re never-before, never-again. God says ‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart…’ He says that He made all the inside and the outside bits of you, that every hair on your head is numbered and that He has plans for you. That should completely blow each one of our small snowflakey minds.

2 You are not uniquely unique.

You’re unique, like everyone. So don’t feel uniquely superior.

God doesn’t owe you a thing. The only one entitled to anything in your relationship with God, is God. He’s entitled to His glory.

Also, you guys will decide for yourselves one day what the practical outworking of your faith will look like, as lifestyle. If you decide to be an edgy, organic Christian who doesn’t do church, that’s cool. Know that there are many others like you, and you’re not extra special or extra spiritual. If you decide to get into the flow of a mainstream (live-streamed) Sunday thing that serves cappuccinos, that won’t get you a special dispensation of grace. If you lean into meditative vibes, you’ll be another trendy contemplative, of many.

Jesus paid a high price for your freedom. Your one unique life is about living that freedom with humble joyful thanks, in all the ways you know how, to make His Name great. That is all.

Peter writes,

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.

3 Your uniqueness isn’t about you.

The small white miracle that is each inimitable snowflake doesn’t point to the greatness of the snowflake. It points to the greatness of the One who made it. Your startling, powerful uniqueness points to the genius of the One who encoded your DNA. Your unique gifts are yours, but not for you. They’re to be used for others, and for the glory of God.

You two kiddos will get to do very your own life’s work and live out your very own shimmering destiny. You’re hilarious, smart, sensitive. Unique. Our prayer is that you would be ok – deeply, restfully ok – with living the paradox:

Walk tall. You’re a child of the King.

Bow low. You’re an object of mercy.

All my love always,

Mom

xx

. . .

Shout out to my seventeen-year-old nephew, Mark (not a Special Snowflake, just a Legend), for educating his aunt on SSS.

Then, my friend Liz just reminded me of this, from Jim Elliott –

‘Forgive me for being so ordinary, while claiming to know an extraordinary God.’

It’s such a privilege to connect with you here as I preach all this to me (and my boys) out of my everyday ordinary. Thanks for reading. Have a really wonderful week. Feel free any time to get in touch here or join me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

If this post was a blessing in some small way? Please pay it forward and share it with someone you care about. Let’s spread the love.

 

Snow flake pic: Shutterstock.

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