“Oh! How are you?”
Her voice is like Disneyland. She meets each student with an individual, sugary greeting while I wait my turn excitedly at the end of the cue of Jr. High geeks.
I just love to look at her. I love the way she has different colored earrings on everyday to match her outfit. I love her adorable smile and the way her cheeks are always balmy. When you tell her something, her body stills, her smile grows serious and her brown eyes begin to sparkle—it’s like you’re the only person in the room. In my awkward mid-pubescent eyes, she is literally like Disneyland, or ice cream… or a puppy.
I step across the threshold into her classroom and smile up at her as she welcomes me, but my usual excitement falters when I see a bright pink nametag on her blouse. It glaringly announces, “I am weird.” Before I know it, she slaps an identical nametag onto my sweater and ushers me into the classroom. What is this?
All around me, my classmates have turned red, started giggling with one-another or have even taken the nametag off and put it on someone else.
Everyone’s nametag also has, “I am weird,” plastered on it in large letters.
Miss Brasuell walks into the room with the last of the children, her face is shining mischievously.
“You are all weird! I am weird!” She exclaims, pointing to her own nametag and giggling despite herself. Wide-eyed pre-teens and those obnoxious neon tags gaze up at her. She’s very amused.
The rest of that day in seventh grade was more impactful than I would ever realize until I was 21 and digging through the remnants of my youth. I kept that nametag in an old shoebox of only my most cherished possessions. It absolutely amazes me that I carried it home and it survived years of a messy teenager’s room. Yes, I am pretty sure it made an imprint on my naive pre-teen heart.
Beautiful Miss Brasuell, who has since become Mrs. Harris, instilled in me the desire to be different, to be unconventional … to be weird. That day, she taught us about what it means to truly follow Jesus. She said it was hard. She said it would cost us. To society, we might look weird for following Jesus. Miss Brasuell was not afraid to tell it to us straight.
Today, only three weeks away from beginning my senior year of college, being weird is something that I have taken comfort in. This summer has been a summer of preparation, networking, prayer and, most of all, processing. Supreme Court decisions, murder, fireballs of anger on social media, poverty, identity shifting, utter national division—in between tears and frustration this summer, I found myself so exhausted with being part of the “different” crowd. But it’s something I have to confidently choose. What kind of adult will I choose to be? How will I react? What will I stand up for? Well, I think I will choose to be weird.
Like Miss Brasuell so wisely and humorously pointed out, as Christians we are wearing bright neon signs that declare all kinds of ideas to our society. I can guarantee that the majority of the world around us sees “weird” written on our flashing nametags. But I believe that’s okay. We can take comfort in the fact that our Savior was also a living, breathing… well… weirdo! Who was this Jewish hippie walking around with sinners? Being weird goes even farther than just being countercultural. It even means being “counter religious.” While the world may see us as weirdos because of our beliefs, they should be even more appalled when we reach out loving arms to those who disagree with us. This can be so difficult, but it is what Christ did, and still does. He chose some of the most societally unqualified people to continue His work on earth. To the Pharisees, Jesus was nuts. He healed the sick on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6; Luke 14:1-6), He spoke to Samaritans (John 4:1-45), He turned over the tables in the Temple (Matt. 21: 12-17). He came to level the competition among the so-called “righteous” and “unrighteous.”
And Jesus told us to expect this. While we can pray, speak and serve during times of crisis or moments of injustice around the world, and while I believe that we are here to do just that, should we be surprised when sin and persecution happens? Because we bear Christ’s name and because the world is blinded by the enemy, we are going to stand out as weird, or worse.
John 15:18-19 & 21, “If the world hates you, know that is has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you… But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
Being weird also doesn’t stop at simply saying it or wearing a neon tag; it must go as far as physically doing something about it. Miss Brasuell told us to continue to wear the nametags to our next class—Physical Education—which meant sticking the nametag on our PE shirts and Coach Shaffer giving us a funny look when we walked into the gym. This lesson from Miss Brasuell was something that she didn’t want us to leave at the door when we left Bible class. I am sure she prayed that it would stick to us, literally, and transform the way our little hearts viewed Jesus. And that, I believe, is the most beautiful part about our nametags—it is a symbol of who we belong to. Jesus has claimed us as His own.
So in this present age, when the enemy seems to be winning and when you feel overwhelmed by the amount of prayer requests that weigh heavy on your heart, be encouraged because you are weird! The moment we surrender our lives to the one true God and allow Him to transform us, a fat neon pink nametag is slapped onto our foreheads for the world to see. Society knows what that nametag stands for, but it’s up to us to decide what it will say to them.
1 Peter 2:9-10, “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 marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
About the Author
Well, hello there! My name is Lauren and I am a follower of Jesus Christ. As a senior at California Baptist University and the Editor-in-Chief of the campus magazine, Pursuit, you can find me at anytime reading in a coffee shop or working closely with my fellow editors in the newsroom. I believe in harnessing the media’s influence for the Gospel and believe that storytelling will be a strategic tool used for the growth of His Kingdom. I am excited to be interning with GLOW and look forward to the ways Jesus will use this platform for His glory (stay tuned for more on Tuesday).