This Awesome, Special Life, Full of Rainbows and Unicorns…

I came across an amazing blog post recently. It was called “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy”, and if I were the boss of this world, I would make it mandatory reading for everyone. Or at least everyone born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s.

This article seems so brilliant to me, because it’s something Ben and I have talked about a lot since moving away from camp, so I kinda wish I’d written it myself, because it gives words to many thoughts and questions I’ve had, plus it’s got awesome graphs and illustrations. You should most definitely check it out.

For those of you who won’t read it, I’ll give a basic summary: The idea is that because our parents, the Baby Boomers, have lived such awesome lives, they’ve been really  happy – life has exceeded their expectations. So we’ve been taught that life will be even better for us. Plus, we’ve been taught that we’re really, really special. Well, just me. I am special.

But you’ve been taught that you’re very special, too. So all of us are apparently very special, but in reality..we’re all pretty normal. We’re just people.

So anyway, we think life will be AWESOME, and we are soooo special, and we will fulfill all the dreams we have for our future.

But then…life isn’t always awesome and magical, and sometimes we don’t feel very special. Life doesn’t exceed, or sometimes even meet our expectations, so we feel unhappy.

Add to that….social media. Now we have countless ways to see how other people are living the awesome, magical, special life we expected, so we feel even more unhappy. Meanwhile, there is a very good chance that they aren’t living it either, but are putting lots of effort into making it look as though they are living that awesome, perfect life.

It’s all a bit of a mess. And I didn’t use any stick figure diagrams or unicorn graphs to help explain all of this, which is why I really recommend reading the original article.

But in the meantime, I’ll give you the version Ben and I discussed when we left camp:

First of all, I thought we ended up at Red Rock Bible Camp because we were “special” – Ben was hired because God must have some amazing purpose for us there that no one else could possibly fill, and we would do great and wonderful things. (Ben says that makes him sound very cocky and full of himself, but that’s not what I mean. What I’m trying to say is that I had totally bought into the idea that God did have a really amazing plan for us, and obviously we must have been created for just such an opportunity, and of course it would be more than we could ask or imagine, and all that other stuff we’d been fed in the Christian culture.)

But when we felt it was time to leave camp, and I looked back on our time there, nothing stood out as being earth-shatteringly wonderful. We had done our best, we weathered some hard times, we loved the good times, we enjoyed that season of life very much.

sunset

God definitely did some great things, and we enjoyed many wonderful relationships full of blessings and growth. But there were no unicorns.

I had always thought that when we left camp, we would move on to bigger and better ministry opportunities, because that’s how it goes, right? Always onward and upward.

But then we felt called to do something other than full-time ministry.

So Ben started working with his dad, which was good…but not magical. He spent a lot of time at a desk, and learned a ton of stuff, but it didn’t make him feel very special, or very miraculously gifted. He wasn’t really changing the world, although he was bringing home a paycheck.

It was a hard transition to go from a job that was easy and natural for him, involving tons of interaction with people, to a job that was completely unfamiliar for him, and didn’t provide the social interaction he had grown so accustomed to at camp. It wasn’t something we’d dreamed about, and it didn’t have anything to do with the full-time ministry opportunities we’d imagined for our future.

During those first months, we talked a lot about how work has changed over the years. It used to be that if your dad was a farmer, you’d grow up to be a farmer. None of this “What was I created for? How can I fulfill my unique, special, awesome purpose?”

It was as though we needed to learn that life is what you make it, and getting a paycheck is actually a huge blessing. And maybe Ben was not fulfilling every rainbow-coloured dream behind a desk, but he was learning, and spending time with his dad, and he was stepping forward in the opportunity that presented itself. Fortunately, building houses is something he was interested in. If it hadn’t been, could he have been content?

It feels as though we’ve been bombarded with this message that success means having a really good paying job which you love so much, you’d do it for free. It means God will bless you wildly, and life will always exceed your expectations, and your influence will know no bounds, and you’d better have huge dreams, because God will fill them all.

And this seems to be a common idea – Ben and I have had many conversations with people who truly believe that if life isn’t wildly awesome, they must be in the wrong place.

But on Sunday, the speaker at church shared about how 150 doctors recently felt called to go Syria to serve. Less than 40 of them have survived, and now another 150 have stepped forward, saying God has called them to go, as well. What future awaits them? It doesn’t seem to look too promising.

How does that fit with this awesome life we’re all supposed to have? If God would call me to go straight into danger, right now, and I would know there was little chance of surviving, would I go? Would I feel as though my life-purpose had been fulfilled at the age of 35?

I’m having trouble figuring out how to fit this all into my brain.

Basically, it comes down to this:

1) I don’t have a clue.

My spoiled, sheltered, comfortable life has gotten me thinking that this is the way it is – that all this wonderful, super privileged life may not even be good enough for me. I need to dream bigger dreams, and expect better things from God.

What??! Tell that to doctors sacrificing their life, because God asks them to. I have much to learn.

2) I’m not special.

I’m a regular person, living life with a lot of other regular people.

But I’m God’s child. Whatever happens to come my way, whether it’s what I hoped for or not, will pass through His hand, and that’s more than enough for me.

3) God is in everything.

We’re not living the flashy, dramatic, awesomely exciting ministry-filled life I dreamed about. Normal life seems to keep happening, and blessings keep coming, but sometimes they’re really small. We have to keep our eyes open, or we might miss them.

Ben’s job is a blessing, his paycheck is a blessing, this normal life is a blessing, and this last year and a half has shown us that we can be joyful anywhere, no matter what we’re doing. Our dreams for the future may come to pass, and they may not. There may not be unicorns or rainbows. And that’s okay. “Normal” is actually quite awesome. “Flashy” can be very overrated.

********************************

Now I’m curious: What are your thoughts on this? Is there too much emphasis on being special, and living a big, exciting life? Are you able to be content with very normal, everyday circumstances, or do you find yourself wishing for more rainbows and unicorns?

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8 thoughts on “This Awesome, Special Life, Full of Rainbows and Unicorns…

  1. Hi Kendra! Great blogging as usual! You’re a great writer, I’m amazed at the consistent creativity you exhibit! However, I have mixed feelings about today’s blog and the article with little stick figures. YOU are SPECIAL! Everyone is special! This does not mean better than the next person, but rather you are a miracle of God’s! The odds of YOU being created are like 1 in a trillion or something. To say we are not special lessens Christ’s death. Also, living a crazy, awesome, abnormal, wonderful, dreamfilled, dynamic life is NOT overrated. Did Jesus live a normal life? Or His apostles? Does He call us to live a normal life? No. Our responsibility is to live to the potential that God created in us. What that means will be different for each person. Sorry, but normal being awesome is an excuse. Of course, if God’s ultimate goal for you is exactly where you are, then that’s great, but I do believe that VERY few of us are living God’s potential for us. Keep up the great writing! You’re doing a great job! Have you ever, or ever thought about publishing something? You certainly could!

    • Thanks for your comment, Steve! I completely agree with what you’ve written. Maybe I didn’t do the best job explaining what I was after.:) I do believe that each one of us is special, from a spiritual point of view. When I say we’re not all “special”, I’m referring more to the idea of building up self-worth by believing we’re special because I am that much more gifted, that much more deserving than anyone else around me. Our worth comes from Christ, and we need to look to Him to determine our value. He has created each of us in such an awesome way, but I believe there’s a need to see it in more of a “He is the vine and we are the branches” kind of a way than a “I am the tallest, most beautiful flower in the meadow!” kind of a way!

      I think, too, that we just have a messed up definition of what an “awesome life” should look like. We should have big dreams for the future, but we need to hold them loosely – or just place them completely in God’s hands. I think that as Christians, there is a danger to dream for a life like Joseph or Esther had, and don’t give enough worth to people in the Bible like Ruth, or the shepherds who first heard about the birth of Jesus. Some people had really normal lives, and I believe they did what God called them to. It became awesome because it was what God called them to.

      I agree with you – few of us are living up to God’s potential for us, but I wish there was less emphasis on a worldly definition of success, and more emphasis on surrender to His plan, and all of the quiet little ways in which one life can reflect His glory in a thousand small ways, each and every day.

      Maybe “normal” and “awesome” are just feeble words in a discussion like this, because really, we’re after what God wants, and who knows what’s “normal” anyway?! And “awesome” is only truly awesome if it’s God’s awesome!!

      Thanks for the challenging thoughts! And no, I’ve never published anything! I dream about it, but I have yet to actually make it happen!

  2. I have also read this article and my favourite picture is that the rainbow is coming out of the unicorn’s butt. Hmmmm

    I really enjoyed reading this article and the perspective it gives me.

  3. Hi Kendra,

    We are not friends on facebook, but I had noticed Jenna Sawatzky had liked your post, so I ended up reading it.

    I too liked the the original article when I read it. I also like to read articles that have a different perspective. This doesn’t directly relate to the theme of what you were posting about, but more of a response to your referencing generation y article.

    http://www.upworthy.com/the-best-response-for-when-anyone-calls-young-people-lazy-today?g=2

    Here is another one, (yet it has really crude language, and more applicable to Americans)
    http://aweinstein.kinja.com/fuck-you-im-gen-y-and-i-dont-feel-special-or-entitl-1333588443

    I think the original article and your post have really great points/thoughts, yet perhaps these articles do to?
    Happy blogging.

    • Thanks for passing on the links, Joanne! I haven’t been able to get the video to work on my computer, but I read the other blog post, and I do agree that generalizations are not always accurate in every situation or circumstance.

  4. Hi Kendra! I haven’t responded in a long while, but that is because I always read your e-mail and never get around to your actual site, but I am still reading and enjoying what you have to say. Today’s subject is something I have been thinking about a little here and there, but I understand what you are saying. I don’t like my job, but it is a job and I am thankful to have a job, but should I leave it since I don’t like it? Am I just a spoiled brat and think I should be “happy” with my job or do I just stick it out and work. Because, I mean, nobody really likes to work. I don’t know! I guess I am a crazy mess. 🙂

    • Hey, Julie! Yeah, I can totally relate to some of the questions you are asking. I don’t think that we should try to make ourselves stick with an unhappy or uncomfortable situation, just so we won’t act spoiled. I think it comes down to where God wants us. We can find infinite joy if we are in the place God wants us to be in. I don’t think He has ONLY ONE PLAN for us, and if we miss it, we’ve messed up everything! But I think He still leads us when we ask Him. And I think we can find satisfaction in the work we do, even if it isn’t our ultimate dream.:)

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