being of the type that is encountered in the normal course of events <a quiet and unremarkable child>
In the Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley explains something shocking about the millionaires in America. Those of us in the non-millionaire category assume the millionaires are the folks living in giant white houses with black cars parked in front of them. While this may be true in some cases, what Stanley found through his research is that statistically the average millionaire was not the jet-setting yacht owner of our imagination. The average millionaire tends to be married, does not live in a palace, and might even drive a modest car. The average millionaire is unremarkable.
This is surprising because it challenges our assumptions. Unremarkability flies in the face of everything our world holds dear. To be unremarkable is the antithesis of the cultural narrative. Stand out, be bright, be you and broadcast your every thought. Shine.
Take Instagram. I actually like Instagram quite a bit and think it’s a cool medium, but the main end of many Instagram accounts is to make the person of the account seem remarkable. Look at them on their white horse splashing through the white sand with the crystal blue water. I wonder what their life might be like. The truth is, they probably got up and went to the bathroom. Then they dressed and texted their photographer and awkwardly mounted a horse they didn’t know how to ride and then rode terrified on a beach while the photographer ran after them sweating trying to take pictures. You see, if we pull back the curtain we find most of us are just actors playing a bit.
Before The Fall, Adam and Eve were unremarkable – but they were happy. They walked around naked and unashamed and cared for the gorgeous and yet unstained earth with God in their midst. The glory on the earth was radiant, and they rode this glory like a surfer on a wave. But that would not do. The devil, cunning as can be, knew a chink in the armor of the human psyche. We want to be remarkable. So the devil whispered and led Adam down the path of elevating his remarkability, destroying his harmonious relationship with God and the earth. You’ll be God. You’ll see what he sees. You’ll get the glory.
Not gonna happen.
We are small vessels, incapable of holding the glory of God completely within us. We can show glimpses and shadows and angles, but God is the only one who can hold the weight of his glory. Constrained by the laws of physics and humanity, though we might try really hard we will never be all that impressive. Our faces will wrinkle, our bladders will weaken, and we will gravitate towards ugly but comfortable shoes.
To God, we are all remarkable because he sees our souls. He sees the uniqueness of your DNA and your potential. He sees you push through a funeral and then offer a kind word to a stranger. He forgives you when you promote yourself. He sees the real you, not the Instagram you.
I hardly ever think about what God thinks of me. I prefer to think about what others think of me. But think about the difference it would make if we focused on just being God’s child. If we understood that our value comes from his eyes alone, we would feel valued, loved, and delighted in. If we believe value comes from our fellow humans, we will feel unworthy.
My kids are too young to care what other people think of them. They wear what we put on them and say whatever comes to mind. And maybe I have parent goggles, but I think they’re funny and smart and beautiful. I don’t care if Liam is the quarterback or Lila is the prom queen, I just love them intensely because of who they are. If they end up trying really hard to be remarkable, it’ll just make me sad.
God’s glory covers us like a blanket. It doesn’t wash us out, it brings out our true essence – which happens to be out of the limelight. We were not designed for center stage. Why do you think celebrities and billionaires have such weird flame-outs? They break under the impossible pressure to be elevated. Their remarkability puts pressure on them to stay remarkable and not show their bad side.
Friend, just get over yourself. You aren’t cool and it doesn’t matter anyway. Not many days from now we will end up in an expensive box in a hideous condition. The show will be over soon. Let’s be unremarkables. Let’s focus on doing valuable work that shines God’s glory, like loving others and doing good business and creating beautiful stuff. Let’s chase after a remarkable God and smile in the shadow of his wings. That’s where we belong.