About This Blog

Friday, November 10, 2017

"Blessed are the Misfits" (Brant Hansen)

TITLE: Blessed Are the Misfits: Great News for Believers who are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, or Just Feel Like They're Missing Something
AUTHOR: Brant Hansen
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2017, (256 pages).

We all like to think of ourselves as unique individuals. In wanting to be accepted, we often reveal only those part of us that appear to align with general opinion. In truth, many of us struggle with projecting our true selves only when we feel safe. At other times, we hide. We keep our innermost thoughts and feelings to ourselves. Lest someone finds out and we risk becoming a misfit, a pariah, a marginalized member of any community. Many years ago, I came across a book by John Powell entitled, "Why am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" His basic argument is that people are afraid to reveal their true selves because they fear rejection if they do so. People may not like their honesty and they fear being put aside if their feelings or thoughts do not match the majority view. The truth is, many of us if we truly reveal ourselves, we might even be classified a "misfit." This is not something to be ashamed about. In fact, author Brant Hansen writes to such people that they are blessed. In doing so, Hansen is telling us that it is ok to be ourselves, even though the world around us seemed unable to fit us into its mold. The fear of being left out is more common than we may think. Fears that include:

  • Not having figured out what we want in life;
  • Unsure about our faith in God or whether God still loves us;
  • Uncertainty whether people will accept us for who we are;
  • Being sidelined when our views are in the minority;
  • Holding unpopular opinions;
  • Having doubts but afraid to share them aloud;
  • Inability to deal with awkwardness when there are opportunities to share the gospel;
  • Feelings of being a spiritual failure;
  • ...

Some of the chapter titles can be very provocative. For instance, the "Blessed are the Imposters" may seem downright weird or even wrong to begin with. Actually, it is about the thoughts of perfectness we often superimpose on other people, making them too perfect. We think they know what they are doing. We imagine they had it all going and planned out. We presumed they had everything neatly thought out and fitted together. Truth is, we are all works in progress. We don't have everything under control. More often than not, we are not in control at all. It is what Hansen calls "imposter syndrome" where people are not as intelligent or as perfect as we paint them out to be. This is a book for the rest of us who live seemingly ordinary and mundane lives. We are not alone in our daily struggles. We don't have to be in control of everything in order to live meaningfully. We are very much broken people living in a broken world. If that is the case, why impose unhelpful expectations on people? Why stress ourselves and worry about whether we will make it perfect or not? Why don't we learn to accept ourselves as Jesus has accepted us? After all, Jesus didn't wait for us to be perfect or holy before coming to earth. When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God knows that on our own we will never succeed. He came that we may have life through Him and to live life abundantly. Whether we are broken, imperfect, inadequate, weak, marginalized, out of favour with certain groups, whatever misfit situation we might be in, Hansen has this encouragement for us: "You are blessed."

Sometimes, we beat ourselves blue when trying to achieve something good. We get red-faced when things do not go our way. We may even feel inadequate like green-horns especially when we stand beside successful people or high achievers. Until we realize that they too are very ordinary people like you and me. Like photoshop and computing touchup that makes someone too good to be true, we often superimpose our expectations of perfection on others. In doing so, we make someone out to be what they are not. Worse, when they fail to meet our expectations, we become disappointed. We get depressed thinking that if such 'perfect' people are unable to meet the mark, what about us? Hansen gives us a lot of down to earth food for thought, that it is ok to be ordinary. It is ok to be less than what we hope to be. It is ok to be a misfit in society. For all we know, we are all misfits waiting to be accepted. If Jesus had accepted us for who we are, who are we to reject ourselves?

Brant Hansen is an American radio personality who is passionate about healing ministries for children. As an advocate for CURE, he has been an outspoken voice for the ordinary guy out there. If you think you are down and out, discarded and marginalized, Hansen will be that friend for you.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Thomas-Nelson and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment