One of my favorite movies of all time is Fight Club. I have a weak stomach and I can’t watch most of the actual fighting scenes and there are definitely some scenes I wouldn’t watch with a 13 year old (or my parents, for that matter) but there is something deeply profound about that whole idea of knowing our true selves and the inner and outer worlds we tend to want to keep separated at arms-length from one another.
In one scene (not a real spoiler here, I hope), the head honcho, Tyler Durden, uses a very particular phrase to train his men:
“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful or unique snowflake.”
Then he goes on to say, “You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”
Thanks for the encouragement, dude.
There was a time when I believed that maybe I wasn’t unique at all. That belief often sent me into a deep depression. I thought, What is the point of living then? If I’m no different than any other person and I have no unique purpose in life, what is the point of anything?
But actually that’s not true at all, is it? In fact, I’ve embraced quite the opposite – that I was uniquely created by God, that I was formed and shaped by him, that there is a unique purpose to which he is calling me.
I also think, however, there is a flip side to this concept and there is something to be said about those harsh phrases Tyler Durden utters. There are things about me that are true of all human beings. In that sense, I’m not unique or special at all. More specifically, I was created for relationship. I need intimacy. I need closeness with another human being. And in order to attain that closeness I have to invite others in to my inner world. There’s really no other way around it.
The thing is, I have no problem letting others see the nice, good and righteous parts of my inner (and outer) world but it’s really the crappy stuff I have a hard time sharing. I mean, it really feels like I’m putting myself out there. It is so scary. But I realize it’s absolutely necessary to establish intimacy in a relationship. And sometimes I will be rejected by people here and there when I share, which makes me want to crawl up in a ball and hide in the corner forever. The fact that I let others in doesn’t necessarily guarantee intimacy or reciprocation. But I try again because I now know I need intimacy in a relationship in order to be fully alive and move closer to the true self I was created to be. And the more I journey through this life I’m able to better discern who the right people are to be vulnerable with. They’re out there – those people who provide safe spaces for us, environments of grace where I can come as I am. There is no judgment, there is no shame, no finger pointing, no shaking of the head. They just allow us to be. This is the place I can muster up the courage to let them in. And it is in this place I find the heart of God.
So, I think I am a unique snowflake AND I am the all-singing all-dancing crap of the world.
And I’m alright with that.