Despising Rarity

I am starting to hate being called a rare breed. I used to let it feed my ego and hold my head high. Now, it just makes me sad. It took a long time for me to come to this understanding, but I have been coming to this point little by little for a very long time.

I made a thread on Twitter[1], titled One day, beautiful, depicting all of my desires and expectations for when I finally find my wife. It is a thread I created from the heart. It is not a romanticizing of relationships, a manipulation of people’s hearts, or poetry. I fully intend to make all of the confessions therein a reality. Every time people read it, they tell me, “That’s rare” or “Not too many guys are like that.” It used to make me smile, but now it just depresses me.

Why is it rare for a man to want to be good to one woman? Why is it rare for a man to look forward to his wedding day, his marriage, or even his children? Why is it rare for a man to confess these desires? Should it be rare to want the things I want? I believe we, as a society, have done a terrible job reinforcing appropriate values. We have done a horrendous job holding our men accountable. We have gone too long stifling our men from openness and genuineness.

If not for the love of God, I might have been the same. Luckily, God got ahold of me and told me, with sincerity, that I was great enough to be myself without shame. That has led me to live a life shamelessly in pursuit of Christ. He was the one who loved me first, so, in return, I love Him. As a result, I live a life with a mindset considered rare. But the problem is, my desires and thoughts shouldn’t be rare. At the very least, Christians should understand where I’m coming from, being that my desires are for God’s will to be known, understood, desired, and practiced.

However, even fellow Christians tell me my desires are rare. They see me as this preacher without a congregation, pastor without a church, prophet without a Bible’s tale, or somehow a more spiritually in-tune person. The problem is that I haven’t done anything special. My faith is literally a daily decision aided by the grace of God. There is nothing I would consider to be unique about my walk with God.

God isn’t affording me added grace, extended mercy, more blessings, or any of the sort. I am literally taking Him at His word and reaping the benefits and costs of such actions. That doesn’t make me the next Moses, King David, Billy Graham, Martin Luther King Jr, or Tyler Perry. It doesn’t make me some remarkable man. It makes God true to His word[2]. I love Jesus Christ, and I have seen His face. All it takes is dedication to what truly matters.

I pray every morning, I read my Bible on occasion, I evangelize to most that I connect with, and I do my best to be Christlike. Still, there are people that tell me, “I don’t know how you do it,” as if it’s a mystery, or it requires some type of superpower. I literally make the decision every day to value the words of the Bible over the words of anyone else, including myself. It is not a majestic relationship. It is being a Christian. It is being the bride in a marriage to Christ[3]. I am human just like anyone else. I do not deserve a pedestal, nor do I accept it.

Whenever someone tells me, “I don’t know how you do it,” I let them know it was a decision. I’ve said it many times. The only difference between me and the next person is a decision. There isn’t anything unique about what I’m doing or attempting to do. It has been done a thousand times over. All it takes is making the decision to do it.

If you have found yourself saying, “They are better than me,” then you have judged yourself as lesser. Nobody asked you to judge yourself or view yourself, or the other person, the way you viewed them. You did that. You are your worst enemy, and at this point, you are also your worst counselor and supporter.

I understand some will be more athletic, some will be smarter, some will have a greater affinity for empathy, and some will have stronger logic. We are all allotted our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual talents. Someone will always be better at something than you, but they will never be holistically better than you, which is what was being said previously. It’s okay to admit, “They are better [at something] than me,” but it is never okay to say they are completely better than you. That is a lie.

Before you tell yourself, “I can’t do that,” make sure you actually can’t. Otherwise, be truthful and say, “I decided to not do this.” Recognize when you are actively choosing to limit yourself rather than making excuses because you don’t want to be a better person. Some will say, “You make it sound like it’s easy.” Bettering yourself is never easy, but it is always possible.

I believe all men are capable of loving one woman. I believe all people are capable of abstaining from sex outside of marriage. I believe all people are able to love. I believe all people are capable of helping each other. I believe most people don’t need drugs. I believe all people are capable of telling the truth. I believe all people can make good decisions. I believe all people are capable of freedom from, and dominion over, sin. I believe every commandment mentioned in the Bible is capable of being obeyed.

God is not some sadistic person who enjoys challenging you to do impossible tasks. Every single command in scripture is capable of being fulfilled together. We have Jesus Christ as our example. It is not that being like Christ is impossible, it is that being like Christ is impossible without God.

Next time you refuse to turn the other cheek, know that you made that decision yourself. You were fully capable of obeying God’s command, and being a better person, but you decided to be disobedient and wicked. It is the same with the next time you decide to be petty, sarcastic, lustful, gluttonous, prideful, malicious, drunk, high, suicidal, depressed, pious, unforgiving, manipulative, selfish, greedy, or lazy. You didn’t have to be any of these things. You decided to be. Why would you actively decide to be lesser?

Some will say, “Well I didn’t ask for any of this!” If you didn’t ask for it, why do you claim it? How often do we claim our inabilities? “I have to have sex. I have depression. I have to get high. I have to get drunk. I have (insert your addiction/desire to be lesser here).” Some people have mental vulnerabilities, like the depression and suicidal tendencies mentioned above. Some of you insult these people by trying to claim the inabilities they actually have. Even as you read this, you are subtly and quietly coming up with excuses as to why you won’t be better. Spoiler alert: you won’t be better because you will lie to yourself and say you can’t be. Again, you are your worst enemy, supporter, and counselor.

I grow tired of words like king, queen, and hero. We elevate humans for being human so that we can be comfortable being demons. We love being the devil’s advocate so much that when someone who desires to be God’s advocate comes along, we worship them, just as the Israelites did Moses, King David, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – just as today’s Christians do any famous preacher or Bible character.

You can look at the story of Noah[4] two ways: we can see a rare man that survived in a world full of horribly violent people, or we can see the majority of humanity choosing to refuse to be decent human beings. Next time you see something you value as better, ask yourself why you think it is better, and then ask yourself can you be that better thing. Next time you find yourself tempted to lessen yourself (your value; your integrity; your worth), ask yourself why do you accept these terms, and ask yourself is it really worth sullying yourself for this moment?

Again, I say, I am not worthy of a pedestal, nor will I accept one. If you see that I am doing good and better things, join me, don’t admire me. Having you by my side in fighting for the betterment of all people will always be better than you flapping your lips to tell me how great I am[5]. Be genuine, be better, be humble, be kind, be gracious, be merciful, be generous, be helpful, be forgiving, be loving, be open, be honest, be transparent, and be wise in all of your being. We can all be “rare” if we decide to care. If it’s not clear by now, please – don’t call me rare, be rare with me.

Sincerely,

Dario Augustus

[1] https://twitter.com/NovelistDario/status/981503016011550720 [2] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=proverbs+10%3A22&version=NRSV https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+1%3A12-18&version=NRSV https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=deu+28&version=NRSV [3] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+5%3A21-32&version=NRSV [4] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis+6-9&version=NRSV [5] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=proverbs+26%3A28&version=NRSV


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