It's kind of hip to be eccentric these days. No one wants to be run-of-the-mill or ordinary, so eccentric sounds like a nice option. Quirky, unusual, a little odd.
But when applied to the Christian, eccentric is not the enviable label. While the term eccentric has taken on such acceptable meanings as "a little quirky, out of the normal, and a little unusual, especially in a funky and nostalgic sort of way," the word actually means "to be out of the center, not centered."
When we begin to focus on that which is not really the priority, that which is peripheral, we become "off centered." When we become consumed with that which looks large, but really isn't, we become off kilter. When we become obsessed with those things that are really trivial and unimportant in the greater scheme of things, we become...well, eccentric.
It's easy to get life out of focus. To dwell on that which we can see, that which looms large in our immediate scope of vision, that which yells the loudest to get our attention. It's easy to become so focused on our own problems, our own schedules, our own goals, and our own pursuits, that we become blinded to all else.
I know I find myself off-center on a regular basis. Like a fish hugging the shore line of a large pond, I swim in the shallow water of my own self-absorption, my own "overwhelming" situations, my own concerns. At that point I easily forget the deeper things that can only be found in a well centered life.
Isaiah 40:22 says:
God is enthroned above
the circle of the earth;
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
This small verse in the huge book of Isaiah reminds me that God is at the center of all things in reality. He is the center. He is center. He is. I, on the other hand, am like a grasshopper. That doesn't mean that I'm so small as to be insignificant. God even knows intimately the hairs on my head, the grains of sand on the shore, the stars in the sky. I imagine He knows the grasshoppers outside on my back patio pretty well too. So this verse isn't calling me and my stuff and my life and my concerns insignificant.
It's just putting them in proper perspective.
God is enthroned above it all. And me and mine are like grasshoppers.
So what's a gal to do when she finds herself living as an eccentric Christian, one who has gotten things a little out of perspective? What are we to do when we realize we've been looking at our little personal world through the magnifying glass of self-absorption while the truly important things have been getting lost in our peripheral vision?
Do what Selwyn Hughes suggests and, "See how great and powerful God is. Set your problems in the context of His omnipotence."
I suggest we spend some time reflecting on God's power, God's unlimited ability, God's sovereignty, and God's purposes. When we do, we'll feel ourselves moving back toward the center, back toward the deep middle, back where we really belong.
It may be cute to be an eccentric professor, artist, or woman down the street. But there's nothing stylish or hip about being an eccentric Christian. Let's stay in the center where God is enthroned and our lives can be seen with proper perspective.