When you hear that word, what comes to mind?
I always think of something strange or different. Or odd. I would say that most of my life, I felt like I was peculiar. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, it was like I was made not to fit in. And that was very unsettling to me for a long time because I wanted to belong to something and be accepted without having to wear a mask or a personality that I thought would make me more pleasing to others.
If you’ve ever tried that you can probably relate and you might even say that deep down, trying to be what you thought others wanted you to be didn’t bring any lasting joy, even though it may have brought temporary acceptance.
But, let’s go back to that word peculiar. Webster’s 1849 dictionary defines peculiar as:
a. characteristic of only one person, group or thing: distinctive.
b. different from the usual or normal.
c. odd, curious.
d. eccentric, unusual. something exempt from ordinary jurisdiction.
Synonyms: atypical, exceeding, exceptional, rare, unique, unusual.
Antonyms: common, normal, ordinary, typical, unexceptional.
Peculiar doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. In fact, it sounds pretty special. I mean, who wants to be normal when you can be peculiar?
Understanding the true definition of a word that at first glance feels synonymous with an outsider has the potential to bring freedom and allow you to completely reframe your identity.
You are distinct. You are unusual. You are rare. You have gifts that this world needs. And above all else, this world needs you to be authentically you while giving your gifts to others. Free yourself from the limitations of what you thought about being different.
Your difference is all the difference.
1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may declare praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”