What am I? I am a boy becoming a man.

I am different, sometimes crazy, I am more volatile than most, I am a little louder at some points and much quieter than anyone at other times, I feel things strongly, I don’t idle well, I dance and sing VERY loudly.

Sometimes people would tell my parents, it was because of these letters:

OCD-I do crazy things for no apparent reason, and become VERY frustrated when the things I deem important are out of whack.
ADHD– I never, I mean NEVER sit still, I am always moving, tapping,  squirming, fidgeting.
ADD– In the middle of talking to you, I will every now and again, zone out and my eyes will drift to the corner of the room, and my mind will temporally change channels.
ODD– I will fight about things I don’t even care about and sometimes I will talk back and if I feel strongly, I will  NEVER give up my opinion.
and oddly enough, Synesthesia– I hear colors, see music and was very surprised than not everyone did this.

This sounds like a lot of letters that mean one thing: I’m a boy.

But I now know, it is just the way God made me.

From a very young age, my family, and especially my mom,  knew that this boy (me) was different. I was the third child of four, the youngest boy, and the son of popular christian writers. I had a lot to live up to and people were always watching me and had opinions about how “I should be handled.”

So…I was a fighter, but also a lover, but also a fighter.

While most kids would eventually learn to sit still, I simply could not. It is actually a skill that to this day I have not mastered, even as I write this my legs are swaying back and forth beneath my desk and my head is bobbing to the music in my head. As a boy I seemed to always push the limits, I found more pleasure in climbing rocks and rolling in grass then walking on sidewalks. I couldn’t (and still can’t) do much math, but, I could keep a perfect beat to any song. If you asked me to spell (please don’t) “Chrysanthemum” I would instead, draw you a picture of it, complete with story line about how it got there and the hero that had to rescue it from dying!

I was passionate, creative, but I soon became painfully aware that I wasn’t normal. As I grew a little older I remember being yelled at by multiple teachers, in church or a coop class for “Talking to much” and “Resisting to learn.”. I can even now so viscerally feel the deep frustration at my lack of ability to understand schoolwork that seemed so easy to everyone else. I can still feel the sting of hearing one more “SHHHH Nathan, settle down.”

I began trying diligently to fit into a box, just to avoid more frustration and criticism. What I didn’t understand at the time is that God had purposefully made me out of the box. He had made me to be creative and fun, to love people and to perform. He had actually created me to tap my fingers and sing loudly. He had made me to know Him in a completely different way-but just the way He wanted. Another famous out of the box guy once said.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm: 139-14

What? I’m was fearfully and wonderfully made? It was when I realized this truth that I started the journey to understanding I was exactly how God made me! That it was not just a mistake that had to be changed, and molded to fit the standard child.  I wasn’t just some accident, but rather, I was designed this way!

The thing is, we are all going to feel different, like we don’t fit into the boxes of our friends, family, church, schools, pop culture, or the boxes others try to put us in. But that’s because, to be honest, God hasn’t called us to live in any parameters that anyone else has designed. But rather, He wants us to  love and embrace the beautiful design He wanted us to fulfill.

My family, my Mom and my Dad figured this out little by little, and ever since, have supported me and cultivated and encouraged me in the areas where I delight and excel. They also helped me, lovingly and patiently,  with the ones where I struggle, so that I could be the man God had in mind. It was a mysterious process and journey that we walked together by faith, because I know my parents believed I was God’s gift.

So I implore you, if you have a Me, a Nathan, keep reminding yourself and your Nathan, that God has made him just the way He intended, with a specific plan in mind. Remind him that all of the “loud” is not to be quieted, but rather, it is to be used to shout the things God has for us to say.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesian 2:10

The story below is a picture of how God longs to meet with the out of the box, crazy, loud, boisterous me, and when I was 19, He spoke to me clearly and I finally realized what He wanted me to do.

I was faced with a decision when I was 19. Let me explain. I had moved out and was living in the Big City (New York) on my own. I remember it was a cold and rainy night, my family had left to go back to Colorado. There I was, little old (well actually very, very young) me. I had no idea what I was doing and I was all alone. But there, on my first night out on my own, as I was sitting on my Ikea bed in my small apartment bedroom in Harlem (Yes… I know the family wasn’t thrilled, but I was poor), I heard a voice. It was God, He said “Chase me!” and suddenly He ran out the door and into the pouring rain. I yelled after him that I was cold and alone and was kinda tired, but He just kept running.

So there I was, faced with a bigger decision than I could ever imagine, the choice was clear: Chase after God, or do what I felt like. Well I chased God, I chased him right into the pouring rain-where I danced and sang with the Creator of the universe. I chased him through the next year of ups and downs, friends and heart-break, hurts and joys. I chased him right out to Hollywood, California, where today I’m finally able to look back at all the chasing of God and say with complete honesty… It has made all the difference.

I wrote a book about all that God taught me.These are a collection of thoughts and the glimpses of God’s wisdom I had to chase down, and  all compiled into my very first book. I would love for you to become a Wisdom Chaser too. Click to get your very own copy and you will read the story of how God has worked in amazing ways, and how He has taught me the wisdom of living for Him. Thank you so much.

I would love for you to buy and read more of my first book called Wisdom Chasers and give it to a young man, who you hope will become a wisdom chaser.  And, maybe, it will be an encouragement to you, to hold fast to Him, to chase Him wherever He leads, and to find all you were hoping for in life in the chasing of Him.

Whether you are a Nathan or have one, be encouraged.http://www.WisdomChasers.com
Off to climb on rocks, roll in grass, sing loudly and chase God.

-Nathan J Clarkson


12 thoughts on “What am I? I am a boy becoming a man.

  1. Thank you so much for this. My son is 9 and is always a challenge for me. I need to rest in the fact that God created him and gave him to me. I will try to do my best not to squash what God put in him, just because others think he should act a certain way. I really appreciate your honesty and insight. I pray God’s blessings over everything you do!

  2. Nathan, I cannot tell you how much this post has blessed me. I have a boy who has been defined by all the same letters – by everyone except me. He and I just read this together and wept; he clearly identifies with you. I think it was both refreshing and painful for both of us. Painful because he is so misunderstood; refreshing for him to know that he is not “the only one”. Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding us that as long as God is on the throne, there is hope.

  3. I’m a friend of your mom’s and I love to hear her share about you! I have a five year old that is definitely an out-of-the-box child and he follows my other son who is very much in the box. He is also the third born and the youngest boy and the son of a pastor/soon to be missionary. Thank you for sharing your story! I love sharing hero stories with him and encouraging him with them. Now I even share your story because he reminds me of you (at least the stories I’ve heard from your mom). I just downloaded your book and can’t wait to hear more from your life and your heart! May God bless you richly as you passionately chase Him!!!

  4. Nathan, this brought tears to my eyes!! I raised a boy just like you that is 28 now still trying to figure things out.

    I am going to purchase your book and prayerfully challenge myself to be more patient.

    I love my son with all my heart and I know he has felt some of your same emotions as a child and my heart just breaks…

    I am also now raising his son partially and he is just like him!! Lord please help me to never squelch his wiggles!!

  5. You are so amazing. You’re going to help so many parents learn creative ways to raise their creative boys 🙂 And you’re going to help so many boys realize they’re not alone. Keep it up. You’re a great inspiration.
    PS: I’m reading your book right now while I’m drinking my coffee. I’ve read it a bunch already but it never ceases to touch me.
    Keep it up!

  6. Thank you so much Nathan! Thank you for your honesty and thank you for encouraging those of us who are “out of the box” or have “out of the box” children. Blessings!

  7. Thank you Nathan for staying true to the beautiful creation of you…and for sharing and uplifting others by example. I feel the love that you are. On love always…

  8. I absolutely admire your courage for being so real and sincere. Your parents should be so proud of you Nathan. I am looking forward to buying your book and recommending your writings to others. You are a product of your parents. You too are a great writer like them.

  9. Hi Nathan, I ran across this as a Facebook share and I just wanted to tell you how much this touched me and how encouraging it was to this mother of an out-of-the box young man. We’ve been down the same road with our son. It’s so refreshing to run across such an an awesome young man like you. Gives me the strength to perservere and not give in and try to force our son into the world’s mold. Keep sharing your story! God’s got great things ahead for you!

  10. Please keep writing things like this. I am one of those mommies who has a 4yo version of you, just in female form. I so want to parent her the way you were parented gently and lovingly, but I usually come across as one of your teachers that you remember and makes you cringe. It makes me cringe. It is soooooo difficult and frustrating to understand her. I want to fight for her, to understand her, to love her. Reading these things you write gives me hope for her and a newfound love for her and a willingness to press on for her because she is worth it!

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