Saturday, November 28, 2009

Appreciating Our Differences

I really enjoy the fact that God has made every one of us unique. I think sometimes people don’t really appreciate that. We mistakenly think that our passions and desires should be the same for everyone else. If we aren’t jumping on their bandwagon, then something must be wrong with us.

Think about the fact that God has created each and every one of us. Adam and Eve weren’t some sort of cookie cutter mold to be copied over and over again. They were made for a purpose and a plan that was unique to them. The same is true for us. Not only do we sometimes not appreciate that individuality in others, we don’t even appreciate it in ourselves.

For many years I didn’t like a certain aspect of my personality. I thought I needed a lot of softening in my character and granted, to some degree that has definitely been true. But I was never meant to be someone else. I have learned that God can take the fiery side of me and use it for His good and His glory. Can it also be used for the opposite? If I don’t watch it, then definitely! You may have even been a victim of it at one time or another. But my point is that I needed to learn how to appreciate the traits and bents that were placed in me and learn how to use them in a way that is honoring to God.

Part of the tenacity that I have has helped me in many ways. It gave me the drive to begin a college education just about four years ago, at the ripe “old” (just using a cliché, don’t mean it literally) age of 37. It also helped me break into some new fields of work after being a stay-at-home-mom for many years. Lately it has been giving me the drive to plug ahead and pursue that writing career that has been a dream of mine for almost 20 years!

Sometimes you literally have to dig to find the good in yourself. But there is good to be found! You can pick yourself apart and only see the negative things, the things that you feel need to be changed. But guess what? God sees beyond that. He sees the potential and He sees the person He has created you to be…who you are meant to be. I have quoted this often (probably because it’s one of my favorite statements) but our music pastor has said that the world is desperate for us to be who God created us to be. You see, who we are meant to be is not just for our benefit—it’s for the world around us, for those we connect with, those who we sometimes just “happen” to run into.

Through Facebook I have gotten to know quite a few people. It is amazing what you can learn about others through this ingenious social network. Granted, I don’t know most of them intimately but I am allowed a peak into their world that I would not otherwise have. You learn how different others are, what their desires and passions are…what makes them tick.

Some things may surprise you—in fact; some might be surprised to know that I am very much into politics. Probably the only people to really know this about me are my family. They know my passion to watch Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, to read their books and other books that speak about the country and how we were founded. They hear me talk about politics. I believe very strongly in some things about our country and how it is going. This is one of my passions.

Others have passions that are just as meaningful to them. A wonderful dear Facebook friend of mine caters some of the most delicious meals you could ever have. She has a passion for food! Me…sometimes my family is lucky if I throw in a frozen pizza. Is my passion for politics better than her passion for food or vice versa? God put those desires and passions inside each of us. I have another Facebook friend whose statuses are almost always about professional ice skating. I think I have skated one time in my life and I will never do it again—have absolutely no coordination!

Just to throw some other interesting tidbits out there, here are some other passions/desires I have learned through various Facebook friends—you might recognize yourself in one of these descriptions (smile). I have Facebook friends (keep in mind I use the term “friends” loosely as again, Facebook is not about intimately connecting with everyone) who have these passions/desires:

• Sewing
• Knits/Crochets hats and hair accessories
• Reaching Muslims for Christ
• Dog/Puppy Training/Obedience
• Writing
• Politics
• Sharing scripture
• Singing
• Grandchildren
• Farmville (okay, just had to throw that one in there—Facebook people will know what I mean)
• Organic/Home-cooked meals
• Homeschooling
• Painting

My point in sharing this list is to simply show you a small picture of a much bigger one. God created a big world with a lot of little people to fill it. That means each of us may play a small—but an important role—in making up this world. As I look over this list, most of them don’t apply to me at all. I can’t sew a button. The closest to knitting or crocheting I have ever come is cross-stitching. I have only been in contact with one Muslim person. My Golden Retriever failed puppy kindergarten. I can’t carry a tune to save my life. Thankfully I don’t have any grandchildren! I have yet to get addicted to Farmville. I will probably never cook a “real” home-cooked meal. I have no desire to ever homeschool again and I would be lucky to do well at a paint-by-number set. But instead of just dismissing them, instead of just casting them to the side and saying, “Well it’s not my passion or desire,” I need to appreciate the unique role that these individuals play.

I kind of compare this to the scripture verse found in 2 Timothy 2:20: In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. Whether you are gold or silver, wood or clay, there is a purpose—no matter how big or small—learn to appreciate it in others and learn to appreciate it in yourself!

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