Yesterday, my daughter & I had an interesting conversation while driving for groceries. She let me know that girls are more emotional than boys. While she’s telling me this, my two sons are in the back seat hitting, poking, pinching and generally harassing each other. In the conversation with my daughter, I explained that girls aren’t necessarily more emotional than boys, but their emotional expressions are often different than boys – not bad or good, just different. And that’s the rub: when someone is different than ourselves, let’s be careful not to throw them in the “weirdo” category and outrightly dismiss them. God has taught me a lot through all kinds of people, most of whom are very different than myself.
If someone is “different” from you, here are a few helpful ideas:
respect – be respectful even if you disagree & remember that treating someone with respect & dignity is based on your decisions more than their behaviors 🙂
listen – I like what Stephen Covey said: seek first to understand & then to be understood
enjoy – differences are perhaps the greatest evidence of how creative God is & perhaps part of how God continues to capture our curiosity 🙂
I was reading this morning about how Jesus hung out with tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes and disreputable people. In their best moments, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought that His choices for social interactions was weird. More often, the religious leaders were “unhappy” with Jesus’ social choices. Clearly, Jesus didn’t fit in with the religious leaders & was weird by their estimation.
On the flip side, it seems to me that Jesus was more accepted & fit in better with the people who were more obviously broken (sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc). Maybe these disreputable people liked Jesus because He was weird. He was different from them, offering them genuine love that they had possibly never experienced.
When Jesus lived on earth, He modeled for us how to be good in a weird way – loving people genuinely. In my thinking, the work we do with Saving Moses and nightcare is wonderfully different & even weird because it’s an overtly tangible expression of genuine love 🙂
When I find something I like, I tend to keep going back for more of the same & my weakness can be that I don’t try new things. But from having lots of different travel experiences, I’m forced to try new things & more often than not, I LOVE it, as long as I don’t self-sabotage by comparing the new thing to what I’ve known or expected. I find this to be true with God as well – there are many times when I want God to something like the past or I had these expectations & then God does something different. And here’s the way cool part of that – God always does WAY BETTER than what I think of expect, but I just need to be open to different. Lets remember that God’s ways & thoughts are higher than our ways & thoughts 🙂
I have the honor of working with LOTS of different people, some of whom are very easy for me & others who are a little tricky. When I think about the tricky people, I’m coming to the conclusion that the things that bug me are often more problems that I have than the other persons issues.
So with this in mind, I find myself pushing into God, praying & asking for help to do & be better. This helps me to be grateful for tricky people 🙂
This school year, my daughter signed up to play her first year of basketball & to say that I was happy would be a massive understatement! Elated, excited, thrilled, joyful, exuberant & more would be more accurate 🙂
As the season has progressed, even though I didn’t want to admit this to myself, her interest & enthusiasm for playing basketball has waned, and this week, I had to have a stern conversation with her about finishing what we start & not quitting when we make a commitment (integrity 101). I hated having this conversation w her because I was very different than she is, in the sense of totally enjoying basketball. I was on the other end of the spectrum, shooting & practicing by myself just for my sheer enjoyment. As I’ve been thinking about this difference, I’ve also noticed that she really enjoys her piano lessons & practice – she will take her own initiative & practice even extra piano. For me, piano practice was a slippery shortcut from purgatory to hell ,)
Having said all of this, I’ve come to the happy conclusion that we are different & that’s totally wonderful! God has made Isabell different than me, in the same way that I am different from my mom & such differences aren’t bad – they are divinely inspired! So, my lesson is that God has lots of ways to express majesty, beauty & splendor, using amazing differences to catch our attention 🙂
Reece & I are taking a few days of vacation & we met some nice people yesterday with whom we had some enjoyable conversations. I find it interesting that when we first meet people, we tend to look for what we have in common & our conversations grow based on those commonalities or stop with the lack of commonalities. This has started me to thinking about how much we “chat” with God based on how different God is from us. I wonder if I don’t sometimes cut short some discussions with God because I don’t understand. Thankfully, God has come to us through Jesus & has done all the work to bridge any gaps of understanding. So my take away is to stay in those conversations & situations with God that can seem unclear & to be faithful in genuine love.