For Lent, I am walking us through a book called Apprenticeship With Jesus. You can follow along by reading my highlights and reflections. Extensive previews of the book, including excerpts, can be found through Google Books and Amazon, as well as eBook purchasing options.
Day 20: Meditation and Monk Fights: Learning to Celebrate Our Differences
– “I believe God gave us all individual differences to trick us into community life”
– Individual differences are to be viewed as occasions of celebration, not conquest
“If more people were just like me.” I am sure we have all said this many times in our lives. Thankfully, God did not make us all the same. Even though dealing with people on the other side of the personality spectrum can be beyond challenging there is alway something we can learn from the other person. My wife doesn’t particularly enjoy reading and deep reflection which are the kinds of things that I enjoy. And I do not always enjoy action and service but through our relationship we benefit the other because of our differences. I get her to think in deeper ways and she gets me off my butt and doing things that need to be done and understanding the emotional tie in to our actions.
Apprentice Activity: Celebrating Our Differences
– Find a quiet place
– Ask God to help you determine an important person who gets on your nerves
– List 5 things that are good about the person’s traits that differ from your own
– Compliment that person for their differences
– Ponder verse 6 of Colossians 3:1-17 – 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
I have never been very tolerant of other people’s differences, especially differences that get on my nerves. Unfortunately, I think my list of people who get on my nerves is a little too long. That is why I need this exercise. I, like many people, like to list all the ways certain people bug me but I never think about the ways that this “annoying person” might benefit me or others.
What is Jesus teaching me? I have recently been placed in an important setting where my gifts and skills are quite different from many in the room. I have had to lean on Christ to show me how to wade through these differences for the benefit of God’s work. Because these differences often come with intense emotions, I have had to learn to focus on Christ’s voice and not just my own so that I wouldn’t let emotions cloud what is the right thing to do. This is a challenge.
Do you see differences more as a roadblock or an opportunity? What can you learn from others who are unlike you?