Differences. They’re easy to spot, aren’t they? I don’t know how similar you are to your kids, but my daughters are about as different as they come. Not much of a surprise since my wife, Robin, and I are on the opposite ends of the spectrum no matter what personality type test we take. Reese, my 12-year-old, is organized, detail-oriented, high energy, and wears her emotions on her sleeves. Reia, our 15-year-old, on the other hand, is big-picture, less detail-oriented, very introverted, and reserved. Three women at home, and they are all very, very different—both from one another and from me.
We think about being different as something to fix. Or, we can look at our differences in a new light, with a new perspective, and choose to look at our differences as strengths.
In Romans chapter 12, Paul reminds us of our differences, our gifts, and our talents. He tells us our differences are like the parts of a body. Every part has a purpose and a function, and they should be used accordingly. You can see differences as obstacles to overcome or blessings God intended. I choose to believe God knew what He was doing.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:4-5 NLT
After 19 years of marriage and 15 years of parenting, these words from Paul have greatly influenced my leadership at home. What has typically played out is a pattern of acceptance first, then learning to appreciate, and finally learning not only to appreciate the differences of those around me but to leverage them in a way that makes everything better. You see, the different ways my wife thinks, acts, and processes complement me—and become a strength for both of us. When I choose to see our being different as complementary, as shoring up my weaknesses, is when differences can become strengths.
Being different. You can reject it, accept it, appreciate it, or you can learn to fully embrace and leverage your differences. The choice is yours.