Perhaps the first thing you notice are the bangs and how short they are. Based on the squinting, the sun must have been bright as we prepared to go to church that Easter morning. Dressed in our “Sunday best,” we headed off to church in the days when Easter bonnets were common if not mandatory.
Look beyond the bangs and furrowed brow and you will notice my “bonnet.”
My mother gathered my long hair in a bun. Maybe we couldn’t afford a store-bought hat. It could be that my mother’s work as a hairdresser gave her the idea. I’m not sure where the inspiration came from, but my hair became an Easter basket that Sunday long ago.
Notice the grass and eggs placed among the curls. And then, look at the top. Against the boards of the shed, you will see it. Right in the middle, standing tall (and obvious) is a bunny. I showed up at church wearing the contents of an Easter basket..on my head.
I’m told that I loved the look and strutted about with excitement. No one else sported such an original headdress that day.
Then came the comment.
An older lady in the church turned to my mother and said: “She thinks she’s so cute, just wait until she gets older and finds out she’s not.” Although I didn’t hear the words that day, the message was eventually received. In someone else’s opinion, I didn’t measure up.
In someone else’s opinion, I didn’t measure up.
Hair and clothing quickly become potential targets in school. During the adolescent years, a tension exists between being yourself and fitting in. What the “popular” kid wears, the others soon want or get. And it doesn’t stop when you grow up.
Externals such as attire morph into education, career, parenting, housing, and other choices subject to verbal or non-verbal rejections. These assessments strike at more than our choices. They have a tendency to re-frame our self-worth and value. We no longer feel comfortable in our own skin. Our individuality suffers. Differences are seen as unwelcome rather than embraced as variants of humanity. And that strikes directly at what God intended.
We are each uniquely created with varieties of skills, gifts, and talents.
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” (Romans 12:3–6a, ESV)
God never planned that we look and act identically. Only when we realize and celebrate our uniqueness do we finally feel comfortable to be who and what God intended. Introverts and extroverts would value and appreciate each other. Individuals will labor together for the cause of Christ using the gifts and talents as God purposed. Rather than every Christian looking and sounding alike, our different bents will expand our missional efforts to more individuals.
Rather than focus on what makes us different, realize what makes us similar. As Christian brothers and sisters, we have God as our Father. Why do we try to get other Christians to minister the same way we do? Why don’t we help them to discover and minister within their natural bent and gifts?
Let’s stop the sibling rivalry and allow each other the freedom to enjoy how God created us…even if we put eggs in our hair.
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