So you're a normal human person, and you notice another human person is doing something differently from how you are doing it, and there's tension, and you start to react badly to that tension by comparing or competing. Now what?
If left to my own devices in prepping this talk, I would have addressed these problems only in the abstract. We do this thing as humans, here is a probable reason we do this thing, isn't that interesting, have a wonderful evening, thanks for listening to me talk at you for 30 minutes. Luckily, I was paired with a certain brilliant someone who insisted there be solutions proffered, next steps suggested. So here we are with suggestions.
First, anytime we are reacting badly to someone being/doing differently from us, it is helpful to notice three things.
1. Tension is normal (remember the eye and the ear from 1 Corinthians 12?)
2. Tension is not bad. Our reaction to it can be harmful, but the tension itself is not bad - it is simply a byproduct of us all being unique creations.
3. We are created differently on PURPOSE.
Psalm 139:13 says He knit us together in our mother’s womb
Isaiah 64:8 says He molds us.
Matthew 10:30 says He knows every hair on our head. He created us – piece by piece, he molded us, and he knows us. And He created us uniquely – uniquely means one-of-a-kind – there is no one like you. He created us to be different from each other on purpose. He gave us different gifts on purpose. He gave us different skills on purpose.
1 Peter 4:10 says God gives us each a gift.
1 Cor 12:14 says we are all different parts of the same body. We’re all given different gifts, we’re shaped differently, for a purpose.
These three things (Tension is normal, it is not inherently bad, and God made us different on purpose) are helpful because in those moments of tension (Ahhh that ear is hearing and I'm over here seeing, what the heck? Is one of us wrong? Which one of us is better? Which one is more important?) we can CHOOSE a positive reaction.
Instead of COMPARING/COMPETING, we can choose to COMPLIMENT/COMPLEMENT
If you walk into a friend’s house and it is decorated like the most beautiful pinterest board you’ve ever seen and you are painfully aware that the only thing on your wall at home is a Guardians of the Galaxy poster, you don’t have to get sucked into the comparing. We can compliment.
We can compliment and we can leave it at the compliment. “This looks really great” or “You’re really good at decorating.” Not “I wish I had the time to decorate, but I’m very busy doing things more noble and awesome.”
I can compliment my extroverted friend who is so stinking amazing at connecting with people. I can say "You are amazing with people!" "You're such a great encourager!" Not, "She's doing that much? I'm totally slacking."
We can also COMPLEMENT. When I told my extroverted friend how I was feeling a weird pressure to be connecting with more people more often after being around her, she was like, “Oh no – you do NOT need to do that.” Then she told me something that gave me a whole new perspective. She said the type of friend I am to her – just by being myself in the friendship - actually helps her to connect with more people. My friendship with this one person is in a way amplifying her ability to use her gifts and connect with so many people. When I’m doing it right and being a good friend to her, I am complementing her gifts.
This is WAY better than me trying to BE her. I need to be me, let her be her, and not just that – I want to help her be the best her she can be. If I’m distracted because I’m forgetting who I am and I'm trying to be her – I mess the whole thing up. The freedom to be myself, and to allow others to be themselves, comes when I am confident in who I am and who I belong to -when I understand that we are made differently on purpose, when I anticipate the tension, and when I choose a positive reaction.
Connect with me on! Like my TV Swift page, whose essential purpose is to point you toward eternity & encourage you to be who God created you to be.