Better Together Blog Series Post #2
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)
I think God’s pretty clear here: we were designed to be unique. We were not intended to think, act, and appear identical.
You know, as I type that message above, it seems obvious, but if you stop and think, your actions probably don’t match those words. I know mine don’t!
Even growing up, we’re given different messages. First, we’re told that we’re all unique and special. Yet, at the same time you may have heard comments like, “you’re so weird! why can’t you be normal?” So which is it? Are we allowed to celebrate our differences? Are we to all be cookie cutter “normal?” Or does society want something in between where we’re all just a tiny bit different from one another, but not so much that the differences are frightening?
In the book, Better Together, the authors point out the above mentioned Bible versions and suggest that we should embrace and celebrate our differences. They suggest that even thoughts along the lines of “Jennifer is so creative, I wish I were creative,” are against God’s words. Yet, we all have those kinds of thoughts. It’s certainly something to think about.
Closing our social circles against people who are simply made differently from us is just as wrong.
Better Together’s View on Differences
Better Together focuses on personality differences. In fact, there’s even a quiz in the appendix that you can take in order to understand your personality for the purpose of discussion in the book. You’ll learn if you’re introverted/extroverted, internal/external processor, structured/spontaneous, and if you’re a low medium or medium high capacity person. Knowing where you fall in the spectrum of those personalities can help to understand and celebrate differences.
Mr. Keller, for example, is an external processor while I am an internal processor. Translation: Mr. Keller talks and talks and talks some more about his problems and even just his day. Meanwhile, I might mention that I went to work. Sometimes, I find Mr. Keller’s need to talk a little exhausting. Mr. Keller, on the other hand, probably gets a little bit annoyed when I decide something for us after lots and lots of thought…none of which I included him in. Both Mr. Keller and I need to be cognizant of the other’s personality so we can act accordingly. I need to take the time to keep Mr. Keller updated on our plans; Mr. Keller needs to ask me more questions about my day and “our” plans. I’m not going to change this aspect of my personality any sooner than Mr. Keller will. It’s simply how we were designed to be; we need to learn to work within those blue prints.
“We each need to be true to ourselves, allow others to be different, and knock off the judgment that creeps in our head and heart so easily” (Better Together, Jill Savage). I love that quote from the book! It’s so easy to be annoyed or angered by someone who is different from us! Again, building relationships is all about learning and understanding about one another and our different personalities!