Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Same: Valuing Being Different

Zinnias at sunriseBy +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SAME. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

SAME

As a teenage girl, I desperately wanted to fit in with the kids around me. I tried dressing the same, taking some of the same classes as friends. I tried talking and acting the same as the other kids . . . sometimes betraying who I really was.

I’m not so different now. I still struggle with the desire to fit in. To be the same as those around me. There’s something in feeling accepted that lures me to compromise to fit in with those I hang around with.

I’m learning that when I seek to fit in with others, I deny the intrinsic unique qualities God’s placed within me. There is no one else with my DNA who has or ever will walk the face of this earth.

There is no one else who can touch the lives that mine touches. And, I can do this in the unique ways God’s given me. Or, I can try to do it the same way my friends, and those I respect, do it.

Yellow leaves

When I try to be the same as others, I lose out on discovering all that God has instilled within me . . . simply because He delights in me.

He’s given each of us unique qualities, ways of viewing the world around us. He’s gifted each of us with ways of touching others that can only be expressed “just-so” by us. My friends can’t relate to my neighbors in the same way I can. And vice versa.

We are each gifted with different strengths to work from. Different spiritual gifts to operate in. We’re each unique in the way we perceive circumstances around us. As much as I sometimes wish I was the same . . .

. . . as much as I crave the sense of fitting in . . .

I lose out on being all that God designed me to be when I strive for fitting in with others over being uniquely used by God.

Pink Peony

When we step out of the mold we’ve tried to build our lives around, and we trust God to form us into the people He designed us to be? Then we will know the fulfillment that only comes from being our unique selves.

What about you? What is at least one trait that makes you unique on this earth? How do you embrace your unique qualities?

Read Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday offering—Same

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28 thoughts on “Same: Valuing Being Different”

  1. Accepting our unique selves is a life-long journey for most of us. I think it’s the lie the devil uses the most–‘In order to be loved/accepted/ok you need to be the same as everyone else.’ Bah! He lies! The converse of this is that it’s sometimes hard to love those who we perceive to be different from us. “They’re not like me. They’re difficult. I just don’t like them.” But under our skin, we really are the same. And if we take the time to listen, we might be surprised by how many experiences we have in common.

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    1. I couldn’t agree with your more, Anita. The enemy seeks to defeat us by turning our eyes toward others in comparison—either with thoughts of not-good-enough or thoughts of wanting to be just like someone else. I like what you said about how we sometimes make excuses for not loving those who are different. And yes, under our skin, we are all the same. I couldn’t figure out how to bring that out in five minutes’ time. 🙂 Thanks for adding your thoughts here!

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  2. Me too Jeanne! Most people struggle with wanting to fit in and being the “same” don’t they? I hope. This is a God trait, so we can become more Christ like, yet is used by the evil one to veer us off track. I do believe, however, that when we “find ourselves” we end up fitting in more than ever, because we are comfortable in our own skin. Great thoughts!

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    1. I definitely agree, Christy. Many of us struggle with this desire to find affirmation and security through fitting in rather than seeking these from Jesus. When we take our eyes off of Him, we will always end up defeated and depressed. I don’t know about you, but after I began my trek into my forties, I began saying, “I found myself in my forties.” I’m growing more and more comfortable with who God created me to be. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. What a lovely post, Jeanne.You addressed this subject…well, you addressed it in the thoughtful and faith-full way that we have come to know, and love. Your posting days are Red-Letter Days.

    Yes, I said that deliberately, because I hear Jesus’ voice when I read your words. ANyone out there agree with me? (Pause for deafening roar from the crowd…”YESSSSS!!!!!”)

    I suppose there are things that make me unique, but I think about them less and less, because ultimately it’s what I do that’s important. I can encourage, and try to spread light and hope. What I am personally fades into the background.

    McLuhan had it wrong. The medium is not the message; the message becomes its own medium, and as once I ‘became’ death (to borrow from the Gita), now I hope to become hope.

    Let the legacy be the spark that lights a candle in the night. The spark’s important; not the guy with the Zippo.

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words, Andrew. You are definitely an instiller of hope. I believe that God made each of us uniquely, but not so we can revel in that. He uses our unique gifting—part of who we are—to minister and bless and love others. We must be aligned with Jesus to be used most effectively by Him, but I don’t know that who we intrinsically are is made less than what we do, because the motivation for what we do comes out of who we are, especially when we are pressing in hard to Jesus. I know that is a horribly long sentence, and I’m not sure it conveys exactly what I want it to, but I hope it makes sense. 🙂

      You’re legacy will be remembered for an eternity, and yeah, I don’t want to be Zippo-guy either. 😉

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  4. Jeanne, when I was younger, I often tried to fit in too. But you’re so right when I did that, I was missing out on who God created me to be. One of my unique qualities, that my friends see in me, is my sweetness.

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  5. I love the direction you took with the prompt, Jeanne! Ah, I struggle with this too. Like – why can’t I be tall and have legs that go on forever like my youngest daughter? Why am I short and stout? Why am I a perfectionist? Why do I overthink everything? Why, why, WHY?!?
    Thank you for this reminder that God made me the way He wanted me. If only I submit to the Potter’s hand, He will make all things beautiful in His time.

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    1. Ruthie, you made me smile. You are beautiful. The first time I saw your picture on FMF, I thought, “She’s pretty!”

      I know it’s hard, but I try not to ask, “Why?!” too often, unless it’s to figure out one of my characters in my books. 🙂 In real life, the question seldom has an easy answer, if any answer at all. 🙂 Loved your last line, and the promise it holds: He does make all things beautiful in His time. A good truth to remember. 🙂

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  6. Yes, standing strong in our gifts. It’s scary and can be easy to compare but I’m learning God gave me those unique gifts for a reason. Bea’s personality has been … Strong … lately and I’m remembering God gave her those unique traits too – and put us together for a reason. 😉 Thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. Awww, Annie, comparing is so hard NOT to do. I love that you’re seeing that God made you to be Bea’s mom. He knows you are the absolute best mom for her. And you’ve probably heard this, but He has big plans for that strong personality. It will serve her well as she gets older. I have one too, and I’ll tell you there are days I want to pull my hair out. But, whatever purpose God has for our strong-willed kiddos, He knew they need these, so we can both pray for wisdom to help them grow to use this quality for His glory. 🙂 I’m always glad you stopped by!

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  7. Hi Jeanne! Thanks for the “God wink” today! I am writing about belonging. We all have this deep need. God just keeps giving me little “signs” that I need to keep on persevering with this writing journey. He shows up in the neatest ways–today it is this blog! Blessings to you.

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    1. Awww, Gail. I’m so glad God used me to speak to you today. You are such an encouragement and a blessing to me, and many others, I suspect. Persevere, my friend. You have words and thoughts to share that will speak deeply to those who read them. 🙂 Blessings to you, too.

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  8. “I lose out on being all that God designed me to be when I strive for fitting in with others over being uniquely used by God.” Good words of truth her, Jeanne! There is freedom in being who we are created to be! Thanks for sharing these words with us! Happy Friday to you!

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    1. Rachel, yes! There is such a freedom in living out who God designed us to be. When we are comfortable with who He made us to be, we can live uninhibited by others’ expectations. And I love that. 🙂 Thanks for being here today! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  9. I’m so glad that you’re you, dear Jeanne. We need your voice, your words. You bring something truly awesome to the buffet table.

    Recently I’ve been thinking that I’m rather weird. I don’t really fit in with my peers in terms of interests and talents. Never have. For a long time this bothered me greatly, but there’s something about being in my 30s that makes me want to embrace who God made me to be. I mean, after three decades, it’s probably time. 🙂

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    1. Marie, it seems the older we grow, the more we become comfortable with who we are—similar or different to those around us. And yeah, your last line made me smile. It put things into perspective. 🙂 For what it’s worth, I love your depth of insight that you share in your blog posts. Your compassion for others and your fun sense of humor (and patience with certain peoples’ questions—ahem—about stuff you do) encourage many hearts.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your heart and struggle on this. My post on the link-up is a bit of an encouragement to this….about “showing up” and shining your light so that the whole universe won’t miss God’s Unique, One-of-a-Kind, Never-to-be-Repeated Reflection of Himself. Love to you and keep shining, however it is!

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    1. Jasmine, thank you so much for stopping by. And, I like what you share about shining our light, the one God placed in us that only we can reflect to the world around us. Let’s definitely be all that God created us, as individuals, to be. 🙂

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  11. I have always struggled with this too. The greatest surprise is how it has gotten better as I have aged. More and more I feel strength in the me God made me. It’s a peaceful thing! I know I so much love that beauty in others.

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    1. I agree, Lisa. It’s gotten better for me as I’ve grown older too. I love how you put it, feeling strength in the you God has made you to be. I agree! It is a peaceful thing. Thanks for adding your perspective, Lisa!

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  12. Great post Jeanne,
    There is nothing wrong with being different, Psalm 139 tells us that we are “wonderfully made”
    I don’t know what motivates me to try to be what I’m not.

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    1. Gene, that’s my favorite psalm. There’s something amazing to know that God had us in mind—our giftings, appearances, quirks, everything—before we were ever born. And I love what you brought out. That psalm does say we are wonderfully made. Who are we to argue this with God?! Thanks for the visit. 🙂

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  13. Bless the uniqueness! God is a delightful Creator, and He put His gifts in us so we can be a reflection of Him. His light shines through who He created us to be. I see me as kinda weird duck sometimes, but in my (lots more) than 40 decades, guess I no longer care how I am judged so long as my God approves of who I am. I yearn to follow Him and allow Him to use my life for His purposes, His glory.

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    1. Sorry Mary and Jeanne for jumping in, but I’ve been following the comments for this post since the topic is dear to my heart. Mary, I love this: “in my ..decades, guess I no longer care how I am judged so long as my God approves of who I am.” Wow, thank you. I don;t want to wait any more years or have any more bad experiences to get this lesson into my spirit. Bless you!
      Jasmine

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      1. Jasmine, it’s always fine to jump in. 🙂 I am with you. The sooner we live with the confidence of God’s approval, there is such freedom from trying to gain human approval. May we both learn this lesson well!

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    2. Mom, I think that is the key. When we live for God, knowing He approves of who we are, that is enough. When we seek to honor and glorify Him in how we live our lives, that is the important thing. And for the record, you’re not a weird duck. 🙂

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