Thursday, November 8, 2007

What's Your Flavor?

It's absolutely amazing how different we all are, and yet how much we strive to be the same and conform to certain norms and expectations that society places upon us. I heard someone once speak on the fact that everyone in kindergarten is a creative artist (because they all believe they are) but by the sixth or seventh grade "reality" and "conformity" begin to set in and we begin to question our abilities and creativity. Society tells us what we can and can't achieve, and places limitations on us based on our gender, culture, or education. I'm still blown away by the fact that in our "socially advanced" culture I still hear statements like "I'm not sure this country is ready for a black or female president." What??? As if being black or female is somehow a handicap!

Being different is a gift from God. Being different is what creates innovation, development, and change. In order to create the kaleidoscope of color on the canvas that is our world, we must encourage and celebrate our differences. I am truly grateful for the churches in our region that are so different from us, as they reach a segment of our community that we are unable to reach. I am so grateful for the things that I'm learning from them as we build relationships and commit to helping each other fulfill our calling and purpose. That's what makes Baskin Robbins so successful. Every one has an option of their favorite flavor. I heard a preacher say one time "because I'm not your flavor doesn't mean I'm not in God's favor." I like that! It speaks to the very essence of our differences being a part of God's plan and purpose.

So I encourage you to keep being you, even as you conform more and more to God's will for your life. Don't try to shape or model yourself after someone else otherwise you'll deprive the world of the true gift that God designed you to be. I'm learning this truth in the most profound way in ministry. I must be true to whom God called me to be, no matter how much I interpret other people's methods or systems as being the recipe for their success. What are some of the things you struggle with wanting to do but don't for fear of being labeled different? For that matter, what are some of the things you're doing, simply because others are doing them, but shouldn't be doing? Care to share your thoughts with us?


Valerie said...

This is one of my core values exactly....I really enjoyed this read! We wouldn't want you to be anything but yourself. Keep up the good work! =)

Joseph said...

Thanks Valerie. I appreciate the caring and support that you guys continue to be to me and our church family.