First in a 3-part series that celebrates how differences complete us
It’s a simple truth: people are different from one another.
Differences are one reason people are increasingly unable to get along. Conflict reigns across the globe, and even in churches, Christian workplaces, and among Christian couples and families. We have bought into the lie that differences divide.
Yet why would God create people to be unique and not provide a way for us to get along? Strife need not be the norm, nor is it the intention in God’s order of things.
The truth is that people’s differences can divide us, but it’s God’s design for our differences to complete us.
During this series, we address the 3-part cycle that celebrates how differences complete us. The preliminary step in the cycle is to confront the default lie that tells us differences divide.
God’s Default Mode: See Differences as Strengths
How do you view your differences with others? Most people embrace the default view that differences are a problem: others are not like you, so you cannot get along (you judge others) or you are not like others, so you don’t fit in (you judge yourself.)
Either way, you’re stuck in a cycle of despair. If you cannot get along with others, you face a life of conflict and strife. If you cannot fit in, you face a life of worthlessness and loneliness.
But that approach is rooted in a lie – the lie that differences between people are a problem.
The truth is that God intentionally created differences between people not as a problem, but as a solution … a solution to complete us. He calls you to more than a mere paradigm shift in your thinking about differences. He calls you to reset your default mode and view your differences as a way to be complete.
God’s approach breeds a cycle of hope. If you see your differences as strengths, you face a life of productivity and fulfillment. If you see others’ differences as strengths, you value you them and find ways to blend together.
Discovery: the First Step in the Cycle of Hope
To discover is to find out something that you did not know before, whether as a surprise or by intentionally seeking it. You can be most effective in relationships when you first discover the strengths you offer. Have you discovered yours? One of these scenarios may describe you.
- You didn’t know you could discover your strengths. Perhaps you’ve simply been unaware of God’s design for differences. The idea may be a revelation to you. If this unfamiliarity describes you, ask God for His wisdom to discover your strengths.
- You avoid discovering your strengths. Perhaps until now you haven’t been looking for your strengths because you don’t want to see them. Discovery carries the weight of responsibility. Each new discovery in medicine, for example, means health care professionals must learn new information and use it with their patients. Likewise, once you identify your strengths you are entrusted by God to use them. If this fear describes you, seek God’s help in facing it.
- You actively seek to discover your strengths. Perhaps you question whether or not God will reveal your strengths to you even if you seek to discover them – or you may even remain unsure that you have any. Consider this: discovery doesn’t change the fact that your strengths have been part of you all along. Psalm 139:14 reminds us, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it well (ESV). God crafted you uniquely, gifted you deliberately, and wants you to discover your strengths. If uncertainty describes you, trust God for His gift of strengths and ask Him to help you see yours
Choose to Discover Your Strengths
There are many ways you can go about discovering your strengths. One of the most helpful is to complete a strengths inventory. Ministry Insights, for example, offers the Leading From Your Strengths profile assessment which you can complete in 10 minutes or less. It provides you with objective, concrete data. Even if you’re self-aware and have a good idea of the strengths you possess, get reliable confirmation so you can take the next step confidently.
Differences do not divide. Instead, differences are God’s design to bring us together.
Choose to discover yours.