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Celebrating Differences – 2017-11-02

As I look at the dusting of snow, I am reminded of when I was a child and walked outside to find the snow had covered the flowers I planted… I was so worried it would kill them, that I dug the snow away from each plant. It turned out that the snow did not kill them, I did. In trying to shelter them, I prevented them from developing the strength to survive the elements.

That was a visual that stuck with me my whole life… Is this protecting FROM harm or exposing TO harm? As my mind runs along this thread, I recall several studies we did that talk about the importance of not having our boards, our friends all be clones. We NEED that person in our life, that voice, that sees things differently if we are are going to have a complete picture. If all our close friends are clones of us, chameleons who will says exactly what we require them to say (or they can’t enter our inner circle), or do exactly what we do, they are mirrors, reflections of us, not true friends who will alert us to other dangers or dimensions of the picture, the problem, that we need to identify in order to avoid falling into that pit. We are also placing our own wants and needs ahead of theirs not honoring who they are and giving them opportunity to learn to think and develop into their full capacity. Growth occurs in an atmosphere of acceptance, of being able to push against, to develop strength, to be free to make mistakes without ostracization. For years, my definition of “mistake” has been “learning opportunity.” Perfection is a harsh taskmaster and leaves no room for growth – only for pass/fail, and since none of us is perfect, that pretty much puts us in the fail category.

It is when we open our mind to others perspectives, thoughts, methods, ideas and hearts, that we can truly develop strength in our own. Questioning, “why do I believe this?”or “why do I want it done this way?” is not a bad thing, it is an opportunity to solidify our beliefs more fully, to decide if our methodology is controlling, or because this method is effective. We do NOT have to become like others when we hear them. But we also cannot expect them to hear us if we do not truly hear them.

We have many friends and acquaintances with whom we celebrate common ground and agree to disagree on other grounds. We can read a book, or a facebook post, and find points of interest without agreeing with everything. We can choose to hear or read something and move on without it having an impact on our life either positive or negative. Life is rarely all or nothing unless we allow it to be so… and if we do, we will often find ourselves with nothing of substance. Life is full of choices as to how we will allow people and events to impact us. Life is full of opportunities to assess and choose which people, actions, or plans are most effective in our life. Our life, our choices – rarely does someone else’s life and choices fit well into our life. We are not clones, we are individuals – created magnificently, uniquely, and beautifully in God’s image with a God-given right to choose to what extent we will live fully to the potential with which He gifted us