This morning I was reflecting on the struggles one of my beastie boys is having and I thought about something Dale and Jonalyn Fincher of Soulation.org said during a MOPS Summit telecast (Enough attribution? I hope so.) They said something to the effect of,
God made us all different. The enemy wants to make us all the same.
It is not easy to be different, but that's how God created us. Gee thanks, Lord! Society has lots of ways of trying to make us conform, some more gentle than others. It has been my observation that 11 year-old boys aren't always so gentle.
My 11 year-old is different. He's shorter. He's bright and imaginative, witty and yet he does not speak the language of his peers. Oh, he has an excellent command of the English language, he doesn't speak sports. He has no interest. When all the 5th grade boys are talking about the hockey play-offs, he is drawing pictures or wondering if he can fuse the DNA of two animals to form another creature. (Let's not talk about the ethical implications of that right now. ;) )
God made him different. He loves science and nature and math. He likes to hike and look for different birds. He likes adventure and survival shows. He has lots of interests, they just don't seem to be the same as his peers and he's not connecting with them, he wants to, he just hasn't been able to lately.
Instead, in this age when kids are desperate to hide their own perceived flaws, they see a different kid as a great way to deflect attention from themselves and that is what they are doing. "Let's tease him because he is different." I tried to explain that to him this morning. He is sensitive and compassionate and I think he might get it but it doesn't make it hurt less. Thankfully he has a family to love him. And a God who loves him and created him to be different.
He cannot change who he is, nor should he. He will find his niche and some good, trusted friends. (His best friend since third grade has turned on him and become one of the biggest tormentors.) He is learning to build new relationships and he will.
I guess I thought of that statement from the Finchers (one of many I wrote down because they struck a chord in my heart) and felt the different-ness validated.
Dear children of mine, as you walk through this world, people are going to try to get you to conform. Sometimes it's hygienic (wash your hands after using the loo) and sometimes it's just a way of making you be like everyone else, but at what cost and for what reason?
Lord, being different is not always easy, but as You have created many kinds of animals for the Earth and fish for the sea, you want your people to be different too. You gave us each unique and special gifts and to conform to all be like one another would be to squander those gifts. That would serve the enemy but never You. May we all remember our perfection in God's eyes, even though we are not like the others.