When you are hanging out with your friends in a group situation, have you ever looked around and come to the realisation that in a lot of ways your friends are all similar to each other. Sometimes you are all so alike it’s hard to find the differences amongst yourselves. Sure everyone has unique qualities, looks and behaviours, but there is just something comfortable about everyone’s similarities. It even says in Proverbs chapter 13 verse 12 “ Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” This verse tells us to be careful with who you choose to hang around with because when we hang around the same people a lot we can pick up their mannerisms, speech, attitudes and behaviours. That’s not to say you can’t hang around people that have unhealthy lifestyles, however there is a balance in this.
I often have observed people changing themselves to fit in to the crowd. They can do this by changing their style of dress, listening to the same music whether they like it or not and even developing the same speech patterns and phrases. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing to admire people and how they are living their lives, especially if they are wise and have good habits this can be a rewarding endeavour! However, what we often tend to overlook when imitating others is that we all have our own gifts, talents, wisdom and uniqueness as this is how God intended us to be.
What’s in your hand?
Have you ever found yourself going to a get together with friends and found yourself alone in a room full of people? Where it seems no one even notices you are there! Or is it the other way where you are the life of the party, cause you are able to be loud and hilarious and entertain others, but in doing so cannot see what else is going on. Maybe you are trying so desperately to fit in that you mimic the life of the party and try to outdo them in conversation and jokes, maybe someone is having a conversation and it gets interrupted mid sentence because you have something more important to say or you could be the person trying to have the conversation. Does it get to a point, where you are trying to be the person you think everyone wants you to be and in doing so, lose who you were created to be?
These situations can happen when everyone tries to bring something to the group that isn’t theirs to bring - if everyone in the group is the outgoing one then who is going to be the one who listens? If everyone is going to have a comical reply, when will the person who needs to be heard be taken seriously? If the world was a table and everyone wanted to be the right leg to fit in, then the table would be out of balance and fall over making it difficult to use for its intended purpose. It’s okay to have a different opinion, a listening ear, a wise perception, a seeing eye that sees those not included, an ability to forgive or an attitude of grace - a uniqueness that is you - these things plus more are potentially what is in your hand and can be something that challenges, grows and cultivates lifelong friendships within your group of friends.
It’s a good thing to be yourself!
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;” (Romans chapter 12 verses 6 - 7)
God knew what He was doing when He made us, He knew all of our quirks, our humour, our level of courage, how outgoing we would be and how comfortable we would be in our stillness. As someone who is an introvert, I often found myself overlooked, uninvited and alone in these situations. I was of the opinion that I needed to embrace an extroverted persona to fit in to my peer group or they would never see me or accept me. Then God brought me to a place where I spent time with Him and in His Word and learnt what He said about me. That as an introvert I have a purpose in these situations. I am the listener, I am the one who sees and in my experience this has allowed me to reach out to people who may go unnoticed. It has developed in me Godly wisdom and discernment. God made us to be individuals and unique, He gave us all different paths in life and dreams, different gifts and passions and this is something to celebrate! “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” (Psalm chapter 139 verse 13 - 14)
Elise Williams lives on the Sunshine Coast with her family. She has a Diploma of Business and is currently studying a Diploma of Library and Information Services. She is passionate about God and has quite the creative streak. She has a heart for others and strives to encourage others to know God’s love and to understand how beautiful and valued they are in God’s eyes.