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Why did I think that once I was a grown adult, all my “issues” would be dealt with and I would calmly and rationally deal with each crisis as it came along?
…especially when I had rarely dealt with anything in a calm way up to that point?

If you are young, you can rid yourself of this pipe dream right now!  It may feel like bad news, but it really isn’t.  You are in a marathon for the rest of your life: a steady run of growth and change… and stretching beyond your known limits.

Plan on it.  Prepare for it.  Or as the King James says, “gird your loins!”  Now how is that for a motto?  GIRD YOUR LOINS GIRLS!  Probably not.

Prepare for a lifetime of growth, change and stretching beyond your known limits!

For me, early marriage and child-raising seemed to include a concentrated level of this kind of growth, but it isn’t that way for everyone.  Our lives are full of growth at all stages.  The growth tends to build on earlier growth as well.  So we can’t ever say we are fully grown in one area and can now rest easy…at least I wouldn’t recommend it!  Whatever your life stage of concentrated growth, you will need to have good friends around you…and you won’t need friends that are all alike!

I’ll include  things I learned along the way.  I would love if you would share with me the things you have learned as well.  I’m calling it “growing up” but it includes growing in grace, maturing, and learning to look beyond yourself, which takes a large amount of maturity!  If we have children, we are usually forced into it…and it is a good thing.

Do you ever feel that others must be like you or at least agree with you, in order to be your friend?

When was the time in your life when you remember feeling that need for everyone to agree with you…or else?

For me, it was Junior High and early High School.  I’m guessing it was a similar time for you.  Does that give you a clue about the level of maturity this thought process involves?

When I stopped to think about it, I realized that was an area I needed to grow up in…big time!

It started when I fell in love with a man who had a history of some different political beliefs from mine.  Oh my!  A deal killer to our relationship…or was it?  We discussed where he was coming from at the time and where he was now.  We weren’t that far apart at all!  Of course, that was only the tip of the iceberg.

I loved the reasons he voted the way he had.  It showed a compassionate heart.  That was a high priority for me!  He had a perspective on issues that was new to me.  I liked it.

Asking questions has always come naturally for me…ALWAYS!  No matter what information I’m given, I have follow-up questions regarding that information…especially in how it applies to real life!

I was glad I asked the questions rather than deciding on shallow information that he was not a match.  I would have missed out on 45 years of a pretty great marriage!

Of course, politics are not the only area where we have differed from time to time.  Nor would I even say that was the largest area of difference.  He grew up in a different part of the country than I, his perspective on life is different only partly because he is a man…and I and our children have greatly benefitted from the differences.

Isn’t it weird how we can get into major arguments over “minor” things like how to hang up clothes in the closet?  or where in the house to put certain items?  or…you name it!  They aren’t even important issues, they just seem big at the moment.

As we have traveled together through life and lived in different parts of the country and the world,

we have met many people who were different from us

…and had different perspectives on life from ours.  They have enriched our lives.

We have benefited from their different approaches to life.

It helped them put up with us!  And their outlook took some rough edges off of us that made us into the people we became.

So as part of your maturing process, learn to realize that you don’t have to agree with another person on everything to be friends, even close friends, with them.  You might even find that once the pressure is gone to want them to be like you, you will be freed up to enjoy them and the differences they bring to your life.

Think of the texture in fabric that makes it interesting or the texture in a piece of art that adds richness to it.  That is the way friends who are different than we are, add richness and dimension to our lives.

I’ll use one illustration to show how we can either hurt or encourage each other in our differences.

It is in the area of early morning roosters/night owl time clocks.  I have friends that are early morning roosters.  They get up very early and get a lot done before the sun comes up, including having their devotions.  Some of them make a big deal about the early morning devotional time being paramount because that is what works best for them.

I have no doubt about that, but for some of us, our time clock does not work that way.  To act as though we are less spiritual than the person who  gets up early for devotions and goes to bed early is to make a judgement that isn’t necessarily true.

Those of us that are night owls, are going strong later in the day.  I for one, get a spurt of energy after supper and get things done around the house and as the evening goes on, I am more and more energized!  My brain has a hard time turning off.

It was my “quiet time” of the day when my children were young.  I often had devotions then too.  This was my time when I could think back over the day and ponder.  I had time to plan ahead for the week or month when the house was quiet.  Obviously, I didn’t do it every night.

Most of the time, I enjoyed going to bed with my husband, talking over things with him and…  Depending on where we lived and my job situation, things were different.  But my favorite time of day was definitely night time…for many of the same reasons my early morning friends loved the early morning!

The Psalms speak of both morning and evening meditations so there is nothing more or less spiritual about either one.  I no longer try to get in big discussions about it.

It’s true that we need to make

  • time for our devotions,
  • time with our spouse that is alone and intimate,
  • time to talk and listen to our children,
  • time to enjoy our families, and
  • time for fellowship within the Body of Christ.

All these are important.  How we work it in and when…those are in the category of liberty.  The same is true of the way we get our work done.

Not everyone is a morning rooster at every stage of life.  Not everyone is a night owl.  GOD created all types in the animal kingdom and it doesn’t seem unlikely that in the human kingdom there would be the same variations.

We need people who can work at night to keep some parts of our community running.  We need some who can get up early to do the same.

Neither is better or worse than the other…just different.

This is one example of ways we need to accept and encourage the differences in our sisters and brothers in Christ.

In our families, we need to use them for the benefit of the family and not fight them!

ChangePoint:

Look at GOD’s creation.  Not one snowflake or human is alike.  He gave us a variety of colors with shades and glorious combinations as seen in nature particularly.  Why wouldn’t He give us the same variety in personalities?  We are designed to be different but yet glorify GOD within those differences.  Our interaction with other different people refines us.  It gives us more depth, helps us appreciate the uniqueness of others…and be less focused on ourselves.

Be thankful when you have a friend and/or spouse who doesn’t always agree with you.  He/she will be a treasure at times when the usual answers you have to a problem aren’t working out.  Encourage him/her to be honest with you.  Their insights will often be truth speaking to you, but with the loving words of a friend.

 

This post originally written 1/13/2013.  Edited and used for the Honey, It’s Time to Grow Up series.copyright 2013

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