God has given you one face, and you make yourself another. Shakespeare
Are you different?
As a wheelchair user, I’m probably hypersensitive to differences. Even after twenty-two years of rolling around, I still feel uncomfortably conspicuous.
My inability to stand up makes me stand out—or at least that’s how it seems to me.
Distinctions are interesting. They spark debate, generate controversy, and attract attention. Life would be bland and boring without the diversity that makes each of us unique and truly one-of-a-kind.
My specific “difference” certainly creates interest. Most places, I’m the only person with wheels and a goofy-looking dog. I receive plenty of attention. In a world where so many folks feel nearly invisible, I have too much of what those folks desperately crave. So what’s the problem?
I think it’s an abundance of eyes.
But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. [1 Corinthians 12:18-20]
I want to be an eye—or a hand or an ear or anything other than what I am.
Thinking in these terms tells me a lot about me. I’m perfectly content to tell others they ought to celebrate differences. It’s easy to ask others to embrace difficult roles. “They” should be grateful for thankless, behind-the-scenes chores. After all, that’s the way God arranged things.
That’s all wonderful … as long as I get the part I want. I like the eyes. I want to be an eye. So do a lot of others.
THE RESULT …
… is an abundance of eyes. Eyes everywhere, along with pride, jealousy, and a false and destructive sense of entitlement.
And since most of us weren’t intended to be eyes, we’re not all that good at it.
Doesn’t matter. I like the eyes. I admire the eyes. The eyes get to do really important stuff. Everyone loves the eyes. If only I were an eye, I’d be happy.
I WANNA BE AN EYE!
And suddenly I’m that kid in the supermarket, throwing a tantrum as though I can embarrass God into giving me what I want. It’s not fair! I know my rights, and I have a right to be an eye!
I don’t believe God caused my accident or intended my injury, but that doesn’t really matter. I absolutely believe that God works for good in all circumstances. I believe He’s guiding and leading me to the place I’ll be most useful, where my unique gifts are needed, where I’ll be truly content.
And despite my childish thoughts, I do believe He just might know more than I do. He just might have a better sense of where I fit and what’s really best for me.
I need to remember that I’m not Him. I need to trust Him. I need to seek the discernment to understand the difference between “my rights” and “what’s right.”
I need the courage to do what’s right. I need to waste less energy wishing I could be an eye, and invest that energy where I am.
I need a lot of things. One of the things I don’t need is to be an un-needed eye.
Do you ever struggle with wishing you could play a different part?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ e.e. cummings