I have a proposal.
Let’s throw out a couple of phrases from our vocabulary. We don’t have to be critical, but rather insightful, helpful, conscious of our words with one another. I bet you have some phrases you’d like to throw out and I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
I’m going to throw out mine…
“I’m not your typical…”
It’s so easy to say. We want so badly to make sure people don’t put us in a box. We want to help people understand that we are unique and different and very much an individual with our own thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and insights.
Of course we do! We are individuals. No one likes stereotypes. We aren’t clones. Labels aren’t always helpful, and many of us want those around us to look deeper, to see deeper when they interact with us.
No one is typical. No, not one.
We are all made of marrow and acuity that is knit in us, one from the other. We were created to laugh at different things, to prefer different beverages, to ache at the sound of different injustices.
We have different gifts, different perceptions, different abilities, different stories, and one Lord.
A creative God knit you together (Psalm 139:14-16).
Look around you, every single one of the faces you see – knit carefully, thoughtfully, uniquely, individually.
God in His infiniteness doesn’t need our understanding of individuality to be very and consistently creative. But your neighbor does.
When you look around you, do you see individuals?
When we use the phrase “I’m not your typical…” fill in the blank, we are assuming that someone else is the typical such and such. In fact, we are assuming that there is a typical of any kind.
Do we believe there is a typical
Who is typical? I can’t think of anyone, because I can’t think of how a wife should look, or a mom should look, or anyone should look.
We rob the grace of individuality from others without thinking about it. In our desperation to be kept firmly out of a box, we put someone else in it.
It’s an easy fix- change the language. We value individuality when we ironically create a collective phrase.
“I appreciate that we’re all different.”
“I love finding out how other people think!”
“I never thought about it that way. Thanks for the insight.”
“It’s it great that we’re all unique and not stuck in some box!”
When we are confronted with situations where we feel a stereotype or assumption prick, using phrases that consider the individuality of every single person and not just our own, will go much farther in crashing those stereotypes and assumptions…
keeping my individuality secure and appreciating yours along the way.
Let’s celebrate individuality!
Listen in on I Love My Shepherd: The Podcast, episode 13, with special guests craft artist, Karen Groves, and bestselling author Colleen Oakes. We sat down to talk individuality, especially in ministry, in the Body of Christ, and in new places and spaces. There is so much good insight here, including:
What does valuing individuality look like?
Dreaming hard dreams
Being aware of what you truly like, and saying no to things you don’t
Balancing the value of community and individuality
How can the Body of Christ build up individuality?
Listen at the link below or on iTunes or Stitcher.
You, my friend are not typical. There is no one typical, no, not one.
Praise the Lord for His great and precious gift of individuality!