Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Messiness of Differences

Um, it is April, right? Not the middle of January? Because we woke up to snow. Now for a gal who just spent a week in Florida (and prefers tropical temperatures), this seemed a bit much. Even a tad irritating.

My husband was grinning, of course. You see, Mat’s part polar bear. This is why we live in Oregon. A sort of compromise to the sun-lover and snow-lover in each of us. Even in Florida, he lay on the bed in his shorts with the air-conditioning on while I basked on the balcony and grabbed for a sweatershirt when I re-entered the snow-zone of our room

Differences. How do we honor them?

First, we have to under-
stand that it’s okay to be different.

My daughter is organizationally challenged. I’m a neatnik. When it comes to modes of operation, Mat is highly relational. It can take him a good ten minutes of chit chat to get down to brass tacks. Me, I can barely get a hello out before I’m into the heart of the issue.

I used to think there was only one way to get a job done—or at least only one right way. (That would be moi’s.) Spent many fruitless years trying to perfect my husband and transform my children into the way they should be. The better way. My way.

Control and perfectionism were the fuel that drove me. Didn’t you pray about it, you ask? Half the time I didn’t even bother trying to wrest the proverbial steering wheel away from God. I just told him to buckle up in the passenger seat.

Honor people? I could be a human steam roller to my dearly beloveds.

Frustrated one day after instructing my daughter for the umpteenth time on how to be more organized (her room looked like a garage sale had thrown up in it), I grabbed up a book on parenting children’s personalities.

What I discovered nearly knocked me off my chair. My daughter was a hard-wired messy. God had made her that way. (I refrained from telling Him how I would have wired things had I been in charge of the universe.)

Understanding that we were different and that she would never be like me brought freedom to our relationship. With the focus off trying to change her, I began to appreciate her. Honor her. Messiness and all.

And that proverbial steering wheel? I let God take the driver's seat, even if he's not headed for Florida.

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