When my children were toddlers, one of their favorite toys (and mine too) was a plastic sphere-shaped toy designed to teach them how to sort things by their shape. Together we had great moments of fun with it by trying to fit each of the different shaped objects into its corresponding opening.
Every once in a while one of the kids would attempt to fit a shape into the wrong opening. For example, my son might try to fit a trapezoid shape into a hole designed for a rectangle. Try as he might he couldn’t get the rectangle to take in the trapezoid. He’d turn it over and around, again and again to no avail. You can imagine his level of frustration as his sincere efforts failed.
My daughter would occasionally jump in and offer him a different piece – sometimes it fit and sometimes it didn’t. Gently I’d encourage them to examine the shapes a bit more carefully. Within moments the shapes would find their proper home.
Once in a while they’d resist my help, ignore the game’s specific design, and attempt to force a shape where it obviously did not fit. As hard as it was, I’d leave them alone to figure out on their own. Sometimes they’d ask for my help but other times they’d stick it out and eventually get them all in. Each time was like the first time for them and with great enthusiasm they’d clap their hands with delight. Then they’d pop it open, dump all the shapes out on the floor, and start all over again.
Isn’t that just like us? God created, gifted and shaped us all to be uniquely different. So tell me, why do we spend so much time trying to be like someone else? Why do we so harshly judge those who are different, who don’t fit our specific mold of what a “proper Christian” looks like? God has given all of us something —talents, gifts and abilities— that He, Himself, intended to enjoy in relationship with us for the purpose of edifying His Body, The Church, and expressing love to a lost and dying world.
That means I can be a goofy, crazy, serious, sometimes pensive, loud, outspoken, creative, dancer, writer me to the glory of God, fitting ever so rightly the shape He alone designed for me. I can home school…or not, dance…or not, wear pants…or not, wear my hair long…or not, wear jewelry…or not, dress up for church on Sunday…or not, wear a tie…or not…and so on and so forth. I can do all that or be all that and not offend God as much as I might irk another brother or a sister.
My challenge is this: Will I dare today to focus more on my own heart before a Holy and Righteous God more than I will on any other thing? Will I bravely endeavor to go where I have not gone before in relationship with the Savior of my soul? Will I run, laugh, leap, dance and pray with the abandon of one who is in love and loving it every step of the way?
Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we go there together? Allow God to give you new legs, new arms and new feet to praise Him! If you decide to go there with me, meet me at the merry-go-round with your dancing shoes on!
“And He took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” Acts 3:7-8
Stephanie D. Paul serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women of Character. She has been married for over 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. They have two grown children.
Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.