"Trying to make yourself into someone you are not is like telling God He screwed up when He created you."
Over the last week or so Holy Spirit has really been focusing on the fact that Christians are not meant to be a homogeneous group of people. We are not meant to fit into a mold of the "mature Christian" and all act, talk, walk, and look alike. And yet the church has been trying to get us to all "fit the mold" for ages. We look at the pastor, or elders, or someone held in high esteem in our local assembly, and think that we should just be more like them. They say they matured in God because they got up early at 4 am and read their Bible and prayed for 3 hours before work, and we have one of two reactions.
Reaction #1 - "I want to be like elder so-and-so, so if they grew to maturity by doing this, then I'm going to do it too!"
Reaction #2 - "I can't get up and spend 3 hours reading the Bible and praying. I'll NEVER be able to have as close a relationship with God as elder so-and so!"
In both reactions we see maturity in God reduced to a formula - elder so-and-so did "x" and got "y" result. Therefore, if I do exactly what they did, I will get exactly what they got, and if I do not, I will not. We also see limited, worldly thinking, in that we are limiting God to doing things only one way, because that's the way that worked for someone else.
The other thing that I see in this type of reasoning is that we tend to take someone else's experience and allow it to carry more weight than what God is speaking to us. We take something someone else did under inspiration of Holy Spirit, and make it into a formula that will work for anyone. Then if the formula doesn't work for us, we wonder what we did wrong, instead of understanding that we are all created to be different.
I have done this for years. Literally. I limited my relationship with God because I thought that to really get close to Him and and walk in unity with Him I needed to do x,y, and z, and if I couldn't make those things happen, then I was out of luck. I thought I needed to do all these things in a certain way, whether those things worked in my life or not, or God would withhold part of Himself from me because I wasn't doing it "right".
The other thing I've fallen prey to is thinking that the people of God are all supposed to be outgoing, friendly, talkative, bold extroverts who are happy all the time and want to be going and doing for God all the time. Are there some people who absolutely are this way? Sure! But when you are a shy, quiet, smart introvert and your only example of people on fire for God are bold extroverts, it's really easy to think that you are broken, or that you just need to pretend in order to be effective for God. It's really easy to hate who you are because you are not able to make yourself into someone different. It's also really easy to be jealous and envious of those people for whom being extroverted is natural. Especially since there is such a push to go out and evangelize the world, which to most of us means going out and doing things that most introverts are VERY uncomfortable doing.
But I'm coming to realize that if we are called to be parts of the Body of Christ, we each have an individual part to fill. We each have our part to play, and we each have something that we contribute, whether we are a people-person or a book nerd, whatever our personality or home life, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. God is with us, and willing to reveal to us where we fit, if we just stop looking to others for answers and look to Him. Holy Spirit will teach us not only who we are in Christ, but what we need to do to grow in Him, and what Christ looks like in US.
Father, I just ask for everyone reading today to get a fresh revelation of who You created them to be, and how You will use their gifts, talents, and abilities to transform the world around them. I thank you Father that there is no one way, there are no limitations on You, and that You will work in our lives as we seek You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
*I apologize if this seems scattered today - I was having a difficult time getting the thoughts from my mind to the page, probably because I mostly likely could write a book on this subject!