My husband belongs to a Saturday morning running group to which he and about a half dozen other runners remain extremely faithful. We’re talking every Saturday morning regardless of weather, and in Michigan that sure creates some interesting running conditions at times. This group inspires me!
Their inspiration reached the point of me wanting to train for the distances they constantly focus on, mostly ½ and full marathons. So, I convinced (meaning, laid a guilt trip on) my exercise partner to train for and run a ½ marathon with me. After two ½ marathons apiece, we decided that we hated them. Our bodies simply refused to cooperate, and the resulting chronic injury forced me to reevaluate my approach to exercise.
Some people are built for distance running, and some are not. I need an approach to exercise that works best for my body, schedule, temperament, and lifestyle. Once I realized this, I found joy in exercising regularly. I still run but shorter distances. Plus, I do a lot of cross training. My husband on the other hand, while he will play almost any sport, focuses on running.
Life requires a lot of non-negotiables in order to be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. We all need certain nutrients. We all require rest. Everyone needs physical activity. We all need connection with others. While we all need these non-negotiables, and we each require a unique balance of them.
We all need exercise, too, but we don’t all have to get it exactly the same way. We all need rest and relaxation, but those can look very different from one person to the next. We also all need connection with others, but how our relationships operate and even how many we have exists as uniquely our own.
A relationship with Christ is also non-negotiable. Just like with all the other non-negotiables, however, your individual relationship with Christ is unique and different from anyone else’s. Let’s explore this a bit further.
- God is limitless. His power is limitless, infinite, beyond measure (Psalm 147:5). He knows everything (1 John 3:19-20). Nothing is hidden from him (Hebrews 4:13). Doesn’t Him being unlimited take the pressure off us, though? If He already knows and sees everything, I don’t have to pretend with Him or hide anything from Him like I feel I have to sometimes with people. For me, that relieves a lot of pressure. I can completely be my unique self with God.
- You’re different. So am I. Different is okay, though, because that was God’s intention. He created us to be different from one another, each for a unique purpose. We all have a unique combination of qualities given to us by our creator (Romans 12:3-5).
- We need differences. A person without an arm or a leg can adapt and accommodate for what’s missing but doing so doesn’t change the fact that a part is missing. The body of Christ works the same way. It can and does adapt when a part is absent, but nothing can exactly replace the missing part. The job that missing part was meant to do simply won’t get done in the exact way that part was meant to do it. Our uniqueness is essential to the body (Romans 12:3-5).
Though we fight against it sometimes and give in to conformity, we ultimately know that no two individuals are alike. Knowing that our relationships with Christ are unique should impact our actions. This happens through avoiding comparisons, appreciating differences, acknowledging strengths, and accepting a person regardless of weaknesses. Instead of struggling with differences, let’s embrace them and flourish in the divine uniqueness we all possess.