Is it okay that I’m not you?
The minute I learned I was having a second daughter, I was deliriously happy for my firstborn. I didn’t have sisters, but God let me make some girls to keep me surrounded by women.
No matter who your people are, the ones who get you and the ones who begot you all serve to form your identity – as different from them.
As soon as we are in school, boys and girls, we all start asking these questions, and sometimes they plague us for life.
“Am I like her?”
“Is it okay if I’m not?”
I have a stubborn memory of being teased at recess because I carried a purse AND I wore it across my body instead of on one shoulder – of being shamed by friends in public who were close to me in private. We all want to belong, but need to be unique – the tension is consistent, isn’t it? That’s why “high school’s never over.”*. It follows us up the years even in our friendships, that sensation of being torn when we stand out because the solidarity of sameness is so powerful.
God has revised that memory for me to show me that I’ve always had a creative identity; I still like cross-body bags, and I still choose to love a wild bouquet of people. I like originals. One of my favorite things about life in Christ is unveiling his fingerprints together. We don’t have to all be the same. Isn’t that fantastic?
Regarding the differences that reveal themselves as friends grow closer, what you really want to know when you hold an unpopular stance is, are you going to leave me now? The people who have stayed in my life beyond the sticky early days are the people who are not intimidated by their own identity, so they can safely appreciate mine.
The big idea is this; dare to disagree. It will help you skip right to real friendship.
Our anomalies rattle the security of our bonds, but with every love we need to find a safe way to be ourselves together. So stay in your lane and admire the view. When a friend makes a choice that you’d never make, just smile and say boldly, “I love that about you!”