AS A member of a group of people that only make up about 14% of the country’s population, and as a woman, I have faced unique challenges and experiences that have shaped my identity and journey of faith. I often find it difficult to embrace my “different.”
In the eyes of our Creator, each one of us is unique and created for a purpose. Embracing our “different” — those qualities that set us apart from others — is not only a journey of self-discovery but also an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God and fulfill the plans He has for our lives.
Our Heavenly Father has given us the opportunity to impact our environment and, ultimately, our world by embracing what makes us all inherently unique.
Throughout the Bible, we find numerous examples of individuals who embraced their “different” and, through faith, made a significant impact on the world. From Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt despite his speech impediment, to Esther, who used her position as queen to save her people, these inspiring figures teach us the importance of embracing our unique qualities and trusting God’s plan.
As an African American woman, I draw strength from these biblical stories and the countless women of color who have broken barriers and made a difference in the world. So, how can we learn to embrace our “different” through the lens of faith?
REFLECT ON YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS AND TALENTS.
Take some time to consider the abilities and passions that God has instilled in you. These might include your resilience, creativity, leadership skills, empathy, or a strong sense of community. By recognizing these gifts, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of how God has uniquely equipped you to positively impact the world.
SEEK GUIDANCE THROUGH PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE.
As you embrace your “different,” turn to God for guidance and wisdom. Spend time in prayer, asking Him to reveal the purpose behind your unique qualities. Additionally, delve into scripture to discover stories of individuals who overcame challenges and embraced their differences to fulfill God’s plan.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A SUPPORTIVE FAITH COMMUNITY.
Finding a supportive network of fellow believers, particularly those who share your experiences, is crucial for your spiritual growth and journey toward embracing your “different.” A faith community will not only encourage you in your walk with God but also provide a safe space to explore and celebrate your unique qualities.
USE YOUR “DIFFERENT” TO SERVE OTHERS.
Jesus taught us the importance of serving others, and embracing your “different” provides an opportunity to do just that. Consider how you can use your unique gifts and talents to bless those around you — whether volunteering at your local church, mentoring a younger believer, or using your creative skills to uplift and inspire others, which so many people are already doing within our community.
TRUST THE JOURNEY.
Embracing your “different” may sometimes be challenging, especially when faced with societal pressures, timelines, and expectations. Remember to submit to and trust your journey in these moments and draw strength from God’s love and promises. As Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Embracing our “different” is a vital aspect of our spiritual journey and an opportunity to discover and fulfill our unique purpose. By reflecting on our God-given gifts, seeking guidance through prayer and scripture, surrounding ourselves with a supportive faith community, using our differences to serve others, and trusting in God’s plan, we can learn to celebrate our individuality and make a lasting impact on the world, all while deepening our relationship with our Creator. GN