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The Uniqueness Of Each Person

I’m always amazed when I think of how God created a world that’s filled with incredible diversity and variety. There are different kinds of colors, tastes, sounds, foods, scenery, animals, ideas, types of leisure… (and the list just goes on and on). But one area that is especially intriguing to me is the variety of people He has created. In fact, everyone is different. There are no two of us alike. We are each special.

In spite of our great diversity, the Bible says that we were all created in the image of God. Therefore, we all have some things in common, things that make up our ‘humanness.’ We’ve already noted that all humans have the capacity to think, reason, make decisions, worship, communicate, create, appreciate beauty, etc. We also have similar limitations and needs. We all need food, shelter and clothing. We also need to be loved and to love others. We are also constrained by our physical capacity and strength, knowledge, mortality, and senses, to mention just a few of our limitations.

But do these similarities make us all identical? Not in the least! Though we have certain traits and characteristics that we share, we’re also very different from one another. Everyone of us is unique, a one-of-a-kind, special, limited edition! This uniqueness doesn’t happen by accident. It’s also part of God’s grand design and plan. Even our striving to affirm our own identity isn’t accidental. When a child pulls away from his parents to assert his own unique personhood, he’s really just trying to discover more fully who he really is. This is healthy and normal behavior, part of God’s plan for self-awareness.

God’s Involvement

God forms each one of us lovingly and intentionally. We’re not just an “accident-of-nature” (as many atheists and evolutionists would have us believe). There’s purpose, planning, and design that led up to our existence. Our parents were certainly involved (obviously), but so was God. Whether our parents rejoiced when they received the news of our pending arrival, or regretted their decision to procreate and conceive, we are here nonetheless, because God wanted us here!

David talks about the unique role that God plays in bringing us into existence in Psalm 139:13-15.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

David has become a voice for each of us, expressing gratitude to God for His creative involvement in making us. God was intentionally involved in making us who we are, both inwardly (“inmost being”) and outwardly (“my frame”). The inner man has to do with our personalities, our mind, will, and emotions, our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses. The outer man is our physical bodies, our appearance, physical strength, natural coordination, etc.

To show God’s personal involvement in making us, the Bible uses words and phrases that capture the notion of nurture and creativity: “knit together,” “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and “woven together.” The psalmist also indicates that God created us with a purpose and destiny in mind, even determining the number of days we would live. Though this passage doesn’t tell us exactly what that purpose is, elsewhere the Bible makes it clear that we exist to bring glory to God (Ephesians 1:11-12), and to live in a personal and eternal relationship with Him (John 3:16).

Unfortunately, in spite of God’s affirmation to the contrary, there are many people who have become convinced that their life is unimportant or useless. Some even consider themselves a burden to society, thinking it would have been better if they had never been born. Nothing could be further from the truth! God has created each of us in a way that is unique and special. Each of us is designed to bring Him glory in a way that no one else can. He wants to accomplish His good works in each of us and through each of us.

Individual Uniqueness

Some social theorists affirm that children are born as a ‘blank slate’ and our surroundings alone are responsible for determining who we become. In other words our environment determines who we are. According to Scripture that is not totally true. God makes each person unique in many special ways. While the environment has an ongoing and significant impact on our lives, God has already written on our ‘slate’ when He created us (Psalm 139:13). He has given us each a unique personality as well as natural strengths and weaknesses. He has given us unique abilities as well, such as hand-eye coordination, ability to play an instrument, artistic ability, intelligence, etc.

Everyone of us is unique, a one-of-a- kind, special, limited edition!!

When we become a Christian, God’s creative work in our lives begins again in a different way. When we trust Christ, God gives each of us spiritual gifts through the person of His Holy Spirit. These abilities enable us to have a unique ministry to believers and unbelievers (I Corinthians 12:7). In fact, most of us have a combination of several gifts. These gifts become evident as we go about helping others in effective and enjoyable service. God also calls us to specific ministries where we are able to employ our special gifts in ways distinct from others. For example,Paul was called to have a ministry to the Gentiles while Peter was called to have a ministry to the Jews
(Galatians 2:8). Sometimes He will even change our ministries as we mature.

God continues to bring about change in us throughout life. He employs agents that work internally (the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures) and agents that work externally (angels, circumstances) to conform us to the image of Christ. There are other forces that God uses to shape us, but one of the most profound is the influence of our family. This environment creates a climate for both good and bad in our lives. It takes wisdom and maturity to process this influence in a healthy way. Fortunately, God assures us that He can even use the bad to bring good into our lives (Romans 8:28). He uses all of our experiences, even the unique culture and era that we live in, to bring us to Christ and to mature us (Acts 17:26-28).

Conclusion

God has made each of us special and unique. He’s created us in amazing ways and made it possible for us to contribute to what He’s doing in this world. Every person who comes to Christ brings something that no one else is able to offer. Rather than making us arrogant, this knowledge should cause us to remain humble as we celebrate our special place and affirm God’s sovereign plan for us.

Application:

• Write down the strengths God has given to you, and thank Him for them.
• What are some of the experiences that have shaped your life? Thank God for them
and what He has done in your life through them.

Get this Pocket Principle in Understanding People, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.

Children Playing HIde and SeekWhen I was a kid I loved to play hide and seek. We would hide in the house sometimes and I had my favorite spot. I can still years later picture the hiding place in my mind. It was a pretty good spot! I would dig underneath the pile of work clothes that my dad had put in the corner of his closet, way back underneath the hanging clothes in the corner. As a little kid I could make myself as small as possible, curled up in a little ball and stay quiet as possible.

I remember telling my sisters years later about the hiding place. They remembered looking for me. “I looked there!” I remember them moving the hanging clothes and moving a few items around, expecting to be found at any moment! I learned to hide well!

I also learned to hide other things well! As I have been working through WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Workbook called “Understanding Emotions” I realized that I hid my emotions from myself. Somewhere, I began to stuff my emotions down into the corner of my own closet. Curled up in little balls that I couldn’t find. The thing about hidden emotions are they don’t like to stay hidden or at least some of them don’t like to stay hidden.

Another memory of growing up was the face that my mom seemed to have a sixth sense regarding my emotional state. In fact many times I didn’t have to say a word for her to “read my face.” So the funny thing about this game of hide and seek I have been playing is that I’m realizing that these emotions I have been hiding from myself are not hidden from others. Just because I can’t feel them doesn’t mean they are safely hidden away!

This discovery happens often in my home. I lived as a single guy for 37 years until God put my wife and two daughters in my life. All of a sudden, I had a house full of people watching me. I discovered that I had a “tone of voice.” Emotions were leaking all over my family in “how” I was saying things! I remember how frustrating this was and still struggle with this! I always considered myself as a pretty self aware person. But as I had been given a wife who was able to see me all the time and mirror back to me they way I react, what I say, how I say things, and explain how that makes her feel, God began to help me unpack all these emotions. I began to understand some of them.

This has not been fun! Let me tell you! However, Jesus is showing up! I still am in a huge renovation project inside my head. The process of Understanding my Emotions is a life long venture. The cool thing is that I have someone to walk with who is able to bear my hidden junk. I’m not talking about my wife here, not even a Christian counselor or the people in my Restoring Your Heart Group. I have someone who actually knows me! He is quite fond of me!

The Message by Eugene Peterson paraphrases Hebrews 4:15-16 this way… “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”

Jesus is completely aware of our reality! He has experienced it all. He knows my negative emotions and my positive ones. He who was completely human and perfectly God was able to know exactly what it means to feel emotions. Jesus wept and got angry over death of his friend, Jesus got furious at the temple as worship was exchanged for making money. Jesus loved and felt compassion for those who the world didn’t even acknowledge.

So here I am playing my own game of hide and seek. Jesus is helping me find my emotions! Some of them are not hidden very well. He is helping me know where to look and even helping me understand them. Consider taking time to look at your heart. Are you playing hide and seek with your emotions? How are you feeling today? Are you dead and dry? Are you furious? Are you depressed? Are you happy?

Consider one thing today. Jesus wants you to know and embrace your emotions. He created you with them for a reason. The challenge you and I face today is to learn to Understand them and GROW to have a healthy and emotionally mature life. Part of growing to maturity in your relationship with God also means you should be willing to be emotionally healthy too! Jesus wants to walk with you into your heart and help you find your emotions. Take some time to begin to play hide and seek with Jesus. (He’s pretty good at the seeking part.)

Search me O God and know my Heart….

23  Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24 English Standard Version (ESV)

Begin by reading this free ebook- How Emotional Problems Develop. (pdf)
Second consider learning more about WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Ministry and curriculum.
As you learn about RYH consider joining a group and going through Understanding Emotions.

problem modelWhy is Life so unfair sometimes? Why do I have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s behavior? Ever heard those questions before? Ever asked them?

I know I have. And I have heard those questions asked numerous times in counseling sessions with other people.

None of us like it when somebody else messes up and it affects us. It leaves us with the responsibility of figuring out how to correct the problem. One of the biggest areas that I help people work through in counseling has to do with their fathers. Many fathers are absent, neglectful and hurtful towards their children. Some fathers don’t even realize what they are doing, or the effect it might have on their children.

When these children become adults, the fallout of their father’s interactions with them can cause major problems. When they show up in my counseling office they are suffering from the results of someone else’s behavior. Together we have to figure out how to correct the emotional damage done to them. The good news is that there are solutions. The bad news is that the solutions involve going through a process that takes time and hard work. Yet there is hope and healing during the process.

 

In the Pocket Principle (Fallenness of Man) , I noticed many similarities between the counseling process and the solution God has provided for man’s fallen condition. They both involve a change of heart and a process of restoration. Read on to discover the good solution that God has given us for the consequences of Adam and Eve’s bad behavior.

Get this Pocket Principle in Understanding People, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.

Genogram GraphMany times, in counseling situations, we use a little tool called a genogram. If you have never heard of this tool, a genogram is just a glorified family tree. Only, many times, what people discover when they make a genogram, is not so glorious.

The purpose of a genogram is to learn more about your family history. An understanding of your family history can be helpful to gain more insight into yourself, especially your decisions, feelings and thoughts. It is important to understand where we came from so we can better navigate where we are going.

A genogram used in counseling will generally focus on relationships and how people function. Deaths, divorces, remarriages, births, siblings, birth order, illness, and many other things can be noted. Discoveries made when creating a genogram can go something like this; “there was a lot of alcoholism in my family”, “women in my family did not pick good men”, “there were so many people who died young in my family”, “divorce was really common in my family”, to name only a few.

What people notice in a genogram is patterns and trends of how their families related to each other. This helps people understand why they do things one way or another and that understanding gives them power to break unhealthy patterns.

In this Pocket Principle, we take a look at the human genogram by going back to the original mother and father of humanity and studying how their behavior affected every person born since. What we learn about our history is not so glorious, but understanding the impact of Adam and Eve’s behavior is important for our own growth and maturity.

 Read our Pocket Principle – The Fallenness of Man  and look for part two next week.

 

Get this Pocket Principle in Understanding People, part of Cornerstone  from the WDA Store

For more information visit the WDA Store.