People watching – I love it! You too? You can learn so much from observing.
Lately God has been showing me how ‘same same but different’ we are.
Different ages, genders, sizes, shapes, cultures, beliefs & family backgrounds.
Different levels of education.
Different degrees of poverty and wealth.
Different skills, gifts & talents.
Different life experiences.
Yet, we are so ‘same same’ also.
I recently sat in a quaint gingerbread house store/cafe and exchanged smiles with a young mum. Picture this… a classic old, studded leather lounge chair, seating two tiny Asian toddlers (lost in the expanse of this huge chair), both excitedly indulging in gingerbread biscuits. The little girl daintily savouring every morsel. The small boy digging in, icing all over his face. I watched and smiled. So did their mum. And then we smiled at one another. Different people (one a mother, another with a mother’s heart) both appreciating the joy found in seeing children delightfully happy. Same same but different.
It seems pretty obvious that we are similar yet also unalike. So, why write about it?
I’ve been leaning in to God to understand the importance of not overlooking the obvious. I believe it’s so easy for us to be wrapped up in our own busyness, to the point that we neglect to really ‘see’ others.
God has been challenging me to see the ‘same same’ and to come alongside people where they’re at.
Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].
Romans 12:15 AMPC
What ‘same same’ can I relate to?
Same need to be valued, appreciated, loved, encouraged.
Same need for comfort amidst grief, trouble and trials.
Same experience of frustration, loneliness and disappointment.
Same understanding that life isn’t always easy.
Same ‘I get how the unexpected throws you’-ness.
Same some days you just need a hug or a shoulder to cry on.
Same need for victory and miracles.
I know the reality that as people we can’t change or fix everything for everyone and nor can they do this for us. I also know the immense blessing that comes when someone empathises and shares the load a little.
A memory comes to mind of a time I was heartbroken and I visited a good friend, who took me in her arms, hugged me and said, “I’m sorry you’re hurting. I’m sorry you’re going through this”. My circumstances remained the same, but the burden eased.
Just this week I did a similar thing for a little boy who cried as he told me that a good friend of his mother’s had committed suicide. I hugged him. I told him I was sorry. I told him I knew how hard it is to deal with something so unexpected. In some ways, I felt a bit helpless and useless – that he’d come with such a big problem, and I was doing so little to help. But God reminded me that I was doing what He required.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
Let’s be people who see the ‘same same’ and make a difference. Do the little things.
Hug the hurting.
Listen to the one who needs to be heard.
Stand beside the person needing a little extra courage.
Cry with the one overwhelmed with heartache.
Speak truth to heal the wounds left by the careless words of others.
Help (bake, clean or whatever they may need).
Be present – just be there – be with your family member or friend who needs some support.
And having done the little things, pray. Pray. Pray. Pray some more. For our God can do the big things. And we all, ‘same same’, need Him & His love.
That girl… you know the one… she’s ‘same same but different’ to you.
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (several translations)
Photo credit: Scott Webb
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