I wrote the following as a private reflection several months ago…
Today I felt mocked for being someone who doesn’t like attention.
Today I made the mistake of choosing to allow someone else to speak because I knew they could do a better job than me (and they did).
Today I made the mistake of being aware of the limitations of my knowledge, of knowing when a question is better answered by someone else.
Today I made the mistake of not advertising or wanting to be praised for sensing a call to ministry.
Today I made the mistake of remaining true to my identity and personality, of not wanting the spotlight.
Today I was encouraged for what I quietly achieve.
Today I stood up and spoke when I knew I had something constructive to say.
Today I knew what I was capable of and took up the responsibility of finding the answers to a question.
Today I continued my journey of discernment by commencing some work experience.
Today I remained true to who I believe I was made to be and created to do.
Maybe those weren’t mistakes today.
Maybe they were just someone judging me for not being like them.
Maybe it was them forgetting that as a young, female introvert I don’t need to be comparable to a middle-aged, male extrovert.
Maybe their mocking was because they don’t realise that I’m not less than them, I’m simply different to them.
At the time I didn’t feel it was appropriate or necessary to share. Within the space of just a day I’d experienced how society will sometimes see my both my gender and personality as weaknesses. It was the voice and role-model of some strong women around me that enabled me to see things differently, to know that these things needn’t limit nor define me though. And it was just a handful of those women who I reached out to and shared with that day.
Too often there is the temptation to compare ourselves to others, or others to ourselves, and we miss what it is that we have to offer. We miss that by being the quiet one in the room it might mean that we are listening, we are observing how others are responding, we are giving others the opportunity to speak and be heard. We miss that by being different means that we can bring a different viewpoint and perspective. We miss that we might be showing others that it is ok that we aren’t all the same, we are letting them know that who they are is perfectly fine and that it is ok to remain true to yourself.
When we play the game of comparison we might miss that we aren’t a mistake, we might miss that we aren’t less than others but simply different to them.