Different from what? It has different brands and products from the monotonous sameness that Coles and Woolworths continue to offer. Different prices that invite in a day when we struggle to make ends meet. No frills service that means you pack your own bag and pay extra to use a credit card in exchange for cheaper prices.
For some that will be good, others will prefer the ‘known’ brands, being able to use a credit card without extra charges and not having to pack your own bag and at lightening speed so you don’t hold up the next person.
I guess that’s the point, we are all different. Different in our expectations, tastes, likes, and dislikes. Different ethnicity, backgrounds, personalities and world views. That’s why we have numerous political parties, Christian denominations, different religions, a multitude of hairdressers and even a variety of funeral directors.
In living up to others expectations or adopting a group mentality, I forfeit my individuality; the very stuff that makes me who I am. I lose something of myself and rob others of the gift of my differentness.
Someone explained it to me this way: Imagine you're a beautiful apple but someone doesn’t like apples, only bananas, so you try to be the very best banana you can be but fail miserably because you are an apple. Sadly you become neither a good banana or a sensational apple because you’ve sacrificed the best of yourself in order to try and be something else.
How many times a day do you think, I should do this or I should do that? Its a pressure not a free choice and it creeps into our Christian walk too. Its crippling and strips life of its joy, spontaneity and colour, and often comes in company with guilt. It limits genuine connection with others.
Real belonging happens when authenticity meets authenticity, when I'm willing to share myself, just as I am ... courageous enough to say no to conformity and yes to vulnerability.
Unwittingly, parents, teachers and the church are often the ones to train us to be slaves to the 'tyranny of the shoulds'. I become a good girl when I obey the rules and I quickly learn to be compliant. Not that I'm suggesting there be no rules, but that right and wrong be taught as distinct from my value as an individual.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children and grandchildren is to help them accept and value who they are and know that their uniqueness is a gift to share. The world will continually try to pressure them to conform and it’s hard to resist, but if we’ve helped them to be resilient and authentic and to know they are valued, they will have the courage to stand firm in their individuality.
Good. Different. I think so.