Challenge your perspective.

I love growing in intimacy with others. I love learning about the people in my life and discovering all their quirks, dreams, and desires.

One of the most beautiful and unexpected things about intimacy is that it allows individuals to see with entirely different eyes. Everyone is wired differently, and intimacy with someone incredibly different challenges the lenses through which people often see and interpret the world.

I recently interviewed my little sister on being the romantic enneagram type (4) for the Road Back to You study group I am leading, and I have thought a lot about one thing she said to me during our phone conversation. When I asked her what she liked about her type, she told me that she liked that she knew what set her apart. She told me that it was her differences that help her know where and how she fits. She doesn’t want everyone to be the same. Instead, she deeply values differences.

My little sister’s embrace of the unique and different is challenging to me, because I have often viewed my differences with contempt. Some of my differences have made me feel disconnected, misunderstood, and helplessly flawed. Not all of my differences are hard to accept, but I have grown up feeling different primarily in ways that have made me ashamed.

I put effort into fitting in and becoming like the group. The funny thing about that is that I am terrible at it. I absolutely suck at pretending and fitting in. I have always been someone that naturally stands out. The problem is that I only accept the ways I stand out when I feel like everyone else accepts them too.   

Living with narcolepsy and chronic pain makes me feel very different from the people I interact with everyday. Narcolepsy feels like such a big difference that it completely overwhelms me at times. It is hard for me to see any positives in a difference like narcolepsy or jaw pain, and it is easy for me to see how they make it hard to fit within the group.

I never thought my little sixteen year old sister would cause me to consider the positives of differences like narcolepsy or jaw pain, but I am often surprised at the power of intimate relationships with others.

Narcolepsy and jaw pain have helped me learn to slow down, rely on my Savior, recognize my needs, set boundaries, and let go of control. Narcolepsy, anorexia, jaw pain, depression/anxiety, and severe acne are all painful experiences, but each experience has shaped me into the unique person that Christ wants me to be.

There is good in the ugly. It can be really hard to see at times, but I am grateful for the intimate relationships I have that challenge my perspective and help me to see more clearly.