Ephesians 2:10 (New International Version)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Each of the animals in the Barnyard had his or her own distinct personality. Friskey the horse was wild and untamed at times. Gale the goat, was quiet and fearful a lot, but curious about everything. Ben and Bret, Gale's brothers were out spoken and brash. Hitting everything head on, with a vengeance. Nell, the cow, was quite the thinker. She tended to be very bossy and always had to be right. Then there was Missy the kitten. She was quiet and honest. Nevertheless, Missy tended to try to be an animal pleaser. She just did not really like confrontations. She would never do anything wrong, but found it hard to stick up for her views and beliefs on right and wrong. She Just found it easier to "agree" with most, saved her the trouble of arguments or hurt feelings.
The head "honcho" Greg, the bull, was always sticking his nose in where it did not belong. He thought himself the final answer for everything, thus the nick name "honcho", but Charley could usually put him in his place. This would always lead to Mike, the rooster, putting in his two cents of advice on how to deal with Greg to Charley. Charley and Farmer had their hands full with all the different personalities that were in the Barnyard. However, Farmer and Charley, did not mind. They loved each one of the animals, with all their quirks and differences they had. Charley always said that was the part of his job, he loved the most. Being around so much diversity and differences in all the folks her knew.
One day when all the animals were in the yard, Friskey made a comment, about the way Missy licked her paw. "You know Missy, you really do that all wrong!" said Friskey. " I mean, who do you think you are anyway? The proper way to do that is front to back, not side to side."
"Who says so?" Asked Missy, "I have never heard there is a right way or wrong way about it."
"Well, there is." Said Friskey, "we all do it front to back. That has always been the way here. We would all prefer you to be like us, and do it our way."
Missy was quite taken back by this. She did not know exactly how to answer or handle the situation, so she just stopped grooming and walked away. She wanted to ask someone if what Friskey had said was true, but she was too afraid. She was afraid others would look down on her, or not like her, if she was different from them. She decided the best answer was to try to change and become more like the other animals. For the next few weeks, she carefully studied, all the animals, and how they groomed themselves. She took notes and watched for every little lick and move they made. Then she would go off alone, and practice, being like them. She was sure if she could master the way they did it, that it would make her fully acceptable to them, and a real; part of the family. As weeks went by, she would be in the yard, cleaning and grooming herself as the others did. Always being sure to use their techniques, and moves. One of those days, Charley was in the yard, and noticed Missy was acting quite different. Curious as to why she was not acting like her normal self, he approached her to ask.
"Missy, I noticed you are cleaning and grooming yourself in a very different way from normal. Why are you doing that?"
"I have decided to be like everyone else!" she replied, "I want them to like me, and not look at me like I am some sort of outcast."
"Why would you do that?" Charley asked. "You are just fine as you are."
"No. I am not." Replied Missy. "They have told me I do it all wrong, and need to do it like they do."
"Who told you that Missy?" asked Charley. Missy turned her head. She did not want to be a tattletale on anyone.
"Missy, I asked you, who told you that?" repeated Charley. "I will not say you told me, I just want to know. As your protector and teacher, it is important I know who is teaching you things I would not."
"Friskey told me I did it all wrong." Said Missy; "He told me I was not acting like the others. I want to be accepted here Charley, and if that means I have to change the way I do and say things I will. I don't want the others to not like me because I am different." Missy began to cry. Charley gently put his paw around her and sat with her for a few moments. He held his head low, and patted her gently to let her know he under stood. Finally Missy stopped crying, and looked at Charley.
"What am I to do Charley? I want so badly to do what is right by you and Farmer, but also be accepted by the other animals."
"I know you do Missy. I heard you weep, and felt your pain. I have also known rejection for being me."
"You have?" sobbed Missy.
"Oh yes, I have," said Charley. "I have often been misunderstood and rejected because of the way I have to do things around here. Many times, I have to hear from others, how they feel it should have been done. Nevertheless, ultimately, I have to be true to myself, and to what the Farmer has asked me to do. You see Missy; each one of us is different. We are all uniquely made, and wonderful in our differences. That is the way God made us to be. You cannot, and should not, try to be something or someone other than you. To do that is not really flattery to the other person, but rejection of who God made you to be. He loves you as you are. It does not matter if you are right or wrong to anyone else. This is the way He made you to be. Think how boring life would be if everyone acted and spoke the same? Would that not make for a very boring life?"
Missy shook her head in agreement.
"Yes it would Charley, but what do I say when the others tell me to do it their way?"
"You simply tell them, in love, that God likes you exactly this way that He made you. Then tell them, if God wants to make any changes, He has your permission to do so. For now, however, you are who you are, and that is it. Take it or leave it, you are right where you are supposed to be right now." Missy smiled at Charley, and went back to the yard. There, she began to clean and groom herself as she had always done in the past. Smiling to her self, in knowing that God loves her right where she is. She knows God will not leave her this way, and is willing to let Him change her. Nevertheless, for now, she is who she is, and God loves her. That is enough for Missy.
Dear Lord we pray that we would be happy with the way you made us. Help us not try to change to be what others are trying to make us be but be just who we are. In Jesus’ name, Amen.