Why It’s Okay To Be Different

by | Mar 31, 2014 | Identity, Lent


Sitting surrounded by quiet and the lone candle of my screen, I watch a Cardinal couple outside my window flit circuitously from branch to hanging basket to statue to a blanket of leaves.

I don’t currently own any pets but these birds have chosen me for years. The mottled red and gold throat of the male sets him apart from the sleek, clean carpeted crimson throats of the masses. He looks as though he’s mistakenly taken a bath in ash, wearing the story of redemption on his wings.

It’s the obvious difference in those blotchy feathers that allows the ease of forgiveness as he swings on the feeder. For his wife holds the lone red bud in her beak, amid ruffles of white on the begonia swinging outside my window.

There is something beautiful and endearing about revealed brokenness, like God granting permission to breathe.

They say Moses wasn’t an ordinary child when he was born, but they weren’t talking about how he looked. They were describing his destiny. (Acts 7:20)

Somewhere in between our first and last breath, we lose the ability to become extraordinary, mistaking blending in and ordinariness as the pathway for success.

It’s when we discover the beauty of our brokenness that we can imagine the person we are yet to become. God uses our life for purpose, not because of who we are but because of who we are not.

And perhaps it’s the presence of Jesus represented in the Cardinal that holds my attention, His body once stripped and mottled with blood; the ash of my sin smudging his chest.  Yes, there is something beautiful about revealing the imperfection of our brokenness because of the story it represents.

We are free to be extraordinary in the masses because there has never been, nor will there ever be, an ordinary human born among us.


 In community with Laura for Playdates with God.

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  1. Kathy Schwanke

    I love this Shelly, the cross brings life to everything offered up to Jesus. Our wings may still have a stain of ashes, but we are Free to Fly! 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      I love the season of Lent, it always makes everything come to life differently for me. Thanks for being here Kathy, appreciate you.

  2. Angie Ryg

    God uses our life for purpose, not because of who we are but because of who we are not.

    Oh, how I love this..in my world of double guessing and comparing…all I need to know is who I am in God. I need to know more of Him. I love this Friend! XOXO

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, there is an awful lot of comparison in this world among women isn’t there Angie? It takes a whole lotta wrestling with God to stop doing it and be content. Ask me how I know that. *wink*

  3. Kris Camealy

    *tears*. This has never seemed more true than right at this moment. Beautiful, Shelly. This is inspired.

    • Shelly Miller

      It blesses me to know that something I wrote resonated with your heart Kris.

  4. Leslie Durham

    This is definitely one of my favorites. Great piece! Keep up the great work!!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Leslie, its always a treat seeing you here.

  5. Jillie

    I’ve never quite seen my own brokenness in the light of His brokenness in the way you describe, Shelly. “His body once stripped and mottled with blood; the ash of my sin smudging His chest.” Yet risen to such Glory! Like the “broken” cardinal, He flits about by His Spirit, reminding us all that He takes all broken things and uses them for His glory, just as we are, yet reflecting the amazing work He does in the yielded broken spirit we all carry. I need to remember that He does not expect perfection.
    This is amazing, inspired writing, Shelly. Thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Perfectionism has always been one of my greatest weaknesses Jillie, something I go back to when I’m under stress. It’s the way I attempt to control those things in my life that are uncontrollable. But being perfect, or trying to be, is empty. Thank you for the kind words.

  6. Celeste

    “In between life and death”
    This line struck a chord with me as we have been confronted with the liss of someone within our family. She was an extraordinary woman whom I loved much. But once again your words have reached my complacency. I have been wrestling with some questions. Thankyou for your prayers and your words.

    • Shelly Miller

      So glad to know you read something that made you think differently Celeste, that blesses me. Praying for you and hopeful that God will meet you in a tangible way.

  7. Kim Fernando

    “They say Moses wasn’t an ordinary child when he was born, but they
    weren’t talking about how he looked. They were describing his destiny.
    (Acts 7:20)” … I love this and how God isn’t concerned about how we compare to others but instead with what He’s doing in us. Thank you for sharing.

    • Shelly Miller

      Amen Kim, me too, I’m thankful for the acceptance of Christ. It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it?

  8. Laura Boggess

    Beautiful, my friend. And that image? Wow, you really captured the glory of standing out :). I don’t know why it gets harder to be different as we grow older. It seems it should be the opposite. We should know better, shouldn’t we? I’ll be thinking on your words this week, looking for ways to be extraordinary 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, yes, yes. It does seems silly that it gets harder the older we get or perhaps God is pointing out our uniqueness and challenging us to trust him in being ourselves.

  9. JViola79

    Beautiful post! For the last few days, I have been reflecting on Ruth and Boaz and Rahab. What hit me deeply is this…. there was no way Rahab knew what she would be starting the day she helped the spies. None. She could not have known that she would birth Boaz who would redeem Ruth. She could not have imagined she would be a part of Christ’s lineage never mind, mentioned in the eternal words of Scripture. Our brokenness, our ordinariness, may reveal a grander plan even long after we are gone. I am so grateful that our faith in God is bigger than any messy past and brokenness. So glad to have read your post as God continues to drive this message deeply into my heart! Blessings!

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