The college and career group did "2nd Sunday" tonight, where we all go to somebody's house to hang out and have a little fellowship time. It was really good tonight. We did this "pass the candle" thing, where all the lights were down and we passed the candle as we named someone in the room who had been an encouragement to us. The first person would explain a person who had encouraged him, name the person, and pass the candle to that person. That person, in turn, would do the same and pass it to whomever they named. The whole thing really encouraged me. (I know I've already over-used the word "encouraged"!) For the first minute, when the activity was being explained, I almost struggled to think of someone who had been an encouragement to me, but once we got into the whole thing, I realized more and more that I could have named something about every person in the room that inspires me in a different way. I realized that, in a way, I have too high of standards. Now, don't get me wrong, I think high standards are a good thing; but sometimes I seem to expect people to be perfect, and since no one can live up to that kind of expectation, I miss out on the good in people because I'm too busy looking at the bad. This is horrible of me! I certianly don't think I'm perfect, so why in the world do I expect other people to be? I don't really actually tell myself, "they're a failure because they're not perfect" or anything like that, because obviously I know that people aren't perfect. I guess what the real issue is is that when people struggle in an area that I don't happen to struggle in, I sort of get the mentality of "why can't they get that right? It seems simple to me. They must not care enough to do anything about it." But at the same time, I struggle in areas that they don't struggle in, and they could just as easily say the same thing about me: "why can't she get that right? She must not care enough to do anything about it." People are different and struggle in different areas; therefore, what's easy to one may be hard to another, and vice verca. It's like any part of our lives. For example, me and Laci. Laci is a visual learner and I'm auditory. I'll meet a guy and tell her about him, and she'll want to know what color shirt he had on, what style his pants were, how his hair was comed, and whether or not he wore a watch. How the heck should I know?? It boggles my mind that she can take in all that information! I'll say, "I don't know, but his voice reminds me of so-and-so." "You know people by their voices?" she'll ask me. She can't comprehend how I work, and I can't comprehend how she works. It's not that one of us is better than the other; we're just different. I can also recognize the sound of certain people coming down our hall. I'll say, "Heather's out of class" as if I'm psycic or something, but really I just recognize her sound. You can't explain that to a visual person! Nor can she explain to me how, in two minutes' time, she can memorize every visual detail of someone! I believe it's the same way in our spiritual lives. We're each different, and we often can't even explain "how it is" to someone who hasn't experienced the same thing as we have. We, or I, should learn to appreciate the differences in people because our strengths are in different areas. If we all had the same strength and the same weakness, the Church would be very lop-sided! No one could help us up when we fall because they would all be right down there with us. It's like the discription of the Church as the Body: if we were all hands, we would never get anywhere because none of us were feet. If you're a hand, be thankful for the one who's a foot. If you're an ear, be thankful for the eye [I'm thankful for you, Lace!]. If you're the musician, be thankful for the cheerleader [love you, Al!]. You get the point. We need each other, not necessarily to survive, but definitely to thrive. God has called us to thrive, and not merely survive. Remember to appreciate the strengths of your fellow Christians, and thrive together in the name of Christ. Later.