I often think of the laugh God must have enjoyed when he created me for my husband, Scott. Did God say to Himself, “Let’s see…someday she’ll marry the young boy I just designed, so I’ll make her completely opposite of him just for fun.”? Did He smile at His own cleverness? If not, He should have.
My wonderful “type A” personality husband has endured many years of life with me, a totally NOT “type A” personality. A description of a typical trip to the mall might give clarity to my point. Picture the mall, packed with shoppers on a Friday night. As we enter the South end of the massive collection of stores Scott heads to the nearest posting of the mall directory. While he plans our direction based on what needs to be purchased and where, I am already following my nose to the source of the buttery Auntie Ann’s Pretzels. The bright colors of the modern art/light fixtures, suspended above the main walk way, mesmerize me. As I admire their smooth lines and shape (sort of looks like giant candy), Scott pulls on my arm and we start our shopping. He is trying to propel me from point A to point B. He is trying to be patient; “If I walk any slower I’ll be standing still” he’ll say. He has a plan. He is on a mission. He is there to get stuff and get out. Meanwhile, I am enjoying the creative window displays. I smile to myself, and everyone else, as I take in the variety of shoppers. I am easily distracted by adorable babies, sweet senior adults, oddly attired teens, stressed parents and tired husbands. I think about what sort of day each of them may have had, or what their lives might be like. Scott tries to push back his growing frustration with my lack of progress through the horde of shoppers. I attempt to hide my annoyance at his lack of patience and his hurried pace. You see what I mean?
Over the years we have learned to appreciate our differences, but that does not mean we always enjoy them. Overall our mismatch has worked well for us. His goal oriented drive has given my life much needed focus. My slow paced nature has forced him to slow down and enjoy life more. It has also been necessary to make some adjustments in our God given tendencies. My effort to be more considerate of his desire for timeliness and order, and his effort to be more about the journey, has helped us become better people and better for each other. God wasn’t just trying to be funny when He created us for one another. He had a plan.
Just imagine, every person who impacts your life is there as part of God’s plan for you. “For I know the plans I have you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 These words were part of a letter sent to Jews held captive in Babylon. They lived in a difficult place and with difficult people. Their difficulties were a part of His plan.
It is entirely possible that the irritating, frustrating or annoying, neighbor, relative, co-worker, or friend has been placed in your life on purpose! We may not need to get along or even be happy about our differences, but it may be time to look for how God can shape our lives through them.