‘Different’ Is Not a Bad Thing

You’d figure that because we all grew up in the same house, had the same parents, and yes, had the same siblings, we’d be like clones. I’m sure all the neighbors thought the younger kids would be like the older ones. But honestly, even the older ones didn’t match up all that well.

There were eight children in my family – four girls and four boys. I’m the oldest girl, sliding in at child #3. Not only am I not like my older brothers, my sister who is only a year younger than me, went into a line of work loaded with math. I avoid math like the plague that it is.

It’s a human thing to lump people together. Labeling groups and insisting on this ‘sameness’ has been going on for eons.

The trees in the fall remind me of that. Everyone has their favorite color. Some like red, others like yellow or orange leaves…but really stands out is the uniformity of color. It has a neatness and completeness that’s easy to understand.

But life doesn’t always look like this.

We are all different. Every single one of us. If I just look at my sisters, I know that’s true. I suppose we look like we come from the same parents, but we are very diverse in interests.

There’s the math lover, a health care rules and regs specialist and a lobbyist for fair housing practices. Oh. And me of course. You can call me a: “Math avoider, with a rules and regs allergy”. The only lobby I frequent is at the cinema. But you know, all together, while we are totally different, we are totally beautiful.

“Different” is a word that gets a bad rap these days. For some reason, different has become a word that means bad, or at the very least, suspect. But as I see it, diversity is in my family, in nature and in the world to make life interesting.

We are not the same because the gifts we’ve been given are varied, and we express them as only we are able. My ability to sing will not be the same as yours. Your ability to dance is not like mine. Isn’t that beautiful?

I’m not like my talented brothers and sisters, so I hope the neighbors weren’t too disappointed. My siblings are busy using their talents in their own unique ways, the ways God gave them. It’s so interesting to talk to them, their lives are so different. They teach me that life, in all its forms, shouts and whispers individuality.

No one is like me. No one is like you. Let’s thank God for that and cherish the view. Being the same? I guess it has it’s place. But accepting and nurturing our God-given differences? That’s living our purpose.

So let’s start appreciating our differences. They show us the endless creativity of a God who says we are all “very good”.


And so we are.


Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook


68 thoughts on “‘Different’ Is Not a Bad Thing

    • Hi Lulu! We all have our own interests that’s for sure. It’s so funny that we grew up in the same place, but our personalities are so varied. We love each other so much, and can appreciate the differences, which is really great.

      Have a great Monday πŸ™‚

  1. Yes, our purpose is to nurture are uniqueness so we are in community with others. And in that community be the fruit of the Spirit to prosper in how God designed us. We do live in a broken world, for sure. However, thankfully God is sovereign over us, and is there to direct our paths! Love that last picture of all of you!

    • Hi Lynn! I like the way you pointed out that it’s our differences that boost our community. So many think we all have to be the same, eat the same things, believe the same things. It causes so much harm.

      It took me a while to find that photo! It’s a little dated, but at least we’re all there.

      Happy Monday,

  2. Such a great post, Ceil. Although my seven sibs and I look nothing alike, our senses of humor and the ways we interact are very much the same. On the other side of the coin, my two boys couldn’t be any more different from one another. Did the same two parents even raise them??? Individuality keeps life interesting. if nothing else! Have a great week πŸ™‚

    • Hi Debby! I remember seeing the photo of all your sibs at your recent family reunion. What a fun bunch! You are blessed to have brothers and sisters who share so much, right down to a sense of humor!

      My children are also like night and day. Who knows how that works? But I think God makes us all with His light and life, so I need to appreciate and celebrate those differences. It’s hard sometimes, not gonna lie.

      My thoughts and prayers are with you my friend.
      God bless,

  3. Hi Ceil … what a warm picture of you and your sisters! The love flows between you all …

    My sister and I are as different as night and day. But on the things that matter most, we pretty much resonate. I’m so grateful she’s in my life and that I see her more often in this season. We often make each other crazy, but when all is said and done, I am devoted to her.

    Thanks for reminding me how dear this relationship is …

    • Hi Linda! It was a fun time then. We were celebrating my sister’s birthday.

      You and your sister are examples of being so different, but coming from the same roots. And having love for each other, you see past those differences. My sisters all have varied ideas and gifts, but they are all wonderful. I can really say I love them too. It feels good to say that, doesn’t it?

      Blessings to you and yours,

  4. What a lovely post! Variety is the spice of life, and God gave us each our own uniqueness to use in ways that only we can. He doeth all things well!!!! Wonderful picture of you and your sisters…..wow, it must have been fun and interesting growing up in a family of 8! God bless you, my friend. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Cheryl! You are so right, I forgot about that saying. It is the spice of life! How happy I am to have such differing, beautiful family members. They always make me smile.

      And oh yeah, it was interesting to grow up in our house all right. And fun too πŸ™‚

  5. {Big, Big Smiles} I am the oldest of 3 and the only girl. I have to say all three of us are different, and unique…and that is ok…my motto is, Why Be Normal? Thanks Ceil for the smiles. Have a beautiful week.

    • Hi Linda! Your comment made me laugh! “Why be normal?” is a great question!

      Your brothers are lucky to have such a lovely and funny sister. I know you are all different, but you love each other, and appreciate the differences. That’s living life!
      Happy week πŸ™‚

    • Hi Martha! It really is a gift to appreciate everyone in our lives, no matter how different they are from us. Without our varied ways, what kind of life would it be? Pretty boring!

      Thank you for your lovely comment Martha. Have a wonderful week!

  6. Hi Ceil – What a lovely looking group of sisters you are – and wouldn’t it be so, so boring if we were all the same with our talents and likes and dislikes.

    The only good thing about being the same is when we reveal our inner values – when we show unity over injustice and evil. I think many of us – with all our differences – are praying for peace and harmony, Blessings, Andrina X

    • Hi Andrina! Thank you for your compliment on the photo. You are so right, I can’t think of anything more boring than all of us being the same. I think that’s why God made us all so different, we are all reflections of Him, in all His many ways!

      I have tried to visit your blog, but I got a message that says it’s ‘taken down’. Are you writing somewhere else?

  7. Morning Ceil, I love this post-such truth! I do love all your photos too-you have such a good eye and a way with sharing the heart of the Father. I was born with an older sister(13 yrs older)and an older brother(12 yrs older), so I was almost like an only child. Our personalities are so different-my sister(deceased)was typical Irish, loved to argue for the fun of it. My brother, a hard worker and strong type A is a wonderful giving man. Once our parents passed, we all saw traces of their personality in each of us. When my brother and I are together, there are similarities that always come out.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs and blessings, Noreen

    • Hi Noreen! I guess that’s the secret. Our parents give us parts of themselves, but not all. Just like it is with the Lord. He expresses Himself in all of us too. It’s amazing to think about the differences in people who spent most of their formative years with us. It’s beautiful!

      Hugs right back, nice to see you again πŸ™‚

  8. Thank you for this encouraging reminder, Ceil. I have two sisters and four brothers, and I come smack dab in the middle. I admit I sometimes still compare myself to them and come up short. Even as a child, I thought I must be adopted, because I was the only one with freckles and naturally curly hair. But then I would hear my mom talk about when I was born. πŸ™‚ Anyway, I guess I always felt different in more ways than that, but I need to remember different is beautiful and cherish the “endless creativity of God.” I truly need to accept and nurture my God-given difference. Beautiful photos of creation, including you and your sisters. πŸ™‚ Blessings and hugs to you, Ceil!

    • Hi Trudy! Feeling so different can lead us down curling paths in our heads, right? I’m glad you heard your mom’s stories about your birth. It helps to know our heritage.

      We are all different, and I think that’s because we all reflect a different side of Christ. You show a part of Him that your siblings don’t. It can be confusing, but it’s an honor too.

      How fun to be a part of big family! So much action going on, always someone to play with…well, most of the time. I bet you have wonderful photos too. We really are blessed, aren’t we?

      Have a good Tuesday my friend,

  9. I am so glad that you shared that photo of your sisters. You really are a diversified bunch! The fall photos are lovely. I like messages like these because it takes me back to our Creator and His unique talent and creativity. It also makes me realize how very much we need each other to complete the picture!

    • Hi Mary! When I read your comment I thought about a puzzle. And how we are all pieces in that puzzle. Remember how aggravating it is to have a lost piece? I think I’ll write about that, thank you for the prompt!

      My sisters and I really are all different, but we appreciate those differences, which is wonderful. I think my parents did a wonderful job raising us. I hope I did the same with my own children!


  10. Families are so beautiful and yet so unique. I noticed it with my kids and certainly see it in the grandkids – no two kids are alike. Although my girls looked very much alike, each one of their personalities is totally different.

    Just like each snowflake is different and each thumbprint is unique, His creation shows that God likes variety!

    • Hi Jerralea! Love that thought about the snowflake and the thumbprint. We really are all different, right down to our DNA. But we all have thumbprints, so we are alike too. Our families are the beginning of our worlds, so it’s great that we can see diversity in them. It prepares us for the world at large. Hopefully, we can appreciate differences in all people as we do in our families.

      God does like variety! He is such an artist πŸ™‚

  11. You are right. I am different from my siblings. I am the most handsome, witty, well-spoken, and best person all round. I am also very modest; so I’m told. I suppose this makes me perfect.

    Beautiful picture with your sisters. It’s great when we have a united family close to each other. I’m very lucky in this respect.

    God bless.

    • Hi Victor! I have no doubt that your star shines brightly my friend! It is such a joy to be close to your family, and we seem to be gifted with that.

      The beginning of learning tolerance begins in our families, and it is sorely needed these days. Where does all this hate come from? We have to remember that we are all different in varied ways, but we are all beautiful. May God have mercy on our world…

  12. Hi Ceil! Thank you for highlighting the beauty of difference–difference in nature and in families. I think it’s fascinating (as an only child) to see how amazingly different siblings can be! It’s mind-boggling to think about how different my mom and her baby brother were: same parents, same household, same community–yet so different in build, coloring, personality.

    Celebrating difference is an amazing thing; something we should do more often!

    Have a blessed week!


    • Hi Kim! I do think we learn diversity in our families. As an ‘only’, you may learn it through extended family as you said. My SIL is an only child too, but had many aunts and uncles, cousins too.

      May we all learn to tolerate each other in every part of our journey. We all carry the precious DNA of our Lord.

      Have a great week too!

  13. Beautiful pictures Ceil. Also great lesson. I have 3 brothers…I am the oldest. if there is one thing which could be said is we are all different. Two of us favor my mom in body style; two favor my dad. The comparison stops there. But I think we are siblings from different parents. I despise math! I don’t do well with rules and regs (although i am getting better as I get older and my body slows me down from rebellion). Maybe that is why I believe so strongly in grace. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Bill! How fun! We’re both in the ‘hates math’ club!!

      It really is a wonder how different we can all be, even in a family. I think it’s the beginnings of tolerance. If we can’t abide our family differences, how will we treat those in the world around us?

      I’m right with you in the grace department my friend. Without it, I’m a goner. I’d never be able to tolerate myself, much less anyone in my life.
      You always have such thoughtful comments. Thank you!


  14. Aww, what a beautiful picture of some lovely ladies! Yes, we are all different – praise the Lord! Imagine if we were all the same?! BORING! We need to embrace and celebrate our differences because our uniqueness and gifts bless others.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Wishing you a lovely evening.

    • Hi Jennifer! You are so right. The world would be a darker place if everyone was like me, that’s for sure. That in itself is a reason to celebrate!

      Keep shining my friend! You do so much that I could never do (like homeschool for starters!). You remind me of God’s great and varied gifts for His children…

      Blessings on your Tuesday πŸ™‚

  15. You are so right, Ceil. Different really is a good thing. Our family was math impaired–until our children got married! They both married math wizards and now we have grandchildren who find math easy and fun! On the other hand, we writing and speaking come easily to us, so we can help them in that area where they feel inadequate. Love the balance God provides.

    • Hi Pam! Aren’t you lucky to have such talented in-laws! My brother is a CPA and I do thank God for him every April! Lol!

      Certainly writing and speaking run in your marriage and family, we are all the beneficiaries of that. God certainly knows what He is about, right? How blessed we are.

      Keep on writing and speaking the Truth my friend!

  16. Like this thought of embracing our differences. Is it the devil, then, that makes us fearful of differences? Embracing Jesus is my secret to accepting change and differences. Thanks again for the beautiful message and love that picture of you and your sisters.

    • Hi Alice! I’m not sure what fuels it, but it sure isn’t God. He created us with such beautiful differences, we need to honor those, not see anything ‘bad’ in them. And it all starts in the family. It’s God’s first gift of a ‘small group’. We learn tolerance there.

      Thank you for your kind words about the gal photo! It was a while ago, but it’s hard to get us all together, we live all over the US.

      Blessings on this rainy Tuesday πŸ™‚

  17. There are so many things to like about this post! First–your photos–wow and wow! loved the leaves! Next, I can’t believe you are from such a big family! That is so cool and nice that you are all different. I enjoyed this read and seeing your examples. Different is good! Oh, BTW my friend’s name is Peg. I am so bad at disguising things!

    • Hi Terri! Oh, you are too funny! I just thought we often pretend to ‘anonymous’ a name, and just use the real one. Your comment here made me giggle πŸ™‚

      Thank you for all the kind words about the images here. I love the fall colors too. The photo of the bush with the different colored leaves was so inspirational to me. Same plant, different colors. Isn’t that cool?

      Great to see you today!

  18. It was only my brother and me, but we’re not much alike! I’m considered the “religious” one in the family…..LOL I’m gonna take that as a compliment! Love the picture of you with your sisters.

    • Hi Deb! So you are the ‘religious one’? Congratulations! Your faith shines πŸ™‚ Definitely take it as a compliment!

      Thank you for the lovely comment about my sisters. I love that picture too. It’s from a few years ago, but it was from a happy celebration…my youngest sister’s birthday.

      Have a peaceful night,

  19. You make a good point – I like your perspective on this. We live in such a diverse world, from the physical features to the people. God really does have a wonderful imagination! Love the pictures you chose to go with the post,too. πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Hi Karen! Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Enjoy your blog-break.

      I think God does express Himself so well in all of mankind. We are all different, as we are different parts of the whole. My prayer is that we can just celebrate those differences instead of being angry or afraid of them.

      Peace to you (and to our world),

  20. What a beautiful picture and a beautiful post! Your words are so needed right now as we tend to highlight differences negatively instead of celebrating them positively.

    I especially loved these words today… “So let’s start appreciating our differences. They show us the endless creativity of a God who says we are all β€œvery good”.” Amen! God made us unique for a reason and that is what we need to celebrate today.

    Thank you for this post and your willingness to let God lead you through your words.

    • Hi Mary! I really like your new photo!

      Thank you for your kind words about the post. Those nature pics were so beautiful, photographers really have a gift, don’t they? The one that I took of the different colors from the same small plant really inspired the post. All so different, yet from the same root. God is so creative!

      Thank you for visiting today πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sandi! Yep, there are so many of us, and so many differences. Something to celebrate!

      I loved your post Sandi. I was so impressed with the imagery and writing. Thank you for re-sharing it πŸ™‚


    • Hi Jeanette! Absolutely. That’s the whole point. Different isn’t bad! It makes life interesting and worth living if you ask me. I love my sisters fiercely, all the while appreciating how they differ. It’s great πŸ™‚

      Hope you had a happy Thursday!

  21. Just shared this with twitter. What a great post. Loved the photos especially of your family and the wisdom here. Isn’t it amazing how different every child of God is! He is so creative. thanks Ceil.

    • Hi Jean! Oh, thank you so much Jean! You are such a supportive blog-friend.

      I thought that tree/bush I saw with the many-colored leaves was just amazing. That was my inspiration for the post. I just love my sisters so much, but we are like those leaves. So different, but all from the same roots.

      God is creative, you are so right!
      Hope this was a good day for you my friend,

  22. Oh how I LOVE to see your sisters and you in that beautiful picture, Ceil! I too, have three sisters (BUT no brothers!) and we are so very very different. It’s really amazing how God can design and create endless unique personalities and talents in each one of us, isn’t it? And don’t get me started on all of our appearances! It’s just incredible to think about it really. How marvelous is His work!! Each one of us is a miracle made with His Hands.

    Different is a great word. <3

    • Hi Chris! Well then, you understand me perfectly! Lol!

      How marvelous is His work…you are so right. I know you love your sisters as much as I love mine. Different is beautiful! It does make life interesting, doesn’t it?

      Have a peaceful night,

  23. What a beautiful piece, Ceil. So often we’re so busy trying to convince others to agree with us or be like us that we don’t appreciate the beauty of being different. Thanks for your wise words today.

    • Hi Betsy! Thank you for your kind words about the post. What a great thought about ‘agreeing’. Being different is okay, as a matter of fact, it’s being honest!

      There is such beauty in what God has made. Especially our personalities and our likes/dislikes. Sure would be boring if we were all the same!

      Have a peaceful night,

  24. This had me thinking about motherhood and life with teenagers versus life with toddlers or preschoolers. How different each stage is yet how important these stages of motherhood are. It’s like a beautiful tapestry, isn’t it?

    So I’m late dropping by, again! Life with teens has kept me on my feet. Looking forward to a slower pace during Advent!

    • Hi Patty! Well, that’s a difference, isn’t it? I love the tapestry image; it all folds into our lives…our fascinating lives!

      I’m just happy you were able to drop by, I know you’re busy. I can’t believe Advent is coming up. But I do love that season SO much. Can’t wait to put out the candles πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful night,

  25. Oh I’ve love this post. Yes, we are so different and we should be. God created us each as individuals. And Praise the Lord He did huh? I am wonderful in His sight and so are you sweet Ceil. Happy Thanksgiving. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    • Hi Cindy! I agree with you! We are so beautifully and wonderfully made. And all ‘very good’.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too, and I hope the peace and joy of family and friends will be yours,

  26. Well Hello there Friend! How are you? Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

    I am so glad that we were all made different! We are all special in our own way!
    My brother and I am nothing alike…thank goodness for that! I’m more lovable! Haha!
    I love the reds and golds on trees… And I hate anything to do with Math! Now, English and writing…yes please!
    I love the picture of your sisters…so very special! Sisterly Love!
    I hope you have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
    Hugs Ceil! Be Blessed, Amy

    • Hi Amy! I’m glad we are all made differently too. It makes our blogs that much more interesting! (Glad to meet another ‘math-avoider!!)

      We are getting ready for Thanksgiving, we will be at my brothers house. I am always in charge of the twice baked potatoes, so I get off very easy! This year, my uncle and cousin will be there too which will be great!

      Blessings to you on this Thanksgiving my friend. I’m so glad we stay in touch πŸ™‚

  27. Hi, my friend!
    The week has been fuller than expected so I am just catching up with you here on this gray rainy afternoon. This post seems to be so relevant given the tendency that seems prevalent now to accentuate the differences as a way to rank one as higher or better somehow. It is not so uncommon in truth as we see that throughout history and even in Jesus’ day. Jesus makes a point of breaking down those stereotypes as he hangs out with women and others the norms of the day would have had him avoid.
    Thanks for the great reminder and the way you give us more glimpses into you and your family!
    God’s best to you!

    • Hi Pam! Thank you for dropping by, I know you have been busy!

      You make a good point about ‘ranking’ people by differences. A very big mistake. We can all have preferences about what we like or dislike, but that doesn’t make them bad. I personally cannot stand broccoli, but I know it’s good for everyone πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful evening my friend,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *