Flipping the Map

“If you flip the map over, you’ll get a bigger picture of where we are,” I suggested to my teammate.

His response? “I actually like to only look at the little square.”

Surprised, I mentioned that he might be missing out on a lot by seeing only one piece of the whole. But that’s my perspective, and my gift. I like the big picture, going fast, and figuring out things as I go. My teammate likes going more slowly and having precise details well thought out ahead of time.

This little interaction illustrates what happens when we team with someone who seems opposite. My teammate and I recognized our differences starting day one when we tried to coordinate a training event together. He wanted lots of time before our gathering to plan every word we’d say. He loved the details I avoided in favor of strategic planning, and he often teasingly threatened that he’d make me stand up and present without any preparation—something I actually enjoy doing, even though I know it isn’t always wise.

Over the last eight years of working together, I’ve grown to love partnering with him and truly cherish our differences. God continues to use our teaming to impact others. When I take my eyes off myself, focusing instead on the humility and communication it takes to work with someone so different, there’s a rich payoff: a deeper relationship with God and others, and a powerful picture of the Body of Christ.

Is God asking you to team with someone who might be a little challenging? If so, what might you have to learn from this? In what ways can you learn to recognize, appreciate, celebrate, and defer to one another’s differences?

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