Being Who We Were Made to Be

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here.
“I think this is the neatest gift you have ever given me.”
My wife spoke those words to me about 25 years ago on Christmas Day. 
While every husband yearns to hear such praise, what Mary Sue had just unwrapped was a 16-inch blade Stihl chainsaw.  She was beaming. 
Mary Sue grew up loving tools.  Her father was the manager of a hardware store.  When we got married it gradually dawned on me that she actually liked trying to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix broken appliances.
I was grateful for her technological enthusiasm.  But I was also a bit insecure.  There is compelling evidence that I came into the world technologically clueless.  Isn’t “the man of the house” supposed to sleep in the garage with his new Kubota tractor, the way it happens in the commercials?
Early on we made another marital discovery. 
While Mary Sue thinks that time spent in the kitchen is time she could actually be doing something else, I love to cook.  I find grocery stores fascinating.  What’s not to like about spending hours whipping up something that you just know family members are going to love? 
That’s why, about the time I presented my wife her new chainsaw, she thrilled me with the gift of six never-need-to-be-sharpened Henckels kitchen knives.  I have used them virtually every day for the past quarter century.  They are undoubtedly one of the neatest gifts she has ever given me.
When we got married we didn’t think life was going to turn out this way. 
I was going to be Bob Villa on This Old House, and she was going to be Rachel Ray.  But we found out that our gifts and inclinations were entirely opposite. 
It took us a few years, but we finally got over feeling strange about this.  And that opened the door to negotiate all kinds of other things in our relationship. 
What if we trusted that God had prepared us to provide for and care for each other in ways that were somewhat nontraditional, but would allow us to experience great joy?
The apostle Paul makes that very point in Romans 12:5-6 when he acknowledges the diversity of gifts within the Body of Christ: “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s Body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”
Our personal experience has no doubt strengthened our marriage.  I would say that I love and honor my wife even more, and I have a really good reason not to end up in conflict with her.
After all, she definitely knows how to use a chainsaw. 
And all I have is a drawer full of kitchen knives.