There’s wisdom in humbly adapting to the general expectations of our community. But this doesn’t mean what’s common, average, or popular is a good fit for us. We must still discern and live with the grain of how God has crafted us.
For instance, many of us were encouraged to be outgoing, early birds, and practical. And these are common traits for many, with their own value and wisdom. And adopting them would certainly allow us to fit in better with the general expectations of those around us. It makes sense then that we would be encouraged (pressured) in this direction.
But not everyone is wired in this way. Some people are naturally more reserved, night owls, philosophical, or perhaps creative in their approach to life. While these individuals might modify themselves to fit in better with what’s considered average, this would require them to go against the grain of their design.
Of course, part of maturity is being flexible enough to do whatever is needed to fulfill our responsibilities. And often this will require us to do things we wouldn’t naturally do on our own.
But even when this is the case, we can still acknowledge the cost and sacrifices we’re making – willing to give up our natural preferences to meet the needs of the moment. We can easily become frustrated and feel like a failure otherwise.
Ideally, we find a way to honor and integrate both – our duty along with our unique wiring. Our life and relationships tend to go a lot smoother when we’re going with the grain of our personality rather than against it. And we set ourselves up for despair when it feels like we can’t be our true selves anywhere in life.
In the end, adapt whenever necessary to meet the needs around you. And seek to work with the grain of your personality whenever possible as well.