You would think that the idea is super simple. Be yourself. I mean, come on…how hard could that be?
It turns out, it can actually be really hard!
You see, I am the middle child of three and my sister is my twin. My brother has big, BIG energy and has an amazingly strong presence about him, AND my father died when I was six.
Talk about a stacked deck of emotional disruption at an early age.
But, as the Lord would have it, year after year, season by season, He has helped me to realize who I have always been and who He made me to be. It’s like peeling back an onion layer by layer to reveal all that was always there underneath.
And, you know what? I like the me that He is uncovering a whole lot. And even more, I LOVE seeing other people come to enjoy the same about themselves.
Want to Live your BEST Life? Be Yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to really struggle with the many, MANY ideas that pervade our current culture about the “right” way to live life.
When Pinterest first emerged years ago, I thought it would be this amazing place to find awesome ideas for things to do with the kids.
And, it was! Amazing ideas. Allllllll over the place. Left, right, up, down, and all with a completely different amount of work and experience and time requirement, etc.
After a time, though, of collecting and searching and considering all the ideas, I realized that so many of them would not likely ever be done by me as a mom, because activities are not a way that I am generally oriented.
And, I felt like a FAILURE.
My mind immediately deduced that my lack of activity-centric parenting was somehow going to emotionally bankrupt my kids, and clearly rob us of all joy and celebration.
Let’s just say it wasn’t good.
Comparison is a Thief of Contentment and Acceptance
The ironic part was that I had been a mother to my small children for a few years even before Pinterest emerged, and I had had no qualms about the way I mothered and loved on them.
We read books together, I allowed them to play freely, I engaged with them throughout the day, and I occasionally let them do things like Play Doh (though VERY infrequently, because for whatever reason, play doh + small children = mess). All-in-all everything flowed very smoothly.
And then I suddenly and without understanding had access to the way OTHER moms mothered their children…and comparison syndrome set in and set in hard!
Thankfully, the Lord has helped me to connect with several wonderful women in my life, and they were very encouraging voices of sound wisdom that helped me to navigate through the murky waters of comparison.
Eventually I realized that I am just not THAT mom, and that’s okay, because I am free to be myself and the woman and mom that I was made to be, which ultimately freed me from any kind of comparison syndrome of this kind.
You see, I’m a more still person. I like calm and quiet. Gentle and soothing activities, that are non-messy, are always my preference.
I also LOVE logic-based conversation and can really struggle when logic is lacking (yeah, so connect that with mothering small people who basically have no or twisted logic and my mind wants to leak out of my ears).
Eventually I learned that my way of mothering was no less valid than anyone else’s because it was rooted in MY best, and I couldn’t ask for more than that.My way of mothering is no less valid than anyone else’s because it is rooted in MY best, and I can't ask for more. Click To Tweet
I know how tempting it is to try to bend and warp and conform. The thing is that is just not how our Abba made us to function best.
He made you unique and beautiful and wonderful and special! When you can just “be yourself” you are practicing self-love, self-acceptance, and ultimately honoring our Abba’s design of you.
That’s an amazing thing!
This is not to say, of course, that we are to let our fleshly nature run wild. The flesh is separate from the inner man, our soul, the life force breathed into us by our Abba at our creation.
It may take some intention to learn to be yourself. This is not surprising in today’s social climate, so allow yourself the time you need to grow and emerge.
Face Contentious People with Wisdom
As you begin to learn about yourself and your natural inclinations on how to engage with the world, you will also inevitably meet with resistance and judgment from others about what is revealed.
As much as I wish that this was not the case, it really is. Some people can be antagonistic and nasty when they see the differences of others. They may even sling harmful, hateful words, or belittling and condescending one. If this happens, it is okay to feel hurt and to feel pain. Ultimately, though, their reactions mean nothing about you. Reactions and responses rather reveal what is going on inside of them.
Ask the Lord for the wisdom to navigate the issue. Seek Him to give you eyes to see their pain and for the mercy to extend grace and forgiveness to them. And, then determine if there is a need for separation in order to keep yourself healthy and growing.
It’s Not Always Easy, but It IS Worth It
I wish I could say that this concept is simple, and for some people it very well might be. If so, I am so happy for you. For the rest of us, though, we have to just keep walking with trust and faith.
Our Abba does not make mistakes in His designs. He uniquely gifts us for a purpose in this world, and the only way to carry that out is to be yourself, whether other people like it or not.
Friend, you are not alone. Hold strong to the One who leads His sheep to living water. He will help you navigate your path one step at a time.
Be yourself. It’s who He made you to be. And, it’s the best gift you can give back to Him in your time here: the gift of bringing to the world the unique Light inside of you that ONLY you can bring.