Are You Being You?
Be yourself! That’s something that we’ve heard all of our lives. Yet, so many people, myself included, do not really live as themselves. We live in such a competitive society where we are always comparing ourselves with others, which tends to cause us to not be comfortable with who we really are.
I don’t have the muscular, fit body that he does.
I don’t make as much money as my neighbor does.
I can’t do this as well as they do.
As a pastor, I can tell you that pastors can be really bad about this. Most often when pastors get together one of the questions that will come up is, “so, how big is your church?” If it’s bigger then they feel somewhat less than the pastor with the bigger church. If it’s smaller, pride has a tendency to rise up and make them feel better than the other pastor.
The list is endless. When we play the comparison game we will never be good enough. There will also be someone more pretty, more handsome, faster, smarter, more advanced than you.
This recently happened to me. I have played in church softball leagues for years. I am a pretty decent ball player. For my age I still have speed and agility, so I have played left field or left center field for many years. I have even had people comment on how fast I am for a guy my age (44). But this year was different. I started out in left field but then a young guy joined our team this year that was a little faster and had a better arm than I do, not to mention my ankles were giving me problems. You know where I am going, don’t you?
I was moved over to right field or designated as an extra hitter. Ouch! That stung. I understood the situation and he rightfully needed to be there because the health of the team is what matters. But it hurt to realize he was better (not much better, mind you, just a little!). But it was enough for me to realize that there will always be someone better. Did I mention he was about 20 years younger than me? I just thought I would throw that in there as well (maybe to help ease the pain a little).
The point being . . . we have to stop comparing ourselves with others because we will either come up short or possibly be lifted up in pride.
Why can’t we just learn to be comfortable with ourselves?
I struggled for years believing that God really loved me. I struggled even more believing that He even liked me. I reasoned within myself that He loved me simply because God is love and He loves everyone. But I couldn’t convince myself that He liked me because I was always messing up somehow.
Not to mention all the sermons I heard about how God couldn’t stand sin, and I struggled with some sins, therefore God couldn’t stand me. That was my mindset at the time.
Truth be told, I didn’t like myself so how could God like me?
I’ve struggled for years, off and on, with liking myself. Some days I do, some days I don’t. The reality is that if you don’t like yourself, then you won’t really be yourself. It’s the comparison game that causes us to really not like ourselves because we somehow do not measure up with someone else.
But why do we gauge ourselves with someone else?
We often times have these unrealistic expectations of ourselves. Comparing ourselves with someone else never helps with these unrealistic expectations.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with using someone else as an example of what we could attain to. The problem comes when we don’t measure up to that particular someone and we beat ourselves up for it.
For example, I think John Maxwell is a great communicator and leader. The guy knows his stuff, and people flock to hear him. I would love to be able to do what he does on the level that he does it. I can look to John as an example of how to become a better leader or communicator. But if I compare myself to John, I will feel terrible because I am not where he is. I wasn’t meant to be another John Maxwell. Even if I follow all of his leadership advice, read all his books and even spend vast amounts of time with him, I will still not be a good John Maxwell.
I can only be a good Michael Wilson. I want to be a great Michael Wilson. I can only do that if I choose every day of my life to be Michael Wilson and not someone else. With God’s help I must make me the best me I can be.
My friend, Ted Hanson, says, “you make a terrible someone else!” I love that.
There’s only one you!
God made you to be you. It is my personal opinion that one of the best ways you can honor God is to be the best you that you can be. Many Christians pray to become more Christlike, and that is a good prayer. My take on that is that I am the most Christ-like when I allow Him to help me become the best Michael I can be.
He didn’t create me to be another Jesus. He created me to be Michael. Now I do my best to follow Jesus, learn from Him and emulate the way He lived and loved. But I am not Jesus. I am Michael.
God created humanity as unique individuals. Even identical twins carry an individual uniqueness. We must learn how to be comfortable in our own skin, liking our own selves.
I mentioned earlier how I struggled to believe that God liked me. He finally convinced me that He did like me. He not only loves me but He likes me. He likes my quirkiness. He likes my personality. He likes me because I am me. I am Michael.
I believe that He likes me most when I am the most me! God cannot, and will not, like a fake me.
What about you? Do you like yourself? Do you try to be other people? Do you struggle with comparing yourself? Comment below and let’s start a dialogue.
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