Friday, June 25, 2010

Bee Yerself

One of the best things you can do for the world - and yourself - is be yourself. The main reason people aren't themselves is they're afraid of what others think. They want to please people. They want people to like them. But guess what. There are billions of individuals in the world and as many different sets of opinions. You'll probably never meet anyone with whom you agree on every matter. It is IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone, even in your own family or circle of friends. Scripture even addresses the matter.

Galatians 1:10: "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

1 Thessalonians 2:2-6 (emphasis mine): "We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else."

God's approval is all we need. Yes, we must love our neighbors as ourselves - so be kind to people - but ultimately, we are accountable to God alone.

Trying to please everyone can be very stressful. I know this from experience. What will that person think if I say this? Will I lose this one's good opinion for doing that? Being so concerned with what others think of you will only make things awkward and you unhappy. Trust me, no approval or acceptance from your peers will bring lasting happiness. And if you aren't being true to yourself while gaining it, it'll probably make you feel a little dead inside.

"The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Do you know what kind of people other people like? Ones who are real. Ones who go through life with confidence because of the simple joy of knowing and accepting who they are. God made you incredibly beautiful and unique. No, you're not like the girl on TV or the guy down your street - because God didn't make two people the same. He made you to be you, not you to be someone else. He gave us all different talents and quirks and tastes in different areas. Sure, some are more marketable, but that doesn't make them any better.

Confidence comes with first trusting God and accepting His strength as so much greater than our own, and second, in celebrating who He made us. In accepting the little things that make you, you. Ever since I stopped caring what people think of me - even if I do something they completely misunderstand and form a bad opinion of me - I've been so much happier than when I was concerned with making sure I didn't do anything "wrong." Along the way, some people will love you and some people will hate you. This is the case even if you try to please everyone, so why not be free and joyful while it happens? The world doesn't want or need a duplicate of your idol. It needs you as God intends you to be, as He made you.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Harold Whitman

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