Just Be YOU
“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” -1 Samuel 17:38-40 (NIV)
I’ve written before about my previous work as a nanny. I had the opportunity to take care of several children over the course of three years, and I got to watch all of them grow up. At one point in time, one of the girls I took care of was right on the edge of adolescence. She was becoming more self-aware—how she looked, how she dressed, and overall, how she appeared to others. One day, we were talking and joking with each other, when all of a sudden, she let out this incredibly awkward laugh. It sounded like a snake’s slither paired with a high-pitched chuckle. I gave her a side-eye, wondering where that laugh came from, as I had never heard her make that noise before. However, I chose to shrug it off and pretend like I didn’t hear anything.
That was until she did it again.
After hearing her strange laugh multiple times, I realized what might have been happening: this young girl appeared to be trying out a new laugh.
YALL. Trying out a new laugh.
Perhaps she thought her “old laugh” was too low, so she brought it up an octave? Or maybe she wanted her laugh to sound more mysterious and not too loud? It’s quite possible that she heard the laugh of someone else and decided to adopt it as her own.
While this might sound a bit weird, think about this for a moment: Aren’t we all guilty of “trying out new laughs” in a sense?
In terms of ministry, I can definitely say that I have been guilty of this. What I mean is that I will see the way other people minister—the way they act, preach, lead, etc.—and try to be just like them.
I hear their “laugh” and try to test it out for myself.
While there is nothing wrong with admiring the awesome things others do and learning from them, a problem arises when we believe that we have to be just like them to be successful. In turn, we are saying that there is a problem with ourselves.
That person preaches quietly. That must mean I preach too loudly.
That person is more of an extrovert in their ministry. I must be too introverted.
That person is more comical during their sermons. Maybe I’m too boring?
That person dresses differently than I do. Maybe I dress badly?
Friend, please hear me when I say this: God has created us all uniquely. He has created me to be me. God created you to be you. He did not create you to be the person at the church down the street or the church you follow on Instagram. We all have unique spiritual gifts, talents, and skills, and we must choose to walk confidently in them. There are too many of us out here trying to be somebody else.
I am reminded of 1 Samuel 17 where a young David tries on Saul’s armor, only to realize he’s not used to it. Instead, he chose to take off the armor and go confidently with his staff and his own choice of weapon to defeat Goliath. Most importantly though, he chose to go confidently on his own knowing the Lord was with him. David didn’t need someone else’s armor, and you don’t either.
Lead well from who God created you to be. It’s not about trying to be as loud as this youth pastor, or as outgoing as that small group leader. It’s about resting in how God uniquely created you and trusting that, no matter what, He is with you, and He is using you. Just as we are told in 1 Corinthians 12, we are all given different gifts and skills. We are also all like different parts of the body. But it is those very differences that beautifully and ultimately make up the Body of Christ.
In addition, in those moments where we do realize that there are areas we can improve, the solution is not to look to be like another person. The solution is to look to God and rely on Him for help.
Stop trying out other people’s laughs and be happy with the one you were given.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14 (NIV)