“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are” Kurt Cobain.
(Never really thought I’d be quoting the Nirvana frontman on All4God, but then Paul quoted a pagan poet in Acts 17:28 so why not? )
I think most of us are familiar with the whole idea that God created us; made us each individual, loves us, and has incredible, unique plans for each of us. (If you aren’t, check it out in Genesis 1, Psalm 139, or Jeremiah 29:11) but while we may have this head knowledge, I wonder if we really live it out?
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get influenced quite a bit by friends, family and (to a lesser extent) celebrities. We see how our peers around us are dressing, and try to fit in. We get told by the X factor what music we should listen to. Magazines are full of articles on how to get the Katy Perry look. The mass of people auditioning each year for shows like American Idol testifies that people are keen to follow in the footsteps of their favourite popstars. But God did not create us to be another clone of that cool guy from school or the latest pop sensation. We were made to be unique and to strive to be like anyone other than ourselves is an insult to who God made us to be.
We need to acknowledge who we are not, and stop trying to be something we aren’t. God’s plans for our life should demand all of our attention – we don’t have time to waste pursuing a desire to be someone we are not. We need to stop striving to be a poor imitation of someone else, and be a great original individual, using the talents and abilities God has given us for His glory.
We need to realise that we aren’t all given the same talents, and therefore shouldn’t all try to do the same thing. I am not a singer, so it would be a waste of my time to try and set up a worship band. I am not gifted at speaking foreign languages, so I doubt I’ll ever work in something like Bible translation. You may not be a writer, so your time may be better spent helping out at a drop-in centre rather than trying to write a devotional article. There is a huge abundance of work to be done for the sake of the kingdom, and as Jesus said, ‘the workers are few’, so we need to make sure we aren’t trying to duplicate someone else’s job.
There is nothing wrong with observing how people have gone about doing something you have been called to before you, and seeking to learn from their mistakes. But you have been called to be unique, not a clone of that person. God doesn’t want another one of them. He wants you. Learn from how they succeeded, but don’t try and become them. Recognised who you are not, and don’t waste time and effort trying to be someone other than who you were made to be either because you want to fit in, or you want to look cool, or to get quick success. Be the person God made you to be and that Jesus died to save.