I will never forget a few precious words that my cousin recently said to me.
We were discussing decisions regarding children, education, schedules, etc… I was sharing with her some recent advice I had received from someone regarding education choices for our kids. I then told my cousin what my husband and I had concluded was good for our family, based on the Lord’s leading of our family.
My cousin then said, “It is okay to be you.” Little did she know at the time that tears began to immediately trail down my cheeks.
Perhaps some of you are not “plagued” with the need to please everyone and to try to live up to everyone else’ standards for yourself and your family. I, on the other hand, am plagued with a perfectionist tendency. I have a hard time accepting that I am not made like so many other people. I have an even harder time believing that being different doesn’t make me less valuable, spiritual, or gifted.
I have a desire to be a peacemaker and just to make everyone happy. I was like that even as a kid. I can remember actually asking to take my siblings’ punishments at times because I just wanted everyone to be happy.
Now, I find myself trying to live up to the standards of others — and they aren’t necessarily the same as God’s. …Those “do’s” and “don’ts” that supposedly make us closer to some specimen of perfection or “godliness.”
I grew up with some very nice people, but some people we knew had a very extensive list of what being “godly” looked like. The list was more about the outward though it was talked as if it was about the inward. It was often more about doing the right things rather than being the right person God created you to be.
Growing up with that type of pressure I have a tendency and will probably always battle the tendency to feel that if I am truly doing the best or “most godly” thing, I will have so many kids, educate them a certain way, dress them a certain way, and raise them with a whole list of outward standards.
I have friends that still hold to pretty conservative standards, and I can say there are many that are genuine and truly godly. Yet, I am coming to see that my spiritual walk may not look the same as theirs. That my kids’ spiritual walk may not look the same as mine.
As my cousin so wisely reminded me, God has created us uniquely different. It is okay to be you. It is okay to be me, meaning the people whom God created us to be.
Sometimes that means we do things a little differently than other godly Christians. And, I am not referring to sin. I am referring to those areas that truly are personal preferences, “gray areas”, or based on personal interpretation. Scripture is very clear in many areas, but some areas that we speak of, as if they are “Gospel truth,” are really our own personal convictions and/or preferences.
What this also means is that we need to beware of judging others based on our own personal convictions. I believe that God does call some us to walk a different path than others. Again, this doesn’t include sin.
If God convicts you of an area that you feel you need to change or do differently, then by all means do it. If God calls you to walk a little differently than some of your other friends with more conservative convictions, then by all means walk that path.
We are each uniquely designed by God for His glory — not for our own. It’s not about doing certain things. Rather, it’s about being or abiding in the One Who is. It’s okay to be you — the person whom God created for His glory. We each serve a unique purpose here on this Earth. Let’s make sure we are asking God for discernment, obeying His leading, and then living to glorify Him alone.
Let’s be the individuals that He created us to be, uniquely bringing glory to Himself and therein finding our own complete fulfillment.