God wants you to be someone who is comfortable with your own identity. You should be who you are. And more importantly, you should not be who you are not.
While it may seem obvious on the surface, that is not the norm with most people. As Henry David Thorough wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” They don’t know who they are, so they don’t know who they should be. They try to fit into molds created by other people, only to find that they don’t fit.
That is a sad way to live. In fact, that’s not really living. That’s just existing. And it doesn’t allow God to use the one life that you have to the fullest.
Life is meant to be an adventure. God wants you to trust that He knows how to fully actualize you. But that requires putting total faith in God to help you reveal who you are, and not try to fit someone else’s mold for you.
Oscar Wilde reputedly said to “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” While that may seem funny, it can be uncomfortably insightful to many. Because it requires that you must first know who you are.
If you have tried to fit into the molds that others have made for you, then here are three things you can do to step into your own identity.
1. Don’t be intimidated by other people.
Just because someone else may be smarter than you, or more handsome than you, or has a better job than you do, that doesn’t mean that they have it together any more than you do. They are more than likely trying to fit into a mold that someone else has made for them.
But if God made them “smarter” or “more handsome”—or given them a “better job”—you should rejoice in that. Don’t envy someone else’s gifts. Those are their gifts. God has made them that way for a specific purpose that they have to figure out. Discover and rejoice in the gifts that God has given you. And rejoice in the specific purpose that God has made for you.
God has given you a specific identity: you are His child. Period. You don’t need a more exalted position than that. Once you realize that is the most important position you can ever have, then nothing else really matters. Of course you still have a life you have to lead. But it’s no longer about trying to compare yourself to someone else. Instead, it’s about trying to become more and more of who God has made you to be. It’s about living out your identity—on a daily basis.
2. Surround yourself with people better than you
In order to grow fully into your identity, surround yourself with people better than you. Not so that you can compare yourself with them. But so that you can become more like them.
I don’t like to hang around people who bring me down. I want to hang around people who will make me better than I currently am. I want to be inspired by the people around me. I do not feel like I need to be the smartest person in the room.
Just this past weekend, I was at a conference where I definitely was not the smartest person in the room. I sat in sessions and just listened to the ideas that these people were sharing. I wanted to take it all in. I wanted to know what they knew. They were talking about concepts that I had never heard of. I wanted to familiarize myself with what they were saying, so I can understand it better when I hear it the next time—because I want to become more than I currently am.
Even if I am the “smartest” person in the room, oftentimes it’s better for me just to be silent. I can learn something from anyone—especially if I don’t think I can learn anything from them.
3. Focus on what you do best
Do what you do best. Focus on the few things—or even just that one thing—that you do well. Figure out your unique skill set(s), and use what you have to the best of your ability.
There is no reason to be envious of others. While they have their own unique gifts, don’t be concerned about them. You have your unique gift(s). And that’s all that matters.
Success comes from developing your strengths, not from improving your weaknesses. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have.
What seems obvious to you is amazing to other people. You may not think much of your abilities because they’re just what you have always known how to do. That’s because you probably don’t have a full appreciation of just how amazing you really are.
You have a unique ability to do something that others need. If you do not offer your skill set(s) to the world, then the world will be missing out on your contribution to human flourishing.
God made you to do what He made you to do. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. The world needs you, just as God made you.
The next time you feel like you need to step into that mold that someone else made for you, stop yourself. Realize that God made your identity unique. And God doesn’t make mistakes.
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