I helped a friend pack up her house yesterday – she’s down-sizing and on the move to a new neighbourhood.
At one point, Linda borrowed my car to head out for more boxes. When she climbed into the driver’s seat, she realized that she had to adjust everything – the rearview mirror, the seat tilt, the side mirror, the AC, the radio station and the seat itself so that she could fit her long legs into the car. A thought came to her as she was busy making all the necessary adjustments – you can never be somebody else.
The reality is that each of us is unique but living out that truth is a life long challenge.
Many people look horizontally for their model of a meaningful life and are willing to make endless “adjustments” to be like someone else. But it’s not about looking outward. No one else is like you or I. Other people’s personal striving and limited perceptions can not define us. Ultimately, every person on this earth is going to disappoint us – if we look out, it will be disastrous.
Even our culture says it cool to “Be yourself” but it’s so much more difficult than it sounds. Ask a teenager…ask anyone. This mantra also seriously misses the mark because it assumes that a meaningful life can be self defined and that there needn’t be any boundaries. It’s not about looking inward. Left to our own devices, we would be a mess. If we look within, it will be disastrous.
So, who are we to be?
It’s not about creating an identity.
When I was a young mom, I learned that each of my children had his/her own God-given “bent” – a specific make up as an individual with certain abilities, talents and tendencies. My responsibility was to study each child, as individual as they were, so that I could discern their physical, spiritual and emotional needs and train them accordingly. They weren’t empty slates that I would write on – they were already written on…by God. Each of my children had a God-given bent.
Each of us is born with a “bent” and I believe that in the finite number of days ordained to us to walk this earth, we are to pursue our identity in the One Who created us and has a plan for our lives. (Jeremiah 29.11) It’s not about a life defined on our terms.
The answer, my friend, is not yours to invent or create. It will be decided for you. It is outside you. It is real and objective and firm. One day you will hear it. You don’t create it. You don’t define it. It comes to you, and sooner or later you conform to it—or bow to it. John Piper
This is what makes us unique.