Sunday, July 10, 2005

Don't be Yourself.

I'm noticing how often the phrase, "Just be yourself," keeps popping up--often as an answer to quelch my desire to be like someone else. They way this phrase is used, you'd think it was found in scripture--Jesus would be talking to Zacchueas saying, "Yeah, I know you're shorter than the other guys. But quit comparing yourself to others--God just wants you to be you. Not just any you, but the best you you can be."

While we read about people comparing themselves to others, the response that Jesus gives to such wonderings is far from the "Just be yourself," answer.

Prior to Jesus' ascension, he tells Peter what kind of death Peter will endure. After hearing the news, Peter points to John and asks, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus responds: "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?" And then comes the challenge, "You must follow me."

Jesus does not say, "What is that to you? Just be yourself." No. It's "You must follow me." Not only does Jesus keep Peter from focusing on John, Jesus also keeps Peter from focusing on Peter.

I don't need anyone else to tell me to just be myself. I do a pretty good job of being myself. The goal is not to be myself. The goal is to follow Christ. Transform. Change.


pk said...

Wow! Great stuff Mandy. A simple and solid reminder to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. God knows we need these often. Anytime someone says that to me, I won't be able to help but think about this! Thanks.

The Cubicle Reverend said...

By focussing on Christ we are being ourselves. The fullness of our gifts, personality, and love is revealed through that.

Lisa Edmondson said...

Mandy, I like that. Sometimes it's easy to just accept self-help advice as scripture, because it's generally good (and we're often programmed not to think critically of it). I think you're right--the focus shouldn't be on us; it should be on Jesus.