That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Galatians 5:26 MSG
God made each of us unique. We are originals. One of one.
However, we don’t always like the feeling of being different from other people, especially if “different” means “worse” in our minds. The pull to compete with and compare ourselves to those around us can be strong, and it usually leads to jealousy, competitiveness, and criticalness. It can also lead to deceit; our fears of “being different” cause us to be inauthentic and pretend to be someone we’re not.
It takes faith to be ourselves. According to a study by the University of Massachussetts, the majority of US adults can’t go 10 minutes without lying. Without faith, it’s hard to overcome our fears of the possible rejection or consequences that could come if people knew who we really were.
The truth is, we are happiest when we are authentic. Our relationships thrive, and we can inspire others to be themselves too. That’s why it’s important to constantly work at having the faith to be ourselves, and today we want to give you three simple ways we can do that.
Being Ourselves Is Easier When We See Ourselves the Way God Does
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
Psalm 139:13-17 NLT
Understanding how God feels about us gives us the faith and security to be ourselves. We live in the age of social media, which means everything we see pushes us to put our best foot forward. Hiding our weaknesses and leaving a good impression (whether it’s in person or online) can feel like a necessary step to getting the success and acceptance we want.
Yet the Bible teaches us that we don’t need to do that. God sees us for who we really are; he made us, and he considers us wonderful and precious.
Precious is defined as “valuable, dear, beloved.” God knows everything about us and still feels this way about us. Reading the Bible and learning to see ourselves the way he does can help us value our uniqueness. Believe it or not, in God’s eyes we are masterpieces!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
More likely than not, we don’t view ourselves as “masterpieces.” We are usually highly aware of our quirks, faults, and shortcomings; we can be our own worst critics. Yet God sees something different when he looks at us. We can begin to see what God sees in us when we develop the faith that comes from reading his Word in the Bible and believing it more than we believe our negative thoughts.
Being Ourselves Begins In Prayer
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
Matthew 6:6 MSG
Jesus was completely comfortable in his own skin. He never pretended to be something he wasn’t, or placated people even when their disapproval was made publicly known. Jesus’s confidence to be authentic started in his prayer life. He was completely honest with God, and he encourages us to do the same.
Jesus teaches us to pray simply and honestly. When we can be comfortable being honest and real with God, and be secure that he loves us, we will have the faith to do the same with people.
Jesus doesn’t want us to role-play, act, or pretend while we pray; rather, he tells us to be there as simply and honestly as we can manage. This helps us to focus on God and his grace. Grace is “underserved favor,” which is something that cannot be earned. Our honesty with God helps us become aware of God’s unmerited favor; God is more powerful than any person, and if he has our back, we don’t have to worry about what any person will do to us.
God’s love for us is not something we can earn based on how good we are, or how well we perform. It’s just part of who he is; unfailing love is part of his character. Therefore we can be confident in being ourselves because we know that God loves us that way. If we need to be honest about sins and shortcomings, we can tell God because he already knows. We don’t have to hide from him, and the more honest we are, the more aware we will be of his desire to forgive us.
Being Ourselves Inspires Others
But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16 NLT
Paul learned an invaluable lesson when he developed the faith to be himself. It was his authenticity that inspired others. Though his accomplishments and accolades were impressive, it was his weaknesses, faults, and failures that moved others to seek God. Paul’s sins and shortcomings highlighted God and his patience with us.
This reminds us of a well-known form of Japanese art called “kintsugi.” In kintsugi, the art of “golden joinery,” the gold used to repair the cracks in a “broken” ceramic piece highlights the imperfections in the ceramic piece. The value of the ceramic piece increases because it is believed to be more unique and special than was originally without the chips and cracks in it.
The philosophy behind kintsugi is that you highlight rather than hide when a ceramic piece is chipped, crack or broken.
Similarly, we can develop the faith to be ourselves when we understand that our “chips and cracks” are incredibly valuable parts of our story. They help us understand God’s mercy, and they inspire others to seek that for themselves.
God has made each of us unique, and our differences make us more valuable and special. We can develop the faith to be ourselves when we read the Scriptures to understand how God views us and learn from Jesus how to be ourselves in prayer. As we develop this confidence to be true to ourselves the way that Jesus is, we will find our lives inspiring others to be themselves too.