A couple of years ago, my wife and I were in New York City for our anniversary. I had spent months planning for the trip and had done my best to go all-out for our anniversary night. I booked a fancy restaurant that required reservations weeks in advance and we both got dressed up. I even scheduled for a private car to take us downtown.
After making it to the restaurant that night, it wasn’t long before I started to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. As the fancy host took us to our table and presented our menus I started to notice that we were in a room full of thousand dollar suits and two hundred dollar bottles of wine. I sat rigid and timid the entire meal. I was afraid to talk too loud or sit too casually. I didn’t really know what to do, to be honest. Dining in fancy restaurants in downtown Manhattan wasn’t something I was used to.
We had a great anniversary dinner, but it wasn’t until we left the restaurant that I was finally able to relax that night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against fancy restaurants and going out to nice places – it’s just not exactly my style. And if you’ve ever been to a ritzy restaurant or an extravagant wedding – you probably know what I mean.
Being someone you’re not is exhausting, even for just one night. When you’re around people you don’t know, there’s a tendency to want to be different than who you are. You want to appear impressive, intelligent, and capable.
You would think being yourself is easy, but it’s not. The truth is, we all struggle with being authentic. I know I do. Every time I write a blog post, I question what I publish. When I meet someone new, I second-guess nearly every sentence I speak. I just don’t want to be taken the wrong way or be mistaken about something.
We all want to be accepted and approved and liked. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It just becomes a mistake once you decide that you will become something you’re not in order to impress someone you don’t know.
The more I’ve struggled with being content with who I am, though, the more I’ve realized that I should always just be myself. There are several reasons I believe that, but here are three in particular.
1. The Real You is Who People Actually Want to Know
The truth is, the real you is exactly who people want to know. It’s not the fictional version – the one that always says the right things and never messes up. It’s the one that’s honest, and vulnerable, and human. That’s the one people want to know because that’s who we all are. That’s how we connect.
Don’t listen to the voice that says you’re not enough. The one who says you’re too boring, too normal, too skinny, too fat, too-whatever. God made you, and if He made you, you can’t go wrong by embracing it. Besides, nobody wants to invest the time getting to know the fake version of someone.
2. The Real You is Who God Wants to Know
Only when you are willing to be completely honest with God will you be able to fully enjoy His presence. Surrounding yourself with smokescreens before God limits your ability to receive from Him, but it does nothing to actually hide anything.
God sees the real you – and all of the real you. He sees the mistakes, the hiding, the shame, and the regret. And that version, the real you, is actually the one He desires relationship with.
3. The Real You Can Change the World
Believe it or not, being the real you can actually change the world. Only when you make the choice to be who you really are, will God bless you with the boldness and confidence you need for your calling
If Walt Disney had sacrificed his creativity for a banking career or if Steve Jobs had given up his technological innovations for a job on Wall Street – we would probably be living in a world without Disney World and iPhones (and I would be a very disappointed person). Or, for a more biblical example, if Paul had given up confidence in who he was we wouldn’t have over half of the New Testament he authored.
You know deep down what makes you, YOU. Don’t sacrifice it for temporary popularity or someone else’s calling.
Now, let’s all go be ourselves 😉