The Risk in Being Yourself

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

This generation can spot a fake a mile away, authenticity is what we seek. Why? Because REAL is refreshing, it’s inspiring, it’s infectious. But why then do we compare ourselves to others? Why are we sometimes afraid to say things, or dress how we like, or go after the dreams in our hearts? 

I realized most of my fears in life all center around the same thing- an insecurity in how I'm seen. I came to this conclusion upon thinking of what one of biggest fears is: tripping in public. What an odd fear I thought, not like a fear of sharks or spider, but rather a fear of perception. I don't think this is uncommon, as much as I love being myself and ride on the truth of that, I do find that sometimes I hide who I am for fear of what others think. It’s really a backwards thing. To be known, is to be completely vulnerable and that is a scary thing to do. Some of us have been hurt by doing that, but it’s needed.

I've been learning more and more not to care about what others think. The truth is, we are all different and that’s okay. We each serve a role to which only we can fulfill, not our parents, our best friends or anyone else. To accept this is to accept yourself and to accept others as they walk in their own light. What happens when we care about other people's opinions of ourselves is we start to question who we are, and why God made us that way, and that can be a dangerous road to tread. 

Author Donald Miller is his book, Scary Close, writes this: “The whole experience makes me wonder if the time we spend trying to become somebody people will love isn’t wasted because the most powerful, most attractive person we can be is who we already are, an ever-changing being that is becoming and will never arrive, but has opinions about what is seen along the journey…. I like what the dancer Martha Graham once said, that each of us is unique and if we didn’t exist something in the world would have been lost. I wonder, then, why we are so quick to conform—and what the world has lost because we have. William Blake said about Jesus that he was, “all virtue and acted from impulse, not from rules.” If we are to be like him, aren't we to speak and move and do, to act upon the world and take new ground from the forces that work against our unique genius and beauty? What if part of God’s message to the world was you? The true and real you?”. Isn’t that a wonderful thought, you have a special role to play in God’s story, but the only way to play it out is by being true to who He made you to be.

There are many biblical heroes of whom have been true to themselves and that made all the difference, but the one that comes to my mind is Esther. She was quiet up until the point when her people, the Jewish people were about to be destroyed, then she spoke up, she played her role in God’s story by being herself, no one else. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”. Esther 4.14, New International Version

The Bible says this: “When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me. Psalm 138:3, NIV. If you feel as though being yourself is hard to do, call upon the Lord, he wants to embolden you to be the person He created you to be. Ask him to shed off any lies about yourself that people have put on you. He wants to renew you.

What is the real risk in being yourself then? That will others will see you as you really are? Yes, and that’s nothing to be afraid of, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Your vulnerability is what will lead others to be themselves too. You can be the pioneer in authenticity, to lead others to find their role in God’s story too, to be free as He has called us, free to be ourselves. As my friend Sheila once said to me, “Do you!”. Because there’s no one else I can really be, and there's no who can be quite like me.

 


New International Version (NIV)

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WomanhoodKatie Benkert