"You're amazing just the way you are." - Bruno Mars
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss
"Be YOU." - Everyone (basically)
I am sure you have heard one or more (or all) of these phrases in some variation or another at some point in your life. You'd have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the plethora of messages in movies, books, music, politics, self-help seminars, etc. on how to embrace yourself and your unique gifts/talents/skills. Today, we are all about being totally and unabashedly YOU...or so we say. I could get on my soap box and talk about the way we've changed the meaning of tolerance, but that's not want I want to focus on here.
Let's operate off the premise that, as a general rule, the majority of our society encourages each of us to pursue our unique interests and be just the way we are.
But I want to talk about one person who always seems to get the short end of the stick. A guy who is consistently placed in a mold of our own creation. A man who rarely hears the words, "You're amazing just the way You are."
He hears a lot of:
"Well, actually, I think You should probably go about that situation in
"So I get that You ask me to trust You, but I think I've actually got this under control so I'll just take care of it because I don't really like the direction You're going."
"I mean I get where You're coming from, but my idea makes a lot more sense."
Or maybe that's just a lot of what He hears from me.
"He" is Jesus, by the way. And sadly, the above statements really are relatively accurate accounts of the conversations I have with Jesus on a regular basis.
I don't know about you, but it's easy for me to accept all of this "be you" talk floating around. I think it's great - I love being me! I love embracing my nerdy obsession for Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I love talking about literature and education. I love wearing Young Life shirts every day of my life. I love eating cookies, and I'm not sorry that I eat way too much ice cream. When I listen to Bruno Mars sing "You're amazing just the way you are," I think, "You know, Bruno, you're right, I am!"
I'm relatively quick to extend this same courtesy to the people around me, but I very rarely allow Jesus a place in the "be you" movement. He is the guy that I constantly think, "Ugh, the way You are is not always amazing because You ask hard things of me. You say hard things in the Bible. You don't give me easy ways out."
Sunday at church, my pastor talked about how in Jesus' time, His people's prayers were far too often about "Rome"...what he meant is that Jesus' people were far too wrapped up in situation, in circumstance, in trial. Instead of focusing on the Messiah literally walking amongst them and the amazing work He was doing, they focused on what they wanted their Messiah to do and be: a Rome-concquering, Russell Crowe-esque hero (I'm elaborating slightly...haha). Jesus was not encouraged to be Himself when He walked in Palestine. Jesus - in my opinion, the most attractive personality to ever exist, possessor of the most incredible gifts to ever exist - was NOT encouraged to be who He was and say what He felt.
So here we are, thousands of years later, and I know I - at least - am guilty of precisely the same thing. I want Jesus to be who I want Him to be - not who He actually is. I want Him to follow the plan I have for my life rather than work through the tough - but beneficial - issues that following His plan so often includes.
Here's the most ironic part of it all, though. I think getting to know the genuine nature of a person - the nature that often doesn't reveal itself at first blush - is one of the greatest pleasures of life. I love knowing my friends' eccentricities. I love guessing the way they will react to certain situations. I love their real and vulnerable opinions about life.
I guess my point here is actually a question for myself - and for you too, if you'd like to join me: what if I let Jesus be Jesus in my life? What if I actually took Him at His word? What if I allowed Him to be all of the things He's said He is in my life?
So here I am: just a girl, standing in front of her Lord, asking Jesus to be Jesus - He's amazing just the way He is. I don't know about you, but my life looks totally different if I strive to know Jesus for who He has said He is and who He has proven Himself to be. The box I too often force Him into confines His true nature - an abundantly good, just, creative, and beautiful nature.
Please be YOU in my life, Jesus, today and always.