There have been a lot of times in my life where I wished I could be someone else.
There was the time I wanted to be SheRa.
Come on. You know she’s a badass.
There was the time I wanted to be a Friar.
And there was that phase of my life where I was DYING to be Puerto Rican. I would hang out on the west side of Buffalo walking down Massachusetts ave, just wishing for some of that Puerto Rican magic to fall on me and make me fabulous.
I would pull my hair up and leave down two long strands of hair on either side of my face, which I would then curl into spirals with my curling iron. I’d seen a lot of PR girls do that, and I wanted to look just like them!
Unfortunately, I only succeeded in looking exactly like a Hasidic Jew. Equally amazing, just not what I was goin for.
This was also before Dora the Explorer was on tv, so I didn’t know any Spanish. The only words I knew were “whore” and “come here.”
Kind of a problem.
At different times throughout my life, I have wanted to be this person or that person. To feel important and be somebody.
But you know what it really was? I wanted to belong.
We all want that, I think. We all have a strong desire to feel like we belong and to feel significant . It’s really only natural, because we are made for community. It’s ingrained in us.
But it’s really never cool when you try gain that sense of belonging or significance by trying to be someone other than the awesome person you already are.
Yes, we want to bloom and grow and be better. But who do you want to be better than? Is it the person you view as your “competition”, or is it the person you were yesterday?
There’s this great quote that I heard the other day. One of those quotes that stops you dead in your tracks.
“Wouldn’t it be a shame if you were living a wonderful life and didn’t even notice?”
Oh SNAP. Right in the gut.
What if we’re so busy looking at and wishing for what someone else has and what someone else is doing that we miss all the beauty right in front of us? What if we’re coveting someone else’s personality or talents or charism so hard that we miss the ones we actually possess and wind up neglecting them in the process?
When St Francis of Assisi had his conversion and left his party life behind, he used to sit in a little broken down church and stare at a crucifix. He would stare at Christ crucified and ask, “Who are You and who am I? Who are You and who am I?”
Francis had been hiding behind a mask for so long that he clearly didn’t know who he was anymore.
Over and over he would ask this question. It became a prayer, probably one of the most powerful prayers he ever prayed.
God saw that Francis was serious about shedding his mask and finding out the answers to those questions, and He answered Francis in a huge way. He revealed Who He was to Francis and through that, He also showed Francis who Francis really was. The young man would go on to become one of the most dynamic saints in the whole history of the Church.
What if he hadn’t had the guts to take off that mask, take time out and ask those questions? Man, the world would have missed out on one pretty amazing dude.
Francis knew who he was and he lived his life authentically. He had a heart and a spirituality that was unique and different. It was a breath of fresh air and it shook the Church and the world like a holy bomb.
See, the Body of Christ is a body. That body can’t be all heads or all shoulders, all knees or all toes. Can you imagine that? What a crazy body we would be if we were all alike and all the same part. We wouldn’t be able to do very much!
We can’t all be Francises. If we were all Francises or Clares or Teresas or John Pauls, we would certainly lack variety. We would be sadly one dimensional and not very authentic.
Like Downton Abbey’s Lord Grantham famously said:
“We all have different parts to play, and we must all be allowed to play them.â
That doesn’t mean I can’t be funny and smart, interesting and talented like those ladies are. But I can be my own flavor of those things when I’m being me.
I spent enough of my life trying to be someone else, looking like a copycat and failing miserably..and you know what I learned?
I’d rather be the full limited edition of me than a cheap knockoff of someone else.
It’s downright EXHAUSTING to try and be someone else and it never fills you up. It never satisfies. It only leaves you feeling emptier and longing for more. And truth is? It makes you look pretty dumb.
That kind of hustle steals your peace and distracts you from the beautiful life you are already living. The one that you sometimes don’t even notice.
You’re already worthy, because you belong to God and you are His child. You can rest assured that you will not be forgotten. You can trust that He has a plan for you.
Don’t try to be someone else. Be you. You are a unique person – don’t mess with that.
Make the most of who you already are, cultivate who you are in Christ …because God wants you to play a part and fulfill a role that no one else can do the way you can.