Do you ever wish you were someone else? The phrase I wish I was more like… floats through my thoughts. I pick at it. Hold it. Some days I clutch at the words, grasping to be someone I’m not.
I wish I could write like her. Or I looked like so-and-so. Or my house had an open floor plan like theirs. Or my kids were more compliant. So much time spent wishing. Wishing I was more. Wishing I was less. You fill in the blank. I do. All. the. time.
I’m not alone.
Over the last few days my students have colored on paper masks. One reason? High-schoolers still need the restoration only a crayon can bring. But their masks were also symbols. Symbols of the person they often try to hide.
I instructed them to color and draw images that represented parts of their lives they were afraid to show. In essence? Their masks became who they really are.
Because we try to hide who we are.
Because we’d rather be someone we’re not.
Because comparison is a bitter pill we all try to swallow.
But can the sun compare itself to the moon? A flower to a steady stream? Day to night? Spring to Fall? A bird to a fish? We can never be someone we’re not.
Why do we try? In this life the flowers of humanity often try to be streams. And chaos ensues. Can you imagine if the sun decided to be the moon? Ridiculous. Yet, at times, we all attempt to be someone else.
When really? We should be ourselves. Right?
These are words we hear, but they aren’t words we know deep—where peace dwells.
There’s this story. In the Bible. You may have heard it a time or two. A scrawny teenage kid named David defeats a giant of a man named Goliath. One sling shot, five stones, and Goliath loses his last battle.
There may be a part of the story you don’t know. A few lines that cut my heart quick and deep. Words that have sunk in and are swirling around. These are the words I want to grab with white-tight knuckles, so I can rip the mask off forever.
Before David went in to battle the giant, Saul dressed the tiny shepherd boy in the king’s tunic and armor. David was under the weight of Saul’s clothing—Saul’s armor. The young, wiser-than-me David says this: “I can’t walk in these…I’m not used to them.”
Then he took off Saul’s armor.
Wait. What? Why would David want to take off Saul’s protective armor? It seems reasonable to me if I were facing a giant, I would want the heaviest suit of armor I could find. That way, not a single spear could penetrate.
David knew better.
David refused to be someone else. He faced the giant as only he could—he was himself. And if he hadn’t chosen to shed Saul’s heavy armor? Goliath would’ve quickly killed the weighed-down-with-armor shepherd boy.
His unwavering faith in God and unswerving choice to be who God created him to be brought sweet victory to David.
He defeated the giant.
When we try to cover ourselves with the weight of comparison? When we attempt to fight our giants as someone else? When we attempt to be someone other than who we are created to be? We will fail. And the giants in our lives will win.
The only way I will ever beat the Goliaths and the bullies in my life is when I am truly who my Creator fashioned me to be. I’ve been shaped and molded for my battles throughout life. I lose that shape when I compare and strive to be someone else.
But it’s so hard.
I still wear the masks and armor I think the world wants to see. Because if you don’t accept the mask, well, you aren’t really rejecting—me. But when I show you who I really am? I open myself up to the possible devastation of rejection.
But when I show you who I really am?
I get the chance to fulfill my purpose. My God-sized dreams. And those dreams? They can only be realized when I am truly myself. I get the chance to lose the striving and the stress that comes from trying to fit my diamond-shaped peg into an earthly round hole.
We are all diamonds with sparkles and slants that catch the light just right. When we attempt to change those different shaped edges we lose the ability to reflect the brilliant Light, leaving us dull and lifeless.
I’m the only me that will ever be.
You’re the only you.