What 30 Somethings Need to Hear: Just Be Yourself

iStock_comparing apples and oranges

Never before in the history of the world have we had as much instant access to what everyone else is doing. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media outlets have opened up a whole new world to us. With the instant access to other people’s social lives, there’s a huge temptation to compare ourselves unfavorably to everyone else.

To Compare Is a Snare

You can do it with virtually anything: the way you organize your home, the meals you cook, your exercise routine (or lack thereof!), what time you get up in the morning, what type of bread you eat (if you do…), how you educate your children (homeschool, private school, public school, co-ops, or something else…), etc. The options to compare are endless these days.

Here’s the problem: Endless comparison can leave you feeling discouraged, overwhelmed, and defeated. It can all take place in the first few seconds of the day, just by checking Facebook on your iPhone before you roll out of bed and your feet hit the floor in the morning.

I’ve written previously about my own struggles with comparison as an identical twin. I am very familiar with this temptation, and I think addressing this issue is something we 30 Somethings need to hear.

One of my readers wrote me the following:

I think the things most of my 30 something year old friends struggle with is STILL comparison! Learning to rest in who God made us to be and what capacity we have as individuals compared to what we THINK we should be doing with our lives and what OTHER people have a capacity for is a constant struggle!

The guys can feel discouraged that they aren’t farther along in their sanctification process – they thought they would have “arrived” at a higher place of holiness than they are – and the women seem to think everyone else is farming their own organic food while homeschooling their perfectly obedient child… while they are just dishing up Kraft mac & cheese…

I agree that comparison is a strong temptation in your 30s. The good news is that there’s hope for all of us!

Learn From Others, But Be Yourself

It’s one thing to hear what someone else is doing and take helpful advice to serve our families, to tweak it and make it our own. It’s another thing to look so much at what others are doing that you forget what God has called you, specifically, to do.

The truth is that there is no other individual on planet earth that is exactly like you. And God has a unique calling for you.

I love the way the greeting is made at the church we attend currently. Every week they say, “You can be yourself here; you can be a sinner here, because, what of it, Christ died for sinners.” What 30 Somethings need to hear is the same thing Peter needed to hear when he was comparing himself with the Apostle John: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me!” (John 21:21-22).

Follow Jesus. It makes life so much more simple. He has a different calling for you than he does for your brother, your neighbor, your best friend. What’s important is that you stop unfavorably comparing yourself to others. Be yourself. Be who God has called you to be, and follow Jesus. That will make our 30 Something lives so much more enjoyable and God-honoring, and in-the-end, it will serve everyone better than trying to be someone else.

You can read the other posts in this 30 Something Series by clicking here.

Seek to Bless, Not To Impress

blessing

This kind of thinking can set you free!  Free from the snare of the fear of man.   Free from the paralyzing effects of ceaseless introspection.  Free from the sinful craving for others’ approval.  Free to enter the world as a servant of Christ and a steward of the mystery of the gospel.

God has given His Spirit to every believer.  If you are in Christ, God’s Spirit is within you.  Yes, you!  He has specifically and uniquely gifted you so that others could benefit from the favor of God that rests upon you (1 Cor. 12:7).

This means that you can approach each day with joyful confidence and cheerful anticipation that, despite your sins and imperfections, God wants to use you to bless and serve others in this fallen world.

Yes, you are broken.  Yes, you are flawed.  Yes, you have sinned.  But,  in Christ, God has made you whole!  He has declared you righteous!  He has redeemed you from your sins!  And he has entrusted you with the good news of his redeeming grace!  It’s no longer about us.  It’s all about Jesus (2 Cor. 4:7).

When we think like this, we’re set free from the need to try to impress anyone.  We can freely admit that we don’t have it all together and that we’re not all that spectacular.  Our lives are pretty ordinary and can be quite messy at times.  We can be real, and we don’t have to worry about what others think because we don’t need to gain anything from them:

  • In Christ, we’ve been adopted into God’s family, so we already have all the acceptance we will ever need
  • In Christ, we have been approved by God, so we have all of the affirmation we will ever need.
  • In Christ, we’ve been justified in the sight of God, so we have nothing to prove.

So, If you feel weak, just admit it.  You are weak, but Christ is your strength.  If you feel guilty, just agree with your conscience about the guilt of your sin, and then remind your conscious that your guilt has been paid for in Christ.

God is the only One whose opinion really matters in the end.  He knows our frame.  He remembers that we are from dust (Psalm 103:14).  And he has sent his Son to be our substitute.  To all in Christ, God does not count our sins against us (Rom. 4:7-8).  Weak and sinful as you are, God desires to use you to bless others.

Our attitude can be the same as the Apostle Paul’s:  Free from the need for human approval and affirmation.  Free from constant, critical self-evaluation.  Free to trust the verdict of God.  Free to live in the good of the gospel of grace.  Free to be a servant and a steward.  Free to bless and not to impress.

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Cor. 4:1-5).