Be somebody else? No, thanks.
The other day I was sitting in the park, taking in the beauty of nature and watching people pass by. Couples holding hands, children running around, cyclists swooshing by, others sitting quietly and reading. As I watched I wondered who these people were, where they come from, what their stories were and how their future looked like. Then I paused for a minute and thought to myself: "Thank you Lord, for making me who I am!" Now, does that sound cocky or self-absorbed? Maybe a little. But it just means that I am grateful for the opportunity to create my own story called life. Maybe not flawless or perfect but at least unique. We have all had moments when we slipped into "self-pity"-mode with thoughts of "Why is everybody else's life better than mine and why does this person have it so easy and I have to struggle?" Thinking back, did you derive any true value from those thoughts? Probably not.
First of all, being envious and moping around won't change the life you have - on the contrary, the time you waste thinking about how good everybody else has it, is precious time you could invest in bettering yourself.
Secondly, do you really know what the next person is going through? Social media has intensified the false idea of everybody else living a fabulous life. Still, you would be surprised to know how many of those people with their wide smiles actually cry themselves to sleep behind closed doors. If life was just about the things you see on TV or on Social Media, there wouldn't be celebrities struggling with self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse or even suicide. That is why you shouldn't get carried away by what you see around you but be appreciative of whom God has made you. Think about this, if Barack Obama would have put his focus on wanting to be somebody else instead of harnessing his gifts and putting them to good use, he would have never become the first black president of the United States of America. At this point he has made history and nobody can take that away from him. He didn't try to conceal his heritage or try to be somebody he was not. He allowed his intellect, words and actions take center-stage. The same way your story is specifically catered to you. It is shaped around you. Your personality, the things you can handle, the things you cannot and who you are destined to be. Sometimes it can be tough to see the higher purpose of being yourself but there truly is a blessing in that.
1 Peter 3:3-4 (NKJV) says: "3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." While this might be one of the most controversial verses in the bible, based on various interpretations, it is one of my favorite. I love it because it sums up everything that should matter to us in such a beautiful way. In this present age appearances seem to be the most important thing: your status, your looks, your circle of friends etc. The value put on these things can easily lead to losing track of what the true aim in life should be. Our time here on earth has a time stamp on it, so how we use our time, while we are still among the living, matters. Which legacy will you leave behind? Will people talk about who you were as a person or just remember that your outfit was always "on point"? Now, don't misunderstand this. Using your time wisely includes taking care of yourself, which consists of making sure you not only feel good but also look good. However, it shouldn't consume you and be the only focus. Therefore, even if you might be going through the fire and it may seem as though others are looking down or even mocking you - remember where your focus should be. Are these people around you positively contributing anything to your journey? No? Then don't focus on them but on yourself. Don't waste your time looking at others while you are in the process of crafting your greatest masterpiece yet: the story of YOUR life.