Today is a big day in our home. It is our son’s 18th birthday and, of course, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is playing nationwide. The Skywalker saga continues to impact kids and adults alike. I remember how my sister and I would turn the backseat of our car into the Millennium Falcon, each screw and hook of the interior becoming a part of our ship. We’d point our fingers against the back windshield, blasting the red tail lights of the Imperial Fleet to the right while encouraging the white headlights to join in our fight (all thanks to no seatbelt laws)! I loved being part of the rebellion and all the adventures we conjured up in our minds!
It’s good to pretend. Using your imagination encourages and cultivates development and maturity. It helps us grow. It builds capacity and stimulates innovation.
Then something happens. It’s subtle…it creeps in and we don’t even realize it. We continue to pretend but this time it’s detrimental to our development, stunts our growth and decreases our capacity. In many cases, it deeply wounds our soul.
Our acting no longer happens in the back of the car in a galaxy far, far away. This time, in the here and now, we hide…perhaps even deny who we really are. We imagine living someone else’s life, trying to be someone or something we were never created to be. Many call it living as your “false self” rather than your true, authentic, unique self. But regardless of what it is called, Abraham Lincoln summed it up best:
“Every man is born an original but sadly, most men die copies.”
We are all marked with the thumbprint of God and imprinted with spiritual gifts, passions, and dreams that are unlike anyone else’s. We are uniquely and wonderfully made…born an original! Yet something happens in us and we start to live according to someone else’s agenda…someone else’s expectations. It comes from the culture, from family, from friends, sometimes even the church. Sometimes it’s discrete, other times it’s deafening. But it creeps into our thoughts and tempts us to abandon our dreams and then feel guilty for ever dreaming in the first place!
As a result we constantly compare ourselves to others. “If I could just write like she writes…if I could parent like they parent, if my family could look like their family, if my business could be more like their business, if our church could be like that church, if I could have what they have, be who they are…”
Before we know it, we start to make decisions that violate the very image of God in us in order to be someone or something we were not meant to be. We are born originals and die copies.
My dream for this community is to believe, live and lead radically different. Many have asked me what I mean by “radically different.” Here’s the best way I can describe it. You were born an original. I want you to live and lead as an original and not according to someone else’s agenda! When we come to the end of our days here on earth, I want us to be able to say we did it God’s way!
My radically different will not be the same as yours. We each have a particular calling and live with a unique set of circumstances and limitations. But we are all able to live our life under the freedom of God’s grace.
Sometimes God keeps us in the same context and other times reveals new dreams. But where ever God calls and whatever He has planned, His desire is that we live as we were born…An Original!
* Who or what are you tempted to be because you’ve fallen into the comparison trap or it is someone else’s agenda or idea for your life?
* How would you define your radically different?