How Can You Be Yourself If You’re Trying To Change Your Stripes?
Be yourself. They’re two words that represented an impossibility for me when I was a teenager. In my pursuits to find the self that defined me, I wanted to be shorter, smarter, more liked, more popular, prettier, happier.
I wanted my name to be Kim, or Leslie, or Susie. I needed my teeth to me straight and my hair curly. Changing my stripes would have been ideal if I’d known how to make that happen.
My mother’s advice to be myself simply didn’t work. And if I had on too much make-up she’d say, “You don’t look like yourself.”
Looking like everyone else in my peer group didn’t work. I wanted to stand out. Be distinctive. Be noticed.
Good thing I wasn’t a zebra.
Be Yourself, But Watch Yourself
On the other side of my mother’s encouragement to be myself was my dad’s stronger suggestion. His advice was a warning.
To watch myself meant I’d better make myself a bit less distinctive. His was definitely an admonition, not a suggestion.
I questioned my dad’s reasoning a lot in my growing up years, and I required reasons, asking (probably way too often) why. . .?
There’s a reminder in the Bible of the Heavenly Father’s reasoning: “For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12
I also questioned my Heavenly Father.
When I began to cooperate with the fact that the Heavenly Father loves me, I was able to relax with the summons to be myself.
Maybe the Bible police will get me for pulling this from Scripture, but I take God’s word literally, and I believe it’s for all his children. Therefore, this verse applies: “Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for you life.” Isaiah 43:4
As A Child Of God, You Are Unique In God’s Eyes, And To Be Yourself Is Quite Sufficient
Why do zebras have stripes anyway? Well, scientists aren’t entirely sure. Their stripes perhaps serve to dazzle and confuse predators and biting insects, or to control the animal’s body heat. Because each individual zebra’s stripes are unique, their stripes may also have a social purpose, helping to recognise one other.
Our uniqueness is evident in the realization of God’s love for us–that he singled us out to love us.
Christ gave everything for you, for me, his child. His life–in return for us; his all in exchange for us. That’s a pretty good reason to comply.