One of the thoughts consuming a lot of space in the three-ring circus of my brain lately is what it means to fully be ourselves. In Christ, what it means for me to be myself and you to be yourself, ALL THE TIME.
I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while. We are all created unique. There are no two people exactly alike. Even identical twins aren’t identical in EVERY respect, and they come from exactly the same sperm and the same egg. There is something unique and different about every single human being.
According to WorldOMeters, Real Time World Statistics, there are now over 7 billion people currently living on the earth. According to the same website, it is estimated that 106 billion people total have lived on the earth in all of history. While 106 billion is not 100% accurate, let’s just say that anything over 7 billion is a really big number.
What I find fascinating is that over 7 billion times the Creator of the Universe, our Heavenly Father, the Infinite God, Love Himself, our Daddy, did not repeat a single human design. We are all unique. Why?
One of the infinite ways we are all unique is in our personalities. Last week a friend of mine posted an interesting twist on the Myers Briggs Personality Type Chart to my Facebook page. It’s based on the characters from The Lord of the Rings. For the record The Lord of the Rings is right up there with Steel Magnolias on my list of all-time favorite movies – all three of them. And the book itself is on my all-time top 10 reading list. Thank you J. R. R. Tolkein!
Just to cut to the chase, when I took the assessment I was an INTJ (Introvert, I(N)tuitive, Thinking, Judging) or you can just call me Elrond. What I realized though is that for many, many years I didn’t realize I was an introvert and tried to live as an extrovert. In fact, in many ways I viewed being an introvert as less important than being an extrovert. I mean aren’t extroverts the leaders? Aren’t they the ones who are constantly out there getting things done? In the context of Christianity, aren’t they the ones on the front lines serving God? Aren’t they moving and shaking the Kingdom? Don’t I want to be like one of them?
By living as a closet introvert (and a fraudulent extrovert, I might add), I robbed myself and others of the unique expression of Christ in me to the world. I was not fully living as myself. I was holding back something of myself that God intended to give to the world when He created me. In the unique ways I am created by God, and in the unique ways you are created by God, we bring things to the world that absolutely no one else can.
The world needs us to be who God created us to be; to live from our union with Christ and allow Love to express Himself to the world in a way that absolutely no one else who has ever lived, or will live, can. To bring it down to a more personal level, I need all those people the Father brings into my life to be fully themselves and to be unique image bearers of Love to me. I need the Gandalf’s, the Aragorn’s, the Frodo’s and the other Elrond’s in my life to be themselves.
Our brief journey on this earth is too hard to walk alone. J. R. R. Tolkien had C. S. Lewis to encourage him in the monumental effort to write The Lord of the Rings. He almost gave up many times, but Lewis wouldn’t let him. (It took over twelve years to write. Portions of it were written during WWII – one of the darkest periods of modern history.)
And Lewis was led to Christ by Tolkien. Can you imagine a world without either of these men living in the fullness of who they were? The echoes of their lives reverberate throughout eternity, but they didn’t do it alone.
And neither can we. Please, be yourself. Don’t conform to the expectations of others. Give up your own expectations of what life should be like. I need you, we need you, the world needs you, exactly how God created you, right where you are in your journey. You are no accident and your circumstances are not coincidence. As an image bearer of God, you have something of Him, of great value and worth, to express to the world that no one else can.
Matthew 5: 14-16 (NASB) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”