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Being just me

From the May 19, 1997 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Did you know that each kind of bird has its own song? A robin sings a robin song, a cardinal sings a cardinal song, and a bluebird sings a bluebird song. Each song is different. If you know the different songs, you don't have to see the bird to know what kind of bird it is. You can tell just by hearing his song. There is a "trick" bird, though—the mockingbird. This bird learns many different sounds and birdsongs and combines them all!

You are made to have your own "song." By that I mean there's just one you. No one else, not even a twin or a very close brother or sister, could ever be you. You were made by God to be special—to have special talents and to love in your own special way. No one can ever take your place. No one can be you, and you can never be anyone else. God needs you to be your own special self! And He gives you all you need to do that perfectly well.

Sometimes we get tricked into thinking we're not as special as someone else or that being ourselves is not good enough. We might even start acting like that tricky mockingbird, copying other kids who we might mistakenly think are better than we are. We might try talking, dressing, or acting like them. But no matter how we try, we can never be them and they can never be us. In fact, if we could change places with them, we wouldn't be happy at all because we're made to be only us.

What if you're not happy with who you are? The only way this could happen is by not knowing who you really are! To get and stay happy with yourself you must know yourself. How? By asking God to tell you who you are. God knows you better than anyone else does, better than your mom or dad, your best friend, or even yourself! God knows everything about who you really are because He made you. You are His child.

Jesus heard an important message from God. It was this: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). Jesus taught us that we are all the sons and daughters of God. So, God is just as pleased and happy with us! He loves us! And He's satisfied with the way He made us in His image.

That's nice to know, isn't it? God is satisfied with us, so we should be satisfied with ourselves, too. Satisfied now. Not when we get older, taller, wiser, or faster. Not just when we win an Olympic gold medal or get straight A' in school.

I have a sister who's only one and a half years older than I am. When we were younger I thought she was a queen! She could always do more than I could, better than I could, sooner than I could. She was funnier than I was, and it seemed as if everyone, including me, liked her more.

I often tried to copy her, but that didn't make me any happier or make others like me any better. Looking back, I see copying her really just kept me from finding my own special talents and using them. I finally had to start getting to know "me." I had to listen to God to find out what He wanted me to do and say and be. As I listened and obeyed, I discovered some special talents I didn't even know I had. And what I found was fun and satisfying!

I saw that I was actually pretty different from my sister and that it was OK. We weren't better or worse than each other, just different. Kind of like two pieces in a puzzle, each very different but each needed to make the whole picture.

We need to go straight to God and follow what He tells us. Jesus never copied other people just to be like them. When he was about twelve years old, he went to the synagogue and listened to and questioned the scholars and lawyers. For him, learning didn't come from copying other boys or even the scholars and lawyers but from listening directly to God and obeying Him. By doing this so carefully and completely, he was also able to heal. He taught the people about God, and we are still learning from Jesus' example today. He did all that by being the "self" he got from God.

As we learn to listen to and obey God, we'll find out more and more about our "specialness." We'll get better and better at what we're supposed to be doing, what we're made to do—express God, good. And we'll be so happy and satisfied being our real selves and doing good things.

By following faithfully what God tells us to do, we will shine brightly and help others see that they can do the same. What a fun variety we'll see! What "songs" we'll all have to share, whether we share them as musicians, writers, mountain climbers, runners, cheerleaders, basketball players, mechanics, or computer geniuses. We'll just be what God would have us be—and we'll just love being it.

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