Why You Need to Be You
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
Over the past week, I have been a reading a book on leadership titled The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick. So far I am really enjoying the book and would recommend it, but that is a conversation for another time. In the book Lomenick talks about eight characteristics that are essential to leadership. The second characteristic he discusses is the need to be authentic as a leader. In the chapter on authenticity, Lomenick talks about the importance of being the person God created you to be and why it is critical when leading other people, despite the temptation to put on a front and act like the person you believe people will respect more. In reading these important truths, it made me ask the question, “might this be true whether or not we are leading anyone other than ourselves?” Does it matter if I am an authentic person?
In a world where being someone or something other than who you actually are is easy and readily practiced, it is an interesting question. The ability to be the person you think you should be, or you think others think you should be, can be done with a few key strokes on a computer. While it may be easy, there is still a problem. The real you is still the real you, whether anyone else knows it or not. What if, however, this is not a problem at all? What if being the real you were really the way to find the fulfillment you were hoping to get by creating or acting like a person you are not?
In a letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul writes, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV 1984) In these words recorded in the Bible, we find the answer to our question. We were not created the way we were on accident. In fact, we were created with a specific purpose and for a particular reason. I think it is important to let these words sink in. We are God’s workmanship. This means that God himself designed the person that we truly are. The creator of the entire universe, like a skilled craftsman, put thought into the way you were made and who you were made to be. On Monday night, I had the opportunity to discuss this same topic with the young people in El Canyon. In talking about it, I compared it to the difference between a real Dove chocolate and a rock wrapped up to look like a Dove chocolate. When we are being the person God created us to be, we are like the Dove chocolate; the wrapper and the inside match. However, when we try to be someone we are not, we are like the rock wrapped up in the Dove chocolate wrapper; who people perceive us to be based on our “wrapper” is nothing like who we actually are, and much like the rock this can make us hard and bitter.
The reason I believe being authentic is the real way to find what we are looking for in pretending to be someone else is found at the end of the verse- God created us the way he did because he has something specific for us to do. Have you ever thought about this? There is something out there for you to do that no one else can do quite as well because you were uniquely created to do it. When I think of that it blows my mind. In a world with billions of people, I matter because God made me with a purpose in mind. If I am honest, many times I don’t live as if that is true. I act like the person I believe I should be because the real me is not quite up the par. The irony is, however, I am the best version of myself when I am actually myself because I am living out my created purpose. I believe it is in finding these truths and learning to live in their light on a daily basis that we begin to find purpose and feel valuable. I also believe that it is here that we can change the world. What if everyone was living out their created purpose instead of trying to create a life they were never meant to live? Maybe the world would be different.
This week, my hope is to live a little more like this. I hope you will too.
– James Belt