For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)
I couldn’t understand it. I had mimicked her stance to perfection. Yet, when I swung at the golf ball, it sailed far to the right or far to the left. Rarely did the ball manage to land in the fairway, unlike my mother-in-law who hit a straight drive every time. Why wouldn’t the ball behave for me as it did for her?
After a season of frustration and being ready to give up the game entirely, I finally realized that Kathryn’s swing worked well for a petite golfer. However, I stood a half-foot taller. No wonder her swing failed me. I spent the next season studying the game, trying to develop a swing that matched my build, age, and club length. With diligence and adaptability, I began to see more and more drives land in the fairway.
One woman’s successful approach to golf was a disaster for another.
I also found this to be an important truth in my thirteen years of writing. I wanted to be the next great novelist so I began modeling my favorite authors. There is much to learn in studying the techniques of legends. However, when I tried to mimic their approach to the craft, my writing fell flat. I wasn’t genuine. I was a parrot without a limb to roost upon.
More than professionally, this truth applied to my personal life. As a wife, I read a ton of books on how to be a good wife. I forced myself into habits that were alien to my personality in order to prove to my husband what a wonderful woman he married.
However, I discovered that I lost myself somewhere in the process. This wonderful woman I wanted to be was not the woman my husband married. He only wanted me to be myself. So what if I was undomesticated. If he’d wanted a housekeeper, he’d have married one. He loved me for who I was. I didn’t need to be anyone different.
Most importantly, I found this to be true in my spiritual life as well. All too often, we put heroic Christians on a pedestal and think we have to emulate them. We feel we’re failures if we don’t execute our faith walk in precisely the same way as Beth Moore or Kay Arthur. Yet, these women would be the first to admonish us not to emulate them, but rather apply the truths they help us discover in our own personal walk with the Lord. He does not want carbon copy Christians. He wants our unique hearts. He will take the composite of ourselves and perfect us from the blueprint of our individuality.
Nature itself attests to the value God places on distinctiveness for no two snowflakes are the same. Each insect, though species number in the thousands, has its own DNA.
There is great freedom in this knowledge. Be yourself.