Last week a dear lady invited me to lunch so she could introduce me to a few of my soon-to-be neighbors. She assured me I would have lots in common with these ladies, but as she described their backgrounds and lives, I began to feel intimidated. Then I remembered three words I once heard on an episode of American Idol.
Groups of finalists had been sent to separate rooms where they waited to learn if they would move forward in the competition or go home. The tension was obvious through the T.V. screen. Many contestants fought back tears; most sat in silence. In one room, a few girls seemed more relaxed, occasionally laughing out loud. Their behavior annoyed another girl on the other side of the room, who finally burst out in anger. After hot words flew between the two sides of the room, a girl on the front row intervened and settled things down.
“Look, we’re all nervous”, she pointed out. “None of us wants to go home. But people handle it in different ways.” Turning her head in one direction, she said, “You do you.” Turning the other way, she said, “And you do you.”
Sometimes I catch myself acting or talking in a different way to fit in with those around me. But that’s really an insult to my Creator, Who made each one of us with our own unique personality, abilities, spiritual gifts, and experiences. In those moments when I feel intimidated, I need to remind myself to be myself. After all, you’re the only one who can do you, and I’m the only one who can do me.
Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.