By Simone Gregor –
‘To be nobody-but-yourself ̶ in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else ̶ means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.’ – E.E. Cummings
E.E. Cummings spoke truth when he said that being ‘nobody-but-yourself‘ can sometimes be a tough thing to be. The world loudly declares that we should aspire to be all kinds of things, but like a fickle friend, doesn’t necessarily have our best interests at heart. Comparison is a sharp-edged sword wielded by the world to test if we measure up to those around us. Failure to measure up gives rise to doubt, which drives us in search of new ways to attain the illusive ideals prescribed by those around us.
Glossy magazines lining the checkout aisle urge us on to run the race of more successful, more beautiful, more desirable. Five-steps is all it takes to attain eternal bliss. Or not? Cover-girls get old, carbs may or may not ruin your life and last year’s new black might not always be aurora red. Anchoring our identity in these shifting goals set by the world might exhaust us – we might never achieve what we hope to achieve.
But how then, in a world with ever-shifting ideals, norms and trends, do we establish our identity? Establishing your identity in Christ may sound counter-intuitive, [Colossians 3:3] but in Him, we’re made perfect, and because Jesus has died for us on the cross, absolving us of our sin, we aren’t found wanting in God’s eyes. [Hebrews 10:14] Through His sacrifice, our deficiencies were overcome by the powerful perfection of Jesus, freeing us of the insurmountable burden of overcoming them in our own strength. There’s an all-sufficiency to this unassailable identity that causes it to upstage any form of social construct familiar to the world – in Him, we are enough. Not merely sufficient, more than – abundantly – enough. In Him, we’re exempted from the painful process of being weighed and found wanting. [Daniel 5:27] We get to cast off the shackles of what the world prescribes as success, and are liberated from the unrealistic expectations and lies that so often cause us to feel like a failure.
Contrary to the misconception that God isn’t concerned with each person’s uniqueness, He is, in fact, deeply concerned with you being ‘nobody-but-yourself‘. The Creator knows and loves His creation intimately. [Psalm 139:13-16] In finding your identity in Christ, you find the truest version of yourself – untainted and unhindered by the crippling expectations of the world. The beautiful irony is that establishing our identity in Christ means to become an imitator of Him, with absolutely no risk of ruining who you were made to be. [Ephesians 5: 1 -2]
So in fighting the daily battle to be ‘nobody-but-yourself‘, take courage in the holy Truth that your identity is in His, and that He fights for you. Because He is victorious, the world’s currencies of measurement of worth and comparison are made redundant, and replaced by the unshakeable knowledge of who you are in Him. ‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’. [Romans 8:37] Know that He is for you: the truest version of you there ever will or could be.
Picture by Jess Otter