If you find yourself dealing with the pull to be something you're not, in order to gain the acceptance of someone else (perhaps even God), I hope you'll take a few minutes to consider what Paul had to say to some real people who had to live real lives--just like us:
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
"Who you are" ~ Notice that Paul said that it's really important that each one of us takes responsibility for finding out who we really are. How can we do this? By finding out who GOD says we are! Invest your time and energy into discovering who you really are based on what Scripture says. Read what the New Testament teaches about the Believer's Identity in Christ. We live out of our understanding of our identity, not necessarily out of the reality of our identity, so make sure you take the time and energy needed to find out who you are.
"The work that you have been given" ~ Commit yourself to the work God has given you to do with bold confidence. If you have embraced Christ in faith, then HE lives IN you to equip, enable, and empower you to do the task He has given you to do. You have everything you need today to do what God has called you to do today, so "Sink yourself into that!"
"Don't compare yourself with others" ~ Oh my, this gets the best of us, doesn't it? We are all so prone to comparing ourselves, our lives, our jobs, our homes, our cars, our kids, our marriages, our not-marriedness, our no-kids status, our bodies, our financial portfolios, our intelligence, our education level, and on and on... with others'. This inevitably leads to a lack of authenticity in our relationships, because out of comparison rises a sense of competition. When I set myself up as your competitor, I'm going to be guarded in how much of myself I offer in relationship (and vice versa). If I believe we're competitors, I'll either feel "less than" you or "greater than" you. This is NOT what God has called us to. If I choose to trust God with who He says I am and how much He loves me just as I am, this frees my heart to be who He says I am, live out of that reality, and in turn, love you just the way He made you.
"Take responsibility...do the creative best...with your own life" ~ Choose to take personal responsibility for whatever God has invited you to be a part of. Bring all of YOU to the table: Imperfections, liabilities, flaws as well as your creativity, gifts, energy, resources, etc. Have fun! Be intentional! Be YOU in what God has called you to do, remembering that He is in you, giving you everything you need to accomplish what He has given you to do.
In all of this, remember something very, very important: The journey is always more significant than the destination. Each step along the way is vital. Even when that step is called "failure", you are never called a failure by your Heavenly Father, but sometimes failure is a necessary part of the whole journey. It is never meant to be a stopping-forever point, though. How you view God, yourself, and your calling in the midst of failure will determine how long you hang out at that stop sign.
Know who you are; discover your purpose; give yourself fully to it; be responsible to do your best; and trust your very good, very loving Heavenly Father with every single bit of it, and then enjoy this never-dull-often-frightening-adventurous-hang-on-to-Jesus-for-dear-life-that-will-outlast-you Life!
My name is Shelley, and I get to write books, teach God's Word, host a Christian TV Show in the Atlanta area. I also get to be a part of Church 4 Chicks. In all honesty, none of that compares with the relationships I get to enjoy because of God's goodness and grace, a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and relationships with family and friends because of His love poured out to us and through us.