Jeremiah 29: 11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Ephesians 2: 10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Lately, I have found myself interested in my history, where did my family come from, who are we. I often like to say that I have fallen down the genealogy proverbial ‘rabbit hole.’ It has been fascinating to find out where parts of my family originated, but I have been wondering whether it really makes a difference. Yes, their experiences shaped our family, in some ways, but the reality is that I am here today as someone who recognized that I am a product of my past, but also uniquely created in this time and place. I have been wondering about who we have been created to be in the world?
In many ways we live in a world of conformity. We live in a world that seems to prefer consistency. Our education system is set up to teach in one way and if one learns in a different style, they may find that they struggle. We are constantly inundated with messages about what we need in our lives to be happy. We are encouraged to fit in and not stand out. We are challenged to be a part of the group, because that is where life is easiest. Yet for many of us that is not who we are, we don’t always fit in, and sometimes, we don’t want to fit in.
The scriptures from Jeremiah and Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, speak to the uniqueness of who we each were created to be. The verse from Jeremiah speaks to the understanding that each of us was created as individuals to hope, to prosper, to live full lives each day. It speaks to the knowledge that we were created as we are to be who we are. Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus reinforces this understanding as it not only recognizes the uniqueness of each person, but it also challenges each of us to see the incredible potential that we have as those unique individuals.
This idea has not always been an easy one for me. I have often found myself feeling as if I don’t belong. There have been many times when I have felt that I don’t fit in and so I do my best to try to fit in. The challenge them becomes that I end up hiding who I truly am, so that I fit in with what the crowd, with what society says I should be, what I should do. We end up hiding that unique individual that were created to be in order to please others and in doing so we might just risk becoming all that we were truly created to be. It is a challenge in our world today. I came across a quote, there was no author listed, that speaks to the importance of being who we truly are, “Stop apologizing. You don’t have to be sorry for how you laugh, how you dress, how you make your hair, how you speak. You don’t have to be sorry for being yourself. Do it fearlessly. It’s time to accept, this is you, and you gotta spend the rest of your life with you. So start loving your sarcasm, your awkwardness, your weirdness, your unique sense of humour, your everything. It will make your life so much easier to simply be yourself.” To be oneself, to be who God created each of us to be, that is what I believe God wants from each and every one of us. God didn’t create us to all be the same. God created us to be unique individuals, with unique personalities, with unique and special gifts, that we can bring to our families, to our communities, and to the world. I have often wondered what it would be like if we were all the same, and I have come to realize that that would be one boring world to live in. So embrace the unique person that God created, celebrate the unique person that God created and I believe that we will then be able to accept the differences, the uniqueness, that is found in others.
God of infinite diversity, help us to accept ourselves, as we were created, and to learn to live into the full potential of who we are in that uniqueness. Give us the courage to be who we were created to be. Give us the wisdom to know that as we accept ourselves it helps us to accept the uniqueness that is found in others. We know that you know who we truly are and that you have created us in such beautiful, wondrous, diversity. Give us the strength to live into that diversity with all that we have, with all that we are, and with all that we hope to be. We ask this in the name of God Incarnate, Jesus. Amen.