You be you — a popular phrase repeated often in recent years and the title and focus of several songs and books — celebrates the individual and encourages children and adults to push back against pressure to follow the crowd.
Obviously the phrase and the concept can go in a lot of directions — even controversial or difficult ones — and travel far down any roads chosen.
For our conversation here I’m interested in thinking about how often we spend time and energy either attempting to emulate someone else or pushing that person to be like us when our total focus should be on becoming more like Jesus and helping others do the same.
Little kids mimic older kids and adults in their lives as their minds soak up everything around them. They are sponges during those toddler and preschool years.
The adolescent and teen years become a war within ourselves as we desperately want to be loved and accepted.
Everything from clothing, hair styles and slang to determining whether we hold to the standards and values we were taught or walk away from them becomes a choice based on gaining someone else’s approval.
While many families find a way to help their children navigate and survive these years with confidence and their value system still intact, others have varying degrees of success.
For the young adult who walks out into the world still unsure of who he or she is and to whom he or she ultimately belongs, more struggles will come.
The good news is we all can find our way to victory through life in Jesus Christ no matter the path we took. He wants to wipe all our slates clean with His own blood. He gave His life to do so.
At some point after we have learned about Jesus, He will draw us to Himself and we will choose to follow or ignore.
Finding ourselves at the feet of Jesus happens when we grasp the fact we are evil left unto ourselves (Rom. 3:23) but also understanding God made a way of escape from the evil (John 3:16) and that Way (John 14:6) is our only option.
From there we must admit our nothingness and evil nature (Luke 13:3), look to Jesus and ask Him to pull us from the evil of this world and into the security and clarity of life in Him (Rom. 10:13).
The heart knows when the connection with Jesus is made and the next steps fall into place easily — believe and share with others what you experienced (Rom. 10:9–10).
In the early days of our new life in Christ we become toddlers again. We are focused on learning all we can about Jesus and want to be like Him.
Then come the spiritual adolescent and teen years complete with their internal battles and pressures of life bearing down. Before long we are back to focusing on others around us with our eyes off Jesus — but we don’t have to stay there.
We can encourage each other along the journey and keep moving toward a “you be Jesus” concept rather than “you be me” or even “you be you.”