What do you call someone who wants to be “exactly” like someone else? Answer: A poser or copycat! We all know what a copycat is, but what is a poser? The Urban Dictionary states: 1. one who pretends to be someone they are not, 2. one who tries to fit in but with exaggeration.
Have you ever wished that you could switch places with someone else? You just want to look, dress, and act just like a favorite celebrity; someone you think has it all together. Our teens can be caught up in this kind of thinking. Did you know that approximately 1 percent of adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa, a dangerous condition in which they can literally starve themselves to death? Another 2 to 3 percent of young women develop bulimia nervosa, a destructive pattern of excessive overeating followed by vomiting or other "purging" behaviors to control their weight. Teenage girls are starving themselves. Why?Because many want to look like their favorite celebrities or models. These eating disorders also occur in older men and women, but much less frequently.
How many of us look at someone else and think the grass must be greener on the other side? We desire, daydream and may even lust to be like someone else who has money, popularity, friends, and drive those fancy cars. “If only I could switch with them”, we say to ourselves, “my life would be so much happier”. We often forget Hebrews 13:5, which reads, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (NIV).
Martha Washington once wrote, “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” Pearl S. Buck wrote, “Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” In other words, they have a lack of contentment.
Recently, a friend of mine noticed this phrase, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”, by Oscar Wilde. Wow, what a profound statement! Why is this statement so profound? Because some want to get their identity from trying to be exactly like someone else. But it did not start with our society today. Where did this deceit start, this wanting to be like someone else, this discontent, instead of allowing God to do His miracle in us?
It started thousands of years ago in Heaven. Did you know that the deceiver of all mankind, Satan, wanted to be like someone else? God created Satan in splendor. His name was Lucifer, which meant “son of the morning star”. In the Urban Dictionary, Luciferis Latin and literally means “light bearing”. Ezekiel 28:13 states, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis, lazuli, turquoise, and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared”. He had great beauty!
All that glitters is not gold!
However, because of his beauty, Lucifer became haughty of heart.He wanted to be above His Creator. That’s right! He wanted to be “like” the Most High. Lucifer was not satisfied with how God made him, he wanted more. “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn. You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations. You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the uttermost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Because Satan did not succeed in overthrowing God, he decided to use deceit on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Creating a lack of contentment, and a wanting of more. Adam and Eve were happy, they had a great relationship with God and they lived in the most beautiful garden surrounded by many gentle animals. They were content with what God was doing in their lives. But Lucifer, now Satan, whose name now means adversary, accuser, was not happy with their happiness and contentment.
When asked, Eve said that they were not to eat of the tree or else they would die. But Satan said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5, NKJV). Notice the lie that Satan fed Eve. You are not good enough; eat of this tree, and you will be as smart and wise as the Most High God. Satan put the desire in her to want to be like God instead of how God created her.
We all can fall prey to Satan’s deception just like Eve did. We feel we are too fat, or too skinny, too short, or too tall, we have birthmarks we wished we did not have. We just want to be like someone else. We want to trade places. Some things we can change but some things we can’t. We must accept and work with what God has given us.
Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), former president of Harvard University, had a birthmark on his face that bothered him greatly. As a young man, he was told that surgeons could do nothing to remove it. Someone described that moment as “the dark hour of his soul.” Eliot’s mother gave him this helpful advice: “My son, it is not possible for you to get rid of that hardship. But it is possible for you, with God's help, to grow a mind and soul so big that people will forget to look at your face.” (Sermon Central)
We need to feel comfortable in our own shoes
Look what one girl came to realize after struggling with being too short. Elizabeth Elliot, in her book Let Me Be a Woman, records the story of Gladys Aylward, who was unable to accept the looks God had given her. Gladys explained that when she was young, she had two great sorrows. One, that while all her friends had beautiful golden hair, hers was black. The other, that while her friends were still growing, she had stopped. She was about four feet ten inches tall. But when at last she reached the country to which she felt God had called her to be a missionary, she stood on the wharf in Shanghai, China, and looked around at the people. “Every single one of them,” she said, “had black hair. And every one of them had stopped growing when I did.” She was able to look to God and exclaim, “Lord God, You know what You're doing!” Gladys accepted what God was doing in her life.
We can spend all our life wanting to be like someone else. Marilyn Monroe once said, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” God can use what we think is negative about ourselves to serve Him in an even greater way. We must accept and work with what God has given us. We may have freckles, red hair, be too short, too tall, too skinny or too fat, and have a speech problem or anything else we don't like about ourselves. Some things we can work on and change, while the others we can’t change; we can use them for God’s glory.
Instead of reflecting on wanting to be someone else, reflect on how our Creator made us; for instance, your fingerprints. How amazing it is to know that you are the only one who owns your very own finger prints. Not even identical twins have the same fingerprints. And did you know that your fingerprints stay the same from the time you were born until you die?
King David praised God for the wonder of his birth. In Psalm 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (KJV). David had been given spiritual understanding of God's marvelous work, and marveled at life in the mother’s womb. God’s marvelous work does not stop with our birth but continues on throughout our life.
We must have the desire to be better and to always be growing in the character of God, not in the character of someone else. We can learn from the positive examples of others, while not becoming depressed because we are not them. “Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself,” stated Bill Gates.
Don’t get caught up in the fake advertising of beauty and riches. Don’t get discouraged that you are not like them. Recognize the great work God is doing in your life. And remember this powerful phrase, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. Be happy with yourself and what God is doing in you. Margaret Mead said, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” God made it that way. God does not want carbon copies. He wants a unique you!