Did you know that Jesus disappointed a lot of people such as his family, community, religious leaders, and even his own disciples to fulfill His calling? He wasn’t the political king that the people were looking for or the Messiah that the religious leaders were waiting. He wasn’t even the politically-correct Jesus that a lot of Christians wish He were. But to be true to the calling before Him, Jesus had to be true to Himself.
In our age of social media it can be hard to distinguish our true selves from all the noise around us. But how do we as followers of Jesus stay true to ourselves and the calling that Christ has given us?
Here are 5 tips:
1. Live for God’s approval instead of the approval of other people
Social media reinforced the importance of other’s approval, as not only people can like our pictures, but other people will see how many people had liked our image. It’s really easy to fall prey to other people’s approval and start becoming more like what other people want us to be to get more likes, rather than what God wants us to be.
A picture of you modestly dressed may not gain as many likes as a sensual picture, but it definitely would be pleasing to the Lord. And I am not even mentioning the self-respect and worth that comes from knowing that you are way more than what your body has to offer and that you don’t need other’s approval to know that God made you beautiful.
2. Evaluate the stories you tell yourself through the way God sees you
We sometimes get in the habit of telling ourselves the same stories over and over again. We may believe that having a healthy weight is not “hot” now, it’s all about being anorexic in the 21st century, and start telling ourselves that we are too fat. When in fact we may be perfectly healthy and with a good BMI.
Regardless of what the world tells us we should be, we should evaluate the stories we tell ourselves through the way God sees us. And cultivate healthy thinking habits that are not infiltrated by the lies that the world is screaming at us.
3. Let your unique self flourish without the pressure to be like someone else
God may call someone to be a full-time YouTuber, that doesn’t mean you should just quit college and pursue an online career. There is a big difference between what we really want to do, and what we get inspired to do because we see someone else doing it. The first one is the one that lasts, the second one is only temporary and not true to ourselves.
Or we may see something on Instagram and want to copy it or do the same. But the question we need to ask ourselves is whether that’s what God wants us to do or not.
4. Don’t waste your time on proving someone else wrong
Unless doing that thing was part of your plan all along, doing it to prove someone else wrong is just a waste of time. Why would their opinion matter anyway?
Sometimes people will even encourage you to prove them wrong as a form of manipulation to get you to do that thing. “I bet you can’t handle drinking even a glass of beer!” someone may say, to pressure you into drinking.
Don’t fall for it.
5. Seek God’s will & take responsibility for your life
We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We need to stop feeling like a victim and everything is happening to us. It’s true that we cannot control a lot of things that happen in our life. And it’s true that some things are hard and hurt us. But we do control our response. And we do control the way we view those things.
I have experienced a lot of disappointments and doors being shut in my face, but I chose to see them as God gently redirecting me or saying “not yet”. If we know that God has our best interest in mind, then even when the bad things happen we can trust that it will all work out ultimately for good.
And while we cannot control everything, it’s still wise to actively seek God’s will and pursue it. Only then will we know the calling that God has created us for and will be able to tune out all the noise in the world that can distract us from it.