When I was a child, my mama used to tell me that I needed to be who I was. She made a point to tell me all the time that I did not have to change myself to be accepted or approved by others. If I was happy and comfortable with the type of person I was, then I needed to stay that type of person.
Then, I came upon the above scripture. And as I got older, I began to understand that scripture in the biblical sense it was meant; and also, I was able to apply it to the sense that my mama meant it as well. And, I think that I’ve maintained the core person all around that I was meant to be…although I make necessary changes that can make me a BETTER person in the end.
For years, I’ve watched friends “redefine” themselves to match the people who surrounded them. I’ve watched women who’ve changed their whole demeanors for the guys who they were with–guys who didn’t appreciate or acknowledge the change one way or the other–only to end up not liking themselves anymore, and not completely sure how they got to be where they’d ended up in the end.
I’ve studied the scriptre not all that much, but probably enough to understand that as a Christian, if you know you are on the right road to God, then you can’t let the negative opinions of others deter you. You cannot let people try to persuade you that in order to do, or be, better than you are, you’ve got to do something you are uncomfortable doing, or do something that changes you from being who you are.
There’s another verse4 that says that we are IN this world, but not OF this world. What that means, as a Christian, is that God PUT us HERE, but we have to remember that we’re not destined to STAY here, and that which is within us that is “good, acceptable, and perfect” is going to call us OUT from here; but, we’ve got to be vigilant in keeping all that good within us. We’ve got be be vigilant in letting all that good shine through us and we cannot let anyone, for any reason, convince us that all that “good and acceptable and perfect” is NOT the way to go. Don’t conform yourself to fit others.
This also translates into our worldly-selves: We have to first accept ourselves for who we are and then continue doing so when others would have us to change who we are just so THEY will accept us, too. Don’t change your thoughts, ideas, ideals, and beliefs or yourself to fit someone else’s thoughts, ideas, ideals, and beliefs or self, if you’re not comfortable doing so.
Think of it like a pair of jeans: If you can’t comfortably breath after buttoning the button, and zipping the zipper, they don’t fit and you can’t wear them. Take them off!