Thursday, June 16, 2011

Divine Idea

"Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Day 11 Assignment by Fabian Kruse

Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But, when we imitate someone, what kind of value does the imitation have? Sure, there are times when imitation is appropriate, as in the picture above, a child learns about himself and society by imitating others.

But, there comes a time when we must put away childish things, as Paul said. 

Think of a priceless work of art - Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt... whether or not you appreciate their particular style of art, you know that an original painting by any of them is worth an amazing sum of money. What about an imitation? Not so much.

No matter how well the painter imitates the original, it will never have the same value.

That's the way life is. If we copy someone else just because they are a success, and bring nothing of ourselves into the mix, then we are doomed to failure. 

I'm not saying we can't learn from others. Certainly there are certain traits and habits we can learn from someone else and adopt as a part of our lifestyle. But we still need to be authentic.

I used to think of myself as a chameleon when I was younger. Not really knowing who I was yet, and not feeling very comfortable in unusual surroundings, I developed the habit of blending in. I was able to imitate others wherever I went and "fit in" because I appeared to be just like they were.

In fact, I had a pretty eclectic wardrobe to match my multiple personalities. I had the straight business suits for when I was at work (I worked for an investment banking firm). I had the slinky disco outfits for those club nights in the City. I had jeans, cowboy boots and cowboy hats for line dancing in the bars on the Peninsula. I had funky skirts, tank tops and sandals for bumming around the City and in the Park. I even had spandex and leathers for those heavy metal concerts. 

Now that I've totally dated myself...

The point is, I didn't know who I was, so I spent my time imitating the people I was around. It was kind of fun and exciting, for a while. But eventually I had to go home to my apartment where I still didn't know who I was, where I was going, or what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I went through a lot of changes until I finally realized that blending in with the crowd, while it had its advantages, wasn't going to get me anywhere. 

I think it was a worthwhile experience for me to sample these different lifestyles. It let me know what did and didn't feel comfortable. I finally realized that what I changed into when I got back to my apartment and there was no one but me and Sir Lawrence Olivier (my cat) was who I really was.

As trite and cliche as it is, everyone is unique. There is no one else quite like you on the planet. There is no one else quite like me. When you think about the diversity that exists throughout nature and throughout humanity, it's actually pretty amazing. There are no two people alike. Oh, we may have our similarities, but we also have our differences. 

The trick is in not just accepting but celebrating those differences -- not only in others but also in ourselves. The world would be a pretty boring place if everyone in it was just like me. 

Each of us has our own unique gifts and talents and purpose in the world. God created me to be specifically me. If you think about how different children in the same family are from each other, it becomes obvious that nature vs. nurture isn't all that's at stake. We were divinely engineered with subtle differences that make us perfectly suited for our calling. 

The reason imitation is suicide, is that if I imitate someone else instead of allowing my uniqueness to shine through, then I literally kill off that divine idea, the purpose for which I was destined. I can't fulfill my calling if I'm trying to be someone else. 

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." 
~ Jeremiah 29:11

When I'm not myself, I don't experience peace. How can I? I'm either worried about being discovered as a fraud, or at odds with who I truly am which causes friction in the very depths of my soul.

Jeremiah tells me that God has plans for me; to give me an expected end. As amazing as God is, I don't want to miss out on that expectation!

#Trust30 Day Eleven

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