Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
(Psalm 139:14 NLT)
Have you ever seen photographs of models or famous people in magazines looking beautiful or handsome and thought if only I could look like that? Then later your illusions are shattered when you discover that the photos have been doctored to make them appear more photogenic. The image we have been looking at, and maybe desiring to be like, is nothing but an illusion. Certainly, they looked beautiful or handsome, but it wasn’t really them at all. An image has been created to help sell a product, promote a film, or simply put the person in a better light.
When we look at other people, it’s tempting to think that they are somehow better than we are. Someone always looks better than we do; there is always someone who is more successful in their career, who seems more talented or gifted than we are. We come across those who seemingly have perfect marriages, who appear to be excellent parents, and whose children are well behaved geniuses. Looking at other people in this way can be quite discouraging and depressing as it deflates our ego.
I don’t think that’s how God wants us to be – he doesn’t want us to look enviously at how he has made other people, rather he wants us to look at how he has made us with our own unique gifts. After telling us that we are each ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14 NIV), the Psalmist describes how we were known by
God before we were born, that he formed us in the womb and has mapped out all the days of our life (vv.15-16). He concludes by saying, ‘How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!’ (Psalm 139:17-18 NLT).
God has made you and me unique with specific gifts and purposes, treasuring thoughts about you and me in his heart. Problems arise when we want another person’s role. We want to look like that person, be like that person, and do what that person does. Yet when God created you, he wasn’t interested in producing another version of someone he had already created. He wanted the authentic, unique you.
So don’t aim to be a copy, simply trying to imitate others; be the authentic you. Why not take some time to think about the unique gifts and talents you have, and give thanks to God for the masterpiece he has created.
Father, thank you for making us, each precious and unique in your sight. Help us to live in that understanding, to your glory. In Jesus’s name, Amen.