Imitations and Idols
Just the other day, I had a few minutes to waste while I waited at a consignment boutique for the clerk to decide whether or not she wanted my belongings. I decided to look around and sift through some of the racks, just for a little bit of retail therapy. Just a little look would give me my fix, no need for purchase. As I was gazing, I couldn’t help but hear a girl named Jenny being beckoned repeatedly by her friend. “What do we think of this Jenny?” “Jenny, do we likey?” “Jenny, do we love?” “Jen, is purple our color?”
Poor, poor Jenny was all I could think. This girl, Jenny, had a major task on her shoulders. She had to make choices not just for herself, but for her friend who was desperately seeking her opinion. Jenny didn’t get to enjoy a little retail therapy for herself, instead she had to decide whether or not her friend liked something. I cannot imagine the weight of the burden of making decisions for your friend who obviously was not sure of who she was.
When I was a little girl, I was so sure of who I was and what I loved. I could pick out my favorite shoe in a matter of seconds, and the perfect hat and purse to match as well. I would dance and skip around, and be completely elated when someone in the grocery store would tell my mother how much I looked like Blossom Russo. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the Blossom era, Mayim Bialik (who now plays the beloved Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory) was Blossom, a spunky, unique, big-hearted girl who dreamed up all sorts of fantasies and always learned a lesson from her family. I didn’t necessarily want to be Blossom, but I appreciated anyone who thought I resembled my teen idol.
Somewhere along the way of growing up, I started making less choices for myself, and more choices that looked like everyone else’s. Now, the psycho-analyst part of me could think of all of the major changes that occurred in my life between my adolescence and teenage years, but truthfully when I look back I know that it was just my need for approval from others and wanting to fit in. It all started with a few small choices, getting a pair of shoes just like my friend Nicole had in seventh grade. She was so upset that I wanted to copy her, and her mother just kept assuring her that imitation was the highest form of flattery. Nicole and I drifted apart gradually, not because of the shoes but probably just because I found someone else to mimic.
In high school, I met a girl who loved skater boys and big jeans. I had been rocking the flannel shirt look for about a year at that point, but when Jennifer suggested I try on her wide leg jeans and Airwalk shirt and told me how cute it looked, I knew I would be wearing that style until she told me it was no longer acceptable. It took a year or two, but that friendship fizzled out as well, due again to my insecurity.
I haven’t been that girl in a long time. I found my true self as I got a bit older and decided to stand firm on the unique girl that God had created me to be. But when I heard the girl in the store asking Jenny what to think, it just took me back to that place, and I wasn’t really sad for Jenny anymore. I was heartbroken for the unnamed shopping partner who had no definition of her own.
Maybe this sounds familiar to you. Maybe you are seeking approval from your friends or family, or maybe you’re posting selfie after selfie on Instagram to see what people think. Perhaps you are looking to someone else to tell you what to think about anything and everything.
You are worth so much more than anyone else could ever make you feel. The approval and opinion you are seeking cannot and will not be filled up by anyone else. Only Jesus. You will only find out how valuable and cherished you truly are when you look to God to define you. Jesus thinks you are priceless. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself of this, especially when you are thinking of looking elsewhere for that seal of approval.
Repeat after me:
Christ is enough for me. Everything I need is in Him. I will allow myself to be defined only by His word.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.