Our society puts a huge emphasis on how everyone needs to be unique. But at the same time, society is constantly pushing us to conform to be just like everyone else. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but fashion trends basically revolve around everyone buying the same exact brand/article of clothing. For example, the era of Ugg boots, the “necessity” of North Face jackets, and the trend of Toms. I’m not saying any of these are bad, but I am saying that these definitely represent trends in our society that push us to look and act like all those around us while at the same time trying to be distinct. I feel that this constant push; the push to be ourselves while trying to look exactly like all of our closest friends, is not doing our identity, our self-image, or especially our spiritual lives any favors.

The truth is that we are each a beloved daughter or son of God. He has created us with a unique dignity and purpose that only we personally can fulfill. The push to be like everyone else, while at the same time be your own person is only setting us up for confusion. We will never be satisfied as long as we are seeking both these ends. We are created to be satisfied. God did not want us to be stuck in the middle of two unattainable realities. He created us to be us. To be completely us. And to be only us.

On a personal note, I play the clarinet, and one of my favorite things to do with my clarinet is to play it at Mass. I just love that I am able to praise God through my instrument. But this was a struggle for me at first. Being the only musician at Mass playing clarinet, I often thought what I was doing was completely useless and just silly. I don’t know if this is common at your church, but the clarinet is not exactly the instrument of choice when it comes to music at Mass. It looks funny, it is very quiet, and has a unique sound. But eventually, I came to the realization that God has given me the clarinet by which to praise Him. In my opinion, a guitar would be much more practical for leading worship, but that’s not what I’ve been given right now. Who am I to say what is fit for worshipping God? He gives us each individual gifts, and it only makes sense that we should give those gifts right back to Him, no matter how unique or funny they may be. God gave me the clarinet, so I am going to give it right back to Him!

It is time to forget the lie and the confusion that we need to be uniquely ourselves all the while being exactly the same as everyone else. We need to be Christ’s. It is time to recognize our identity in Christ and use whatever it is He has given us to praise Him, however humbling and humorous that may be. For when we are truly who we are in Christ, beauty radiates. Be courageous. Be bold. Be YOU.

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