My social media timelines are filled with very inspiring, motivating people. A common theme among them is the “do you” message. Do what makes you happy. Do what works for you. Do whatever you want to do. While I have spent over a decade trying to get people to be authentic…essentially “do you,” I think the asterisk is important here. The only way that “do you” works is if you actually know who “you” is and understand what “you” really wants.
…You default to “I need a vacation.” In actuality, you need to create boundaries, open space, and quiet time in your daily life that revitalizes you like a vacation.
The fundamental principle of my book, “Stay In Your Lane,” is that you must tap into God to understand who you are, what you want, and why you want it. It takes work because we are often so reactive it becomes difficult to determine whether we’re really doing what we want to do or if we are simply reacting to pain, people, or the past. For example, you may be telling yourself that you want to go on vacation, but that’s not really what you want when you unpack your true feelings. You actually want healthy, happy, peaceful days. Since you don’t know how to create that in your daily life, you default to “I need a vacation.” In actuality, you need to create boundaries, open space, and quiet time in your daily life that revitalizes you like a vacation.
In Romans 7:15 Paul says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” Anyone who has ever gone on a diet or started a new exercise routine understands this clearly. We often have the best of intentions to do “good” but instead default to doing something bad or worse…doing nothing at all. Paul goes on to say in verse 18 and 19, “…I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”
Poor Paul. Poor us. Our self-awareness and esteem are shaped by so many things early in our lives that by the time we figure out that we are “somebody” we have no clue who that somebody is. Our “you” has been cracked, split, bruised, and stretched by life and it’s happenings. Therefore, we must go back to God and ask, “What were you thinking when you made me…you know, before all the issues?”
Here are few things to remember about doing “you”.
“You” are not Alone.*
C’mon, let’s be real. Nobody can just “do you” without affecting others. Your life choices affect other people. I’ve become utterly fascinated with these court cases on religious freedom where a baker, wedding planner, or county clerk has decided not to service same-sex weddings because of the Christian faith. In the most recent case, the court ruled that while you have a first amendment right to believe what you want, you don’t have a right to discriminate against others because of that belief. It’s complicated. In a prior case the court ruled that while the United States has given people the right to marry whomever they choose, you can’t force someone to make a cake for your wedding. It’s complicated. We, the people, are intertwined and living together. We are affected by the choices of others. So doing “you” will inevitably affect someone else. In that regard, “doing you” is a hoax. You are never just doing you.
To God be the glory for not allowing the twenty-five year old me to just “do you.” This morning I did a little dance in my garden, thanking God for not answering some of my most destructive prayers. Boy oh boy! My life would look a lot different if God had given me everything I prayed for when I was younger. Yikes! Good lookin’ out, Jesus! What I wanted in those days is so much different than what I want now. Wisdom suggests that what I think I want today might change in the future. Therefore, I take the advice offered in Proverbs 3:5-6. I don’t lean on my own thinking and I let God guide me towards what is best for me. Remember that “Do You” today could make your future a fiery hot mess. Literally.
“You” Needs Courage.*
While Paul couldn’t manage to do what he wanted to do, he was very clear about his identity after he met Jesus. He didn’t check in with the other apostles to see how they felt about him preaching the gospel. Though he had been actively and directly opposed to Christianity in his past, he understood who the Lord intended for him to be. He became that person without the approval or permission of the people around him. You can “do you” when you have the courage to be you regardless of the pressure from around you to be somebody else. You’ll know you’re ready when you can be consistent in your identity.
“You” Serves Others.*
If you are a Christian, then other people are your problem. Periodt! It’s a “thing” in Christianity. There is nowhere in the Bible where being selfish is the right move. So, a good gut-check on “doing you” is how beneficial you are to the people and world around you. If you (and your family) are the only ones who benefit from you “doing you,” then you might want to rethink your approach.
“You” is Motivated by God.*
You are not prepared to do you if “you” is still trying to prove something to people. So many people are grinding to greatness because they want to prove their value to the people who doubted them or disappointed them. They want to “show their haters.” Lord forgive me for rolling my eyes at every post that has the word “hater” in it. Ugh! When you are motivated by your “haters” it is not really doing “you.” It’s doing what you think with illicit a response from other people. This is actually the weakest version of “you” that exists. When your sole reason for doing you is to please God, then by all means, “Do You!” and do it well.