When I was a kid, I wanted to be the next Laura Ingalls Wilder. Our first names matched, so I figured that gave me some sort of kinship with her. However, one big problem remained: I didn’t live on the frontier in the 19th century… and let’s face it, there’s not much frontier left to conquer.
Now that I’m older, I’ve thought at times how cool it would be to be the next Beth Moore. I would definitely love the writing and Bible study part. The thought of public speaking, on the other hand, makes my insides curl into the fetal position.
I’m sure you’ve said or thought it, too, especially when you were younger:
I want to be the next Michael Jordan.
The next Jennifer Aniston.
The next Steve Jobs.
The next Adele.
The next Chris Tomlin.
The next Billy Graham.
The next Michael Phelps.
The next Lady Gaga.
Ok, maybe not that last one. But you catch my drift.
As a writer, I’ve often been told to read great writers and try to imitate them, to use them to improve my own voice. That’s easy. The challenge comes when you have to figure out how you’re different from them– when you have to put your pen to the page or your fingers to the keys and produce something that sounds like you, not anyone else.
The same is true with life. This is a simple message, but it’s one we can’t seem to get through our heads. We can follow the great examples set by others and we walk in the footsteps of our role models, but in the end, we can’t be them. We can only be ourselves. God created you to be you and no one else. No one can usurp your role in his kingdom because no one is going to perform your role like you can. That means you’ve got to go for it with the best of your ability. That means you’ve got to find your voice.
Your voice doesn’t have to be expressed through writing, speaking, dancing, or singing. It’s mainly through how you live. Your life is the best reflection, the best reckoning, the best record of who you are. No matter how good you are at imitations, your life won’t tell someone else’s story—it will tell yours. The crazy thing is that you get to choose how that story’s going to turn out. And you get to use your voice to tell it.
COMMENT: Who is/was your “next” idol? How have you found your own voice?