Joyce Meyer - Be Yourself
Well, thank you for joining me today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". Now, I'm gonna share something with you today, that I think is gonna help you enjoy your life a whole lot more. I wanna talk to you today about having the boldness and the courage to be yourself. There's so much pressure sometimes to be like somebody else or like everybody else. And I think really all of us really, we want to be loved and accepted for who we are. We don't wanna feel like that we have to do this to make you happy, or do that to make you happy, or be this to make you happy. We just wanna be free to be ourselves.
And, you know, we've all got a little bit of uniqueness. And you're not gonna find two people that are exactly alike. And often, especially in marriage, it becomes a real issue because we usually marry someone that is opposite of us. We're attracted to somebody that has what we don't have, although we really don't understand that's why we're attracted to them. And then we get married and we start trying to change them and make them be like us. And I know that was a real problem for Dave and I for a lot of years. And I'm so glad that we both got over it, because now we've been married 55 years. And, you know, I'm proud of that, because there's not a lot of people that make it that long. And actually, we probably have more fun now, get along better now, than we ever have.
And there's many, many things that I love and appreciate about Dave. But the thing that I love the most, is he really lets me be who I am. Even though I have little annoying habits, I'm impatient, I'm sure I could name a whole bunch of different things, but he actually, things that many people would think we're faults, he actually laughs at me and thinks it's funny, because he knows that, that's just the way I am. But, you know, I went through a period in my life and I'm sure that most of you have too, where I really felt pressured to be like this person, or that person, or some other person. And sometimes other people do pressure us. But sometimes they don't even have to pressure us, we put the pressure on ourselves.
And, you know, it's really important that you learn how to accept yourself and be yourself, because God is never going to help you be somebody else. We always say, "Be yourself, everybody else is already taken". And so, people do, many times, try to get you to do things the way they do them. Now, that comes out of pride. We all think that the way we do things is the best way. And so, we're always trying to encourage other people to do it our way. Well, maybe you'll get some good ideas from somebody, and it might be great to say, "Yeah, you know, that's a good idea, I think I will try it that way". But if it doesn't work for you, if it doesn't fit you, or if you don't feel that, that's the way that you should do it, then you need to be bold and courageous enough to say, "I appreciate your advice," and you can just say, "I'll pray about it," or whatever. But you really need to have the boldness to be who you are. You have to take ownership of your life and like yourself, love yourself, don't always try to be somebody else.
In 1 Samuel chapter 17:37-39, this is a story about David when he faced Goliath. Now, you know we all have giants in our life, and we all deal with our giants a little bit differently. And it says, "The Lord", first of all, he wanted to go fight Goliath. Many other people had been afraid to even try. But David had this real special relationship with God because he was a little shepherd boy, spent a lot of time by himself out shepherding, and being alone all night with the sheep. And I'm sure that he grew very, very close to the Lord during that time. And so, there was a time when he had been attacked by a bear. And another time when he'd been attacked by a lion. And God delivered him both of those times. So, he had a real strong faith in God, really trusted that he could do things, that would actually look like they would be impossible.
Do you have the courage to believe that you can do things that nobody else has ever done? Do you have the courage to believe that you can do something that even to you seems impossible, but you believe that it's something God has asked you to do? You know, anything that he asks you to do, he will help you do. I feel like I need to say that again, because there's somebody or several somebodies, that God has asked you to do something and you're putting it off, and putting it off, and putting it off, because you just don't believe you can. Well, you need to realize that God is never gonna ask you to do something without giving you the ability to do it. You can do whatever God asks you to do. And so, nobody thought that David could beat Goliath, including king Saul.
And so, Saul finally agreed to let him go. But Saul dressed David in his own armor. He put his tunic on him. He put a coat of armor on him. And a bronze helmet on his head. And it says, "David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. 'I cannot go in these,' he said to Saul, 'because I am not used to them'. So, he took them off". And I love that. He had the boldness to even stand up, I'm sure respectfully, to the king and say, "This is not gonna work for me. I can't do this. I'm not used to this". Well, you know, if you know the story of David and Goliath, he actually ended up killing Goliath with a slingshot. Well, that wouldn't be the normal way that you'd try to fight a giant. But David was really not depending on the slingshot, or any other weapon. He was depending on God.
And, you know, many times that's where we make our mistake. We're depending on our natural ability, or our natural talent, and we need to be depending on God. Because God can cause you to do things that you would've never thought you could do. "With men it's impossible: but with God all things are possible". "David fastened his sword over the tunic and tried to go. He said, 'I can't do it like this'. So, he took 'em off". You know, we may tend to study great men and women that have gone before us. I know I went through this. I would read books about great intercessors, people who sometimes prayed for days at a time, all day long.
There was a man named Rees Howells. I read a book about him. There was another man called praying Hyde, his last name was H-Y-D-E. And they had such tremendously, amazing, prayer lives, and God had given them a gift. But I would read those books and then think, "Well, you know, I need to be able to pray like that". Or maybe I would read a book about the miracles of Kathryn Kuhlman's ministry, or Aimee Semple McPherson, or Maria Woodworth-Etter and think, "Well, why can't I do the things that they did"?
Let me ask you a question: do you ever feel like you should be able to do what somebody else does? Well, other people can be a good example to us. But, you know, just because somebody else can do something, doesn't mean we can do it. And we have to remember, now, I want you to get this. The only reason they can do what they can do, is because God has gifted them to be able to do that. We don't need to be jealous of 'em. We can admire what they can do. But we have to remember, they can only do it because of God. God has given them a gift of faith in that area, and they're able to do things with ease that would be impossible for us.
You can read about the faith of Smith Wigglesworth. I read a lot of books by a woman named Madame Guyon, and she had such a special close relationship with God. Or "Practicing the presence of God," by brother Lawrence. Boy, he talks about how he never let more than just a few seconds go by without thinking of God. And I've tried that, and tried it, tried it so many times, and it just doesn't seem to work for me. And, you know, I don't believe that God has people write books, so we can try to be like them. I think it's just for our encouragement. I have to be me, and you have to be you. I can read about, "The martyrdom of Joan of Arc," and wonder, "Could I do that? Would I be willing to be burned at the stake if I had to be"?
You know, standing here right now, I don't know? But I have to believe if that's what God called me to do, that he would give me the grace to be able to do that. I'm really pleading with you today, to stop trying to be somebody else. As I said, other people can be a good example to you, but boy, you get yourself in real trouble when you start trying to be who they are, or do what they do. I remember a young girl who came to me, and she said, "You know, Joyce, there's an early morning prayer meeting at my church," and she said, "Most of my friends are going". And she said, "They keep trying to get me to go, but I just don't feel in my heart that I'm supposed to do that". And she said, "What I really wanna do is, I would love to watch their children for them while they go".
Well, you see, God's got everything covered, if we'll just listen to him. He put it on her heart to watch their children, and he put it on their heart to go and pray. But they were trying to get her to go do what they had been called to do. And, you know, there's two sides to this, we want to be bold enough to be who we are. But we also need to be careful that we're not trying to get other people to be like us. If you wanna reap a harvest in an area, you need to sow good seeds. So let everybody else be who they are, encourage them to be who they are, and then you will reap a harvest of, hopefully and prayerfully, having friends who will love you and accept you the way you are. I have to be me. You have to be you.
David would not have defeated Goliath had he tried to do it Saul's way. And he would not have ever become king, had he not stood up to that. You know, I think there are so many great things, so many great plans that God has for each of us. But, you know, we all do get tested along the way. And sometimes we don't pass those tests, and so God can't promote us. It's no different than being in school. You have to pass final exams in one grade before you go to another grade. And God has great things in store for us, but we have to be able to do things the way he wants us to do them.
You know, when God called Joshua to take Moses place, just imagine that, Moses! I mean, my goodness, he had led these millions of people through the Wilderness for all these years and gone through so much. And because of an anger issue he had, which caused him to disobey God, he was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. And after Moses died, God called Joshua to take his place. Now, just imagine. Wow, what a chAllenge! But, you know, the thing that I've always noticed that I really love, is God didn't say, "Go be like Moses". He said, "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you". And you see, that's what makes the difference.
As long as God is with you, you can do whatever you need to do. Once again, let me make a point out of this. He didn't say, "Joshua, I want you to take Moses' place. And I want you to remember exactly how Moses did things. And I want you to do them the same way he did them". He didn't say that at all. He said, "I will be with you, as I was with Moses". And you know what? If God is with us, he'll lead us one step at a time and show us what we need to do. You know, God told Joshua, "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you".
You know, I think about that promise a lot that God says, "He'll never leave us nor forsake us". And even though you may not always feel his presence, or be able to sense that he's with you, you have to believe the promise that he is. He said he'd never leave you nor forsake you. You know, God's gifts vary according to his will. He gives all of us gifts, but we don't get to pick the ones that we get. You know, I would've loved to have been able to have, really been able to sing, or play a musical instrument. But I can't do either one. When I sing, they always turn my microphone off, so it must be pretty bad, I don't know. I think I sing in some key that nobody knows what it is. But I can teach and I can preach, and that's the gift that I have.
And the Bible talks about different gifts in Romans 12:4-8. It says, "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members not all have the same function". It's giving the example of our body. I have a hand that does one thing, and I have a foot that does something else. I don't walk around on my hands. And I don't try to use my feet to pick things up. And sometimes just thinking about that, how foolish that would be, it helps us to understand how foolish it is for us to try to do what God has gifted somebody else to do. You do not have to feel inferior to somebody else just because you can't do what they do. Nor should you be jealous of them because they can do something that you can't do. Whatever gift that God has put in somebody else, he put it in them for you to enjoy it.
I tell people often, God gave me the gift to teach. And yes, I enjoy teaching, but for me, it's work. It's a job. You get to sit in the meetings, or sit and watch a TV program, and you can enjoy the gift that I have. God put the gift in me for you. And he's put gifts in you that are for me. So, let's please don't be jealous of one another. That's very much spiritual immaturity, and God does not want us to envy one another or be jealous of one another. "So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others". All together, you doing what you do, me doing what I do. All together, all of us, we get it all done. But not one of us can do it all by ourselves. "We have different gifts, according to the grace that God has given us". Let us use them. "If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith: if it's serving, then serve: if it's teaching, then teach".
I love this because it's saying give yourself to whatever your gift is. And you know, if you really give yourself to it and you focus on that, and you study that and you practice that, you're gonna get really good at something that God has gifted you to do. But if you spend most of your time trying to get good at something you're not gifted for, you're gonna end up never being good at that. And you won't really end up being good at what you've actually been called to do either, because you're not putting any time into it. "If your gift is teaching, then teach. If it's to encourage, then encourage". I mean, I know some people you cannot get around them for five seconds that they're not encouraging you.
Well, you know, I've learned to encourage people, but it's not my natural gift. My natural gift is not mercy, but I've learned to be merciful to people. "If your gift is giving, then give". Well, that's one of the gifts that I have. And I can see all the way back into my childhood, how I always loved to surprise people and give them things. I've always been able to talk really well and make myself understood. I tease and say, when I was in school, even if I didn't know very much about a subject, I could write so much about it and talk so much about it that my teachers thought I was a genius at it, and they would give me good grades.
So, I'm a communicator, I'm a giver, I'm also a leader. I have gifts in the area of leadership, but I don't have some of these other gifts. And it took me a long time to get satisfied with that. But I really wanna help you get satisfied with yourself. I want you to appreciate yourself. I want you to appreciate the "You" that God has made you to be. And I don't want you to be under the pressure of trying to be somebody that you're not. Or get into people pleasing, trying to do what everybody else wants you to do, so they'll like you and accept you. You know, you can't be a people pleaser and a God pleaser. And God wants us to please him. And we hope that people are pleased, but if they're not, we can't control that.
I love John 3:23-28. Says, "Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there, and people were coming and being baptized. (this was before John was put in prison.) an argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing". I want you to listen to this. "And they came to John and they said to him, 'rabbi, the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan'", and they're talking about Jesus, "'the one you testified about, now look, he's baptizing and everybody is flocking to him'".
Well, jealousy right there. They were afraid that somebody was gonna baptize more people than them. I'll tell you, Christians can get concerned over some of the silliest things. I think there's, you know, sometimes if somebody's pastoring a church, and somebody starts a new church, that's not very far from them, they'll get upset and be concerned about it. I always say there's plenty of sinners to go around. I don't think we need to fight over who's gonna get to have them in their church. "To this, John replied", now, listen to this, "A person can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Messiah but I am sent ahead of him'".
John knew what he was not, as well as knowing what he was. He knew what he could do, but he knew what he could not do. And I think it's important to know both. I love this, he said, the only gift that you can get are the ones that you're given from heaven. So, if I don't have the ability to do something, I don't need to get all upset about it or strain myself trying to do something that I can't do. I need to just say, "God hasn't given me the gift to do that, but he has given me the gift to do something". I think so often if people can't do what somebody else can do, then they get all down on themselves, and they feel like they're no good. Don't do that. You can do something amazing. You know, maybe you're a stay-at-home mom and you're raising four kids.
Well, I think that's pretty amazing. I mean, my son and his wife have four boys, and she homeschools all of them. Well, to me, she's amazing. I could not homeschool one kid for one day. They would not like me by the end of the day if I tried to do it. And it just amazes me how easy it is for her. Now, she has some rough days, but that's a gift to be able to do that. So, don't think just because you don't have some flashy, showy, you know, platform gift, that you don't have any gifts. You have great gifts. Do you know what you're called to do? That's good. But, you know, even more important is to know what you're not called to do, and not to be ashamed because you can't do it. David said, "I can't go like this, I'm not used to these". He had no problem saying, I can't do this. And we need to not have any problem saying, "You know what? I wouldn't be good at that".
I remember one man who came to us and he'd been leading a team of people, of about ten people. He was in charge of this department, there was about ten people in it. And he was doing really good. But the department grew and grew and grew, and now it had about 50 people. And I remember he came to us, and this has only happened once in the history of our ministry. He came and he said, "You know what? I love the ministry, I wanna stay here, but this is over my head". He said, "I can manage ten people well, but 50 is too much for me, and I'm not doing a good job at it". Well, I didn't disrespect him because of that. I respected the man because he came and said, "I can't do this". We don't need to try and impress each other by trying to think that we can do everything there is to do.
Now, you know, there's a scripture that I think sometimes we take out of context. It's Philippians 4:13 that says, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength". Well, you can't just pull that out and apply it to anything you want to apply it to. You have to read the things before it and after it. You know, you can make the Bible say anything, if you just pull a scripture out of the middle of it. But if you look at what Paul's talking about there, he says, "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound," and how to be content either way. Wow! Paul said, I can have trouble and be content. I can be having good times and be content. Then he says, "I can do all things through Christ who is my strength". And that needs to be our goal, to be stable in every situation, the same pleasant, patient, loving person whether we're having problems, or whether everything is going great for us.
You know, when you become a Christian, you don't enter an ego contest. You're never really free until you no longer feel that you need to impress people. Let me say that again. You're never really free until you no longer feel that you need to impress people. The Bible tells us that we need to avoid competition and comparison. And I'm not talking about competing in a baseball game or something like that. I'm talking about we don't need to try to keep up with somebody else. Maybe if you know somebody that's reading the Bible through in a year, and you tried that, it just didn't work for you. You don't need to try to do what they do. You need to go to God and find out how he wants you to do it, and follow his leadership for you.
I hope somebody is getting some relief from what I'm saying, and you're understanding, "Whew, I can be me, I don't have to try to be somebody else". You know, the disciples wanted to know which of them was the greatest. Who is the greatest? What a silly question. They would argue about which of them was the greatest. And Jesus said, "The one that's the greatest is the one who serves". Well, we think serving sometimes is a lowly job that we wouldn't wanna do. But Jesus said, you're the greatest if you're willing to serve other people. You know, I believe one of the things that makes us compare ourselves with other people is wounds in our soul that are left over from people that have hurt us, things that have happened to us, and they've caused us to lose our confidence. And so, instead of having the boldness to know who we are and be proud to be who we are, we start trying to be who everybody else is, and what we think they want us to do.