When my parents came home from long days at work when I was growing up, they would joke that they were going to “take off their monkey suit.” (Have you heard that phrase?) I didn't get it as a kid. They’re not monkeys… But as I got older, I realized it meant they were riding themselves of their performance attire. At work, they had to be a certain type of person—they had to perform.
We all perform roles and tasks in our every day lives. We also often feel that, to be those roles, we have to perform a certain way for the people involved.
As we learn to navigate life, we perform in different ways. As teenagers, girls are often pressured to perform (read: act) a certain way to gain a boy’s attention. When I acted…well, not like myself, my Nana would look at me and sternly tell me, “come on, you’re performing!” Again, it wasn’t until I was older and understood that communication is performance that I understood what she meant and why she was so frustrated with me.
In graduate school, studying communication, I could finally put more academic words to the pressures I felt. I began to understand what performance was and why we feel that pressure. And I began to realize I didn’t want to do it anymore.
My husband worked in the fitness industry, so I felt the need to perform to a certain standard, to look and act a certain way, especially around him. In my time in academia, I felt I had to put on a false identity because what I believed or my opinion didn’t align with others. I felt like I had to act a certain way after graduating, getting my first job…the list goes on.
Have you ever felt this way? Maybe you’re out of college and you feel like college graduates act a certain way. Maybe you’re in college and feel college students act a certain way. Maybe you’re navigating early adulthood and think that you have to let go of your childlike wonder or your dreams.
Let me tell you something: you don’t.
God doesn’t want us to perform.
He designed us exactly how He wanted us, from our physical appearance to our personality. Performing any differently is disrespectful to our Father. It’s as if we are telling Him that His creation is not good enough, and we know that isn’t true. What He’s created is special, including us.
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t like everyone else. You’re not supposed to be.
You are designed to be set apart, unlike other people. You are designed to be unique. You are designed to be…you.