I shared yesterday about Surviving Speech Purgatory. Well, today I would love to share my son’s speech with you:
Maybe You Are Just What This World Needs
by Andrew Bleakley
The all-American hero.
The all-star athlete.
Everywhere we look we see images of the ideal person we are told we should become. The one who seems to have it all together—looks, talent, popularity and intelligence. So, we compare ourselves to them only to find that we can’t possibly measure up. So, we try harder and we spend more in a quest to become like them, because surely, we aren’t good enough the way we are…..are we?
We keep striving and keep fighting to become like the one we imagine we should be; to become just like everyone else around us. Only in our quest to become like someone else we start to lose ourselves, and we start to become like everyone else. But that’s what we’re supposed to do right? Because we aren’t good enough the way we are, are we?
Or are we?
Could it possibly be that our differences aren’t that bad after all—that I don’t have to be like everyone else around me? Could it be that the only Ideal Person we should pursue calls us to be different. To stand out. Could it be that God is actually glorified in our differences—in our different talents, abilities, resources and even in our different skin colors and appearances?
I believe the answer is yes to all of those questions.
Just look around you. No two things in nature are exactly alike. No two trees are identical. Plants all are different in the patterns in which they are created. In space, we see great diversity. Out of all the billions of stars and planets no two are the same. Consider the animals, think of all the different species out there. And even though two cats or two dogs may look the same, they will act very differently. We are the only species that constantly try to make ourselves into replicas of others.
Why? Maybe it’s because we are afraid of rejection. Afraid of being told we aren’t good enough the way we are—afraid of failure, afraid of being different. But isn’t different good?
Where would we be without eccentric scientists like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein? Surely, they would have been considered different in their time. Where would we be if they had decided to act like everyone else? If they had been too afraid of having their own ideas or of being seen as strange? What about Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, or even Billy Graham? What if they too had been afraid to stand out and be different? Afraid of having their own ideas and had just decided to blend in and become like everyone else?
Being different is often necessary for progress and change. If we were all the same then how would anything new ever get accomplished? What would this world be like if we all played the same sport or played the same instrument or had the same job? It is our differences that make us who we are and can give our lives purpose and meaning.
We all have unique talents and gifts, and yet we are all part of the human race, and if we are Christians then we are all part of God’s family. So the question becomes how can we be who we were created to be, while still working together to help and support each other.
After all the Bible says in 1 Corinthians that “we are one body with many members.”
So, while being different is vital in life, we also need to be able to work with others and be able to take their opinions and thoughts. Edison and Einstein were different, but they still had to work with others to get their message and gifts to the world. If we become completely different then we will become isolated and not be able to work together. Being different from others can be a very good thing. But we also need to be able to see things from others points of view, and be able to work with others without letting our differences get in the way.
So is there really an ideal person? Or is a better question: is their an ideal version of ourselves?
Instead of trying to become like someone else, instead of trying to achieve what someone else has achieved, instead of trying to be what we are not, what if instead we tried to become who we were meant to be.
And what if in becoming who we were meant to be—who we were created to be—we just happen to change the world?
If you look around you and don’t feel like you fit in, maybe you aren’t supposed to.
Maybe, just maybe, what makes you different is exactly what this world needs.