Recently I realized that though I've escaped the peer pressure of the world so far, I haven't escaped the insecurities of being just me.
It happened one night when we had a friend over for pizza and ended up playing Mario Karts on my brother's old Nintendo 64 ( which is, incidentally, the best video game ever). I'm not the greatest when it comes to video games. I get stuck and fall off ledges a lot. But I am always trying really hard to finish in at least the top three. And I almost always fail.
My friend Heather hadn't played Nintendo in years (Perhaps she's one of those strange people who keeps up with technology?). She struggled even more than I did, but it didn't take long for her to cheerfully give up trying to win. She did her own thing; she drove most of a race backward just for the fun of it, and discovered you could go down a train tunnel quite a ways, which none of us had ever discovered before. She was having a ball while I was feeling rotten because I came in 4th place again.
I see it as a reflection of much of my life - as a middle sister. Now, I'm not going to go into a woe-is-me fest about the neglect and emotional trauma of the poor middle child. My point here is that most of my life I've seen the achievements of my siblings and felt insignificant because of them. My older sister is mature and serene, the darling of so many of our acquaintances. My younger sister is the wonder-child, master musician and theological genius, at a young age. For years I made attempts to be serene and attempts to be musical and miserably failed.
When I saw Heather happy, literally just doing her own thing I was inspired. I have now admitted to myself that I'm just not musical - except for my voice. And I'm not often serene, but I do have a lot of laughs and plenty of deep conversations with my circle of friends.
I'm not saying we should never emulate anyone. We all need our heroes and role models. But we shouldn't miss the chance to be ourselves and develop the gifts God gave us - not our siblings or friends - by chasing after someone else's dreams. Just be yourself.