Letters to Eleanor: ‘Be You’ is overused; here’s what I want you to know when you hear it.

All it takes is one stroll down a retail aisle, or one scroll too long on Insert Any Social Platform Here and I can feel it. Actual emotional and physical exhaustion from ALL THE CLICHE.

Overused, meant to be peppy (or clever) phrases plastered all over everything you can think of – wine cups (reusable and styrofoam), coin purses, clutches and all manner of tote bags, t-shirts, wood painted signs, on socks, on hats, on purse straps, across coffee mugs and insulated drink holders (I swear to goodness if someone gives me another one of those, Yeti brand or not, I’m going to assume they hate my ever-loving guts). It. Just. Never. Ends.

I get especially snarky when I see the merch that says “Be Kind” or “Be You.” It’s not that I don’t believe in those things – they are both core values for me. It’s just unspecific, and for that reason, it’s also unhelpful.

Don’t tell me what to do. I was brought up right so I know what to do.

Teach me. Show me. Illuminate for me HOW I can do these noble things.

Of course, that can’t easily be distilled into a pithy saying and then bulk printed on cheap goods that appeal to the masses.

Ideally you won’t be buying many of those though, right? Because you will have financial sense when casually shopping, right? Haha – I’m only kidding. Of course you’ll make a lot of the same mistakes everybody else does, and that’s a good and healthy thing. I just hope you learn some lessons sooner than I did, hence all the letters :).

So what of this merchandise-driven command that declares “Be YOU”?

If we peel back the layers of intent, how on earth do you go about that, especially when it can feel unsafe to truly be the real you, because we live in a world that can be judgy and punitive and downright retaliatory?

I think the answer is fairly simple, and that it comes down to these two things:

1.) Talk to Jesus every single day.

It doesn’t have to be formal – mine is usually in my head, a sometimes cohesive but more often rambling collection of thoughts, and usually when I’m having that first delicious cup of coffee in the morning, or while I’m getting ready, or as I drive into work. Share your heart thoughts with Him, whether they align with Biblical principles or not. He knows what’s on your mind anyway.

Ask Him to help you show up as He would have you show up, to be you in a way that glorifies Him, wherever that particular day may take you.

2.) Carve out time in your schedule for quiet reflection.

Soul searching is important; it can and should be a productive use of your time. Maybe it’s while you take a walk or do something else that isn’t all consuming or distracting.

In that head space, consider your natural abilities and actual interests (not what you think you’re supposed to be good at or to like, but what you actually are good at and like). View your hopes and dreams through that lens.

There is a wonderful song by Lauren Daigle called “You Say.” You, precious child, are indeed who He says you are. Give that song a listen, and carefully contemplate these lyrics:

“The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe
Oh, I believe
What You say of me
Oh, I believe”

Take it from your mama. Life can take you down some long, confusing and painful roads as you try to figure out who you really are.

I’m here to be a mirror for you, anytime you might lose your way.

And while that’s great – it’s my life’s greatest privilege to be that for you and for your brother, my efforts are a distant second from what you will feel when you make time for daily chats with the One who made and loves us all.

Here’s to all that you are now and are becoming, my love!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Pop Walden says:

    Very well said Rebecca! Much like Jesus did in the wilderness facing the challenges from Satan.

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