As you start a new week, take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom from Judy Garland – “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
Young people often go through a phase of identity crisis in which they try to emulate someone else, usually someone famous, in the mistaken hope that they will somehow have the life that they see that person living. They may dress like that person or change their physical appearance to more closely resemble that person. The result is just a second-rate version of the person that they are trying to imitate, and the results are always disappointing.
It is certainly Ok to draw inspiration from one’s heroes and perhaps to try to “be like them” in displaying certain characteristics, like honesty or humility or empathy. The key is to internalize those characteristics and then make them your own by putting your spin on them and not trying to do exactly what that other person would do.
In the late 1990’w there was a world-wide phenomenon of WWJD bracelets which stood for What Would Jesus Do. A youth group leader at Calvary Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, named Janie Tinklenberg, began a grassroots movement to help the teenagers in her group remember the phrase; it spread worldwide in the 1990s among Christian youth, who wore bracelets bearing the initials WWJD.
For some the challenge of thinking about what Jesus might do in any situation was overwhelming because they thought of it too literally and quickly became discouraged when they couldn’t live up to that standard. Others who understood the challenge better used the inspiration of WWJD to stop and consider what the “right thing to do” in any situation might be. They focused upon being a first-rate version of themselves, rather than lamenting that could never be more than a second-rate version of Jesus.
As you face the week ahead, do so with the resolve to be the best “you” that you can be. You don’t need to wear a WWJD bracelet to remind yourself to stop and think about what the right thing to do is in any situation. Put yourself in the right frame of mind by pausing before you head out the door and ask God with a little prayer, “Help me make good decisions today.” That way you will spend the day being the best “you” that you can be and not waste time being a second-rate version of someone else. You may find that there are other people trying to be more like you.