Angus Riordan - Introductory prayers
Trey Lincoln - Sermon
Advent Misa and Tino Tahitua - Waiata
Kalem Cardon - Story of the Night, “The Monkey and The Fish”
Drake Walther - Prayers
Ben Brown and Pera Nelson - Bible Readings
Theme: Identity – being yourself
“Today you are you ... that is truer than true ... there is no one alive who is you’er than you.”
Some of you sitting here tonight might know who wrote this quote, some might know what it means, and some may already live life in the essence of what this quote means. Those words were written by Dr Suess, and in my own two words, those 19 words mean - be yourself.
Being yourself is one of the biggest weapons anyone can possess in this world. The ability to know who you are as a person and where your values lie and heart sits is something becoming of a folk tale in our modern-day society. So good evening everyone, I’m Trey Lincoln, and hopefully, I can enlighten you a little on how to be yourself, with some of my knowledge I’ve learnt through the last couple of years here at St Paul’s.
How many people here can honestly say that they truly know themselves, in and out, every little detail, emotions they possess and feelings they feel. The answer is barely anyone. Knowing yourself is a lot harder than it is made out to be, you may have some ideas, but you will probably be missing just those last puzzle pieces. We’re complicated people and being a complete puzzle is impossible. Still growing, we are taking in information, exposed to everything this modern society brings with it, and attempting to find solutions along the way, all while having to live our lives. We will never stop growing ourselves because frankly, the world will never stop growing around us. Constantly evolving with society’s newest trends and fashions, it’s easy to lose yourself and be caught up in it all, very easy in fact. You’re sucked in, bombarded with it all, latest drops, new phones, clothes, cars and more. You have to have it, so you do, you get, or you if you’re not, you drool over you screen for hours on end, praying that you will be fortunate enough to win lotto in the next 48 hours. Well sorry sport, you’re more likely to be related to the queen, flip a coin on heads 28 times in a row or be killed by a vending machine, so unless you’re still dead set on being that 1 of 38 million, you can make some adjustments?
Instead, walk yourself to a mirror and ask yourself if you’re happy with who you see? Is the person standing in front of you who you want to be for yourself, or are they a person you’ve concocted to be for everyone else? If they are the person you want to be then sweet, your work is done, but if it’s the latter, we have some work to do. Living your life for the satisfaction of others is not a very fun one. It will become obsessive and manipulating. You’re a triangle that is trying to fit into a square-shaped hole. Yes, the attention you receive may feel real while it happens, and the laughs your peers give you might give you a smile, but none of it is real. It’s an illusion that you have placed on yourself in order for you to boost your ‘social status’ and feel ‘cool’. Trust me, this is not a healthy path for anyone to travel down, and every time you look at yourself in the mirror, you’ll see somebody that isn’t you, until you change. If you’re doing something that you don’t want to but continue to do because someone asked you to, or you feel that you need to be there for them, please stop and stand up for yourself. Many have been there, including myself, I’ve been there, had to deal with it all, and not being that person is a much better feeling.
Surround yourself with the people that you know will go to war and back for you because if they’re not, have a think about how good of a friend they really are. The people that will are the ones you want to hold onto, they’re the ones that will get the best out of you, and have probably been there from the beginning or never stopped when they jumped on halfway through. They bring out the best and deal with the worst. Never talking down about you to someone else, having your back in tough times, a shoulder to cry on and that ear that you’ve chewed off a million times but they still continue to listen. They’re the ones to surround yourself with. Society these days has created an allure, and an unfortunately large amount have fallen into it. This desire for peer approval and to show off to the ones you perceive are the ‘coolest’ is a drug that will not last forever. You’re chasing the impossible because the coolest person is actually - you. When you can stand in front of that mirror, knowing it’s your true self you see in the reflection, with all your imperfections, and can smile and laugh at yourself knowing that you’re not perfect, but you like you and don’t care, that makes you the coolest. Because who you are inside is up to you. People can try to influence who you think you should be, but everyone knows who they truly are. You are you.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. It's you that makes your identity, not the others around you. Live for yourself.
We’re made up of skin, bones, emotions, values and feelings. Spend some time fiddling with the jig-saw puzzle that makes you, you. And if you find yourself looking like what the box shows, take a step back, and just think if you want to be that person that you think everyone wants to see, or if you want to be the person you want to see. Because we’re not on the face of a box with 1000 pieces to make, there are no instructions on how we are meant to feel and share emotions. Just be you, and be happy with yourself.
I just want to finish with another Dr Suess quote on good friends:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”