We are made to be different.

In a world that is going to try and classify you – by your behaviours, your preferences, your ability and your looks – I feel a deep sense of urgency to proclaim that your life is unique and needs to be different.

Google and other online platforms have been monitoring the searches we make for years, trying to formulate and tailor your search results according to what you have searched for in the past. It’s a technological forefront of anthropology, as we study what each person wants.

But what makes me worried is that all these kinds of advances do is encourage you to be more of the same. As much as you are made to be different to everyone else (and unique searches would support that), you also need to allow yourself to differ from who you are right now as you grow.

I see this a lot with young people once they have finished studying. As well as teenagers who have a rather limiting friendship circle. You have no obligation to the world to be exactly what you were a few days ago. If you liked avocado and decided you don’t like avocado anymore, it should not be an earth-shattering problem for anyone around you.

But we lock ourselves into personalities and roles that keep everyone happy while we slowly lose grip of our souls. I’ve known what that feels like. And I just want to let you know that on the other side of that sense of obligation or fear is a whole lot of God-given freedom.

So how do we know who we truly are? How do we find out what we are made of and how we differ from everyone else? There is one way that has been the most effective to me. It has shown me time and time again what I am truly made of. I like to call it “deep end living”.

There was a time when I was extremely insecure and my self-esteem was sub-zero. Fear had overtaken most of my life and I really struggled to wake up and face the day – purely because of social anxiety. It was only when I walked into church and found people who loved me despite all this that I started to be open to the idea of being myself.

Others started to believe in me more than I believed in myself and I began to consider that maybe I was capable of more than I thought possible. All God needs is a thought like that to completely change how I saw myself.

When I talk about being thrown in the deep end, I am referring to the fact that you get placed in situations that you will either sink or swim in. It’s a place where you have no option but to decide either to be a victim and give up or fight with everything you have to stay afloat.

My first deep end was leading a small gathering of people mid-week. All of them were older. All of them had been in the same group for months – it was my second time. I remember slowly dying inside thinking I could never make it. But I found something in me that I never knew possible – I had the stubbornness to fight. And I fought. It was a terrible evening, but I didn’t drown in despair.

Since then I have been thrown into many different “deep ends”. And I have learnt a whole lot about my character – what I am good at and what I need to work on. I have learnt about honour and respect for others. I have learnt how to lead. I have learnt how to apply my knowledge to practical situations. I have learnt to communicate effectively. I have learnt to laugh at myself. I have learnt how to encourage and include others.

But above all, I have learnt how to include God in the impossible moments of my life. There was nothing more crucial for me than recognising that I could not be who I am made to be without God’s support and involvement.

He made our legs to kick and our arms to pull against the currents of life. He has enabled you to swim through storms – not to sink, or tread water or flail in panic. I don’t know what the “deep end” looks like for you, but I want to encourage you to embrace it. Experience will bring out your true identity. We need people that would rather be strengthening themselves through the struggle than people hiding in their comfort.

If you want to know God – who comforts you while you live in the deep ends of life, check out the link below.

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