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Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints; they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or the particular monk they are intended to be by God. They never become the man or the artist who is called for by the circumstances of their individual lives…They waste their years in vain efforts to be some other poet, some other saint. [caption id="attachment_1123" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Are you trying to be someone else? (montage: Jason Fowler)"]Are you trying to be someone else?[/caption] Our goal should be to be the absolutely unique person God calls us to be. There are many people who want to live like Shane Claiborne or Wendell Berry, but that would be a mistake. This is not to say that we should not learn from lives well lived—there are lots of things worth imitating—but we have to ask where God has called us and to what he has called us. What a shame it would be if Jean Vanier tried to be like Wendell Berry instead of opening up his life to the severely mentally disabled. What a shame it would be if Wendell Berry, inspired by Mother Theresa, thought that faithfulness required going to an urban slum. There are many ways and places to live faithful lives. Our primary task is to listen and surrender to God, and in that to surrender to our true selves—not our imagined self, not our self subsumed in a role model—our self as the unique being we were created to be by God.]]>