Before Chameleon’s Law Changes You

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From the LYWB team: We’re honored to have our good friend Jessie Minassian joining us on the blog again for our Summer Book Club. (We hope you’re following along and reading Family: How to Love Yours (and Help Them Like You Back) with us!) Because Jessie has so much solid wisdom to share, we thought we’d pull this winner of a post from the archives.

Who do you think you are?

Don’t worry—you’re not in trouble. I really want to know.

Today it’s easier than ever just to portray the “you” you want to be and hide all that other stuff. You can post pictures of only your “good side” on your best hair days, share all the highlights of your life as if they’re no big deal, and make it seem like a party follows you everywhere you go. And it’ll work; you’ll make everyone jealous of your life.

But when I ask, “Who do you think you are?” I want to know more than the Instagram version of you. I want to know who you are when no one is watching (or “following” or “liking”) you. I want you to think about all your experiences, shortcomings, strengths, and quirky habits that make up the unique daughter God designed.

Why is it important to know who you are? I’m so glad you asked.

Chameleon’s Law

First and foremost, we must ground and establish our identity in Jesus—in what the Bible says about who we are and whose we are. (For example, that you are wonderfully made and that in Christ, we are new creatures! See Psalm 139 and 2 Corinthians 5:17.) You also have the responsibility to make decisions about yourself, like your personal boundaries, your interests, what you will pursue or won’t pursue, etc. (Make Scripture your guide!) It’s important to make those decisions especially before you’re in a serious relationship. If you don’t, Chameleon’s Law will take over. (Lucky for us, this law is way easier to understand than the third law of thermodynamics, because I just made it up!)

Chameleon’s Law states:

A girl not grounded in her own identity will adapt to become like the people around her.

If a girl isn’t confident in her identity, she’ll adapt to become like the guy she admires.

Chameleon’s Law applies to your circle of friends and wanna-be-friends, and it doubly applies to crushes and relationships. If a girl isn’t confident in her identity, she’ll adapt to become like the guy she admires. Just like some chameleon species change color to blend into their surroundings, she changes into whatever she thinks is most desirable.

I’m sure you’ve seen this, and let’s be honest—it’s downright hilarious to watch the ways some girls adapt to become the kind of girl they think their crush would like.

  • He snowboards? She’s out buying a board and ski pants.
  • He’s the drummer in a band? She becomes a groupie.
  • He’s a metro guy? She’s ditching her sweats and flip-flops for more sophisticated clothes.
  • He’s into camping? She finds herself sleeping on the ground in the middle of a desert while coyotes pee on her shoes.

Wondering how I can pinpoint those details with such clarity?

Yes, my friend, I was “exhibit A” for Chameleon’s Law. And while some of the things I discovered through the guys I dated were awesome and have become part of who I am today—like rock climbing and good poetry—other “interests” were destructive.

The dark side of Chameleon’s Law caused this otherwise good girl to drink when my current crush was a partier, ditch class when he was more interested in surfing than studying, and listen to raunchy music because I knew that’s what was playing in his Discman (for all you young guns, that’s like a prehistoric iPod). Thankfully, those relationships didn’t last long, but they did do damage that could have been avoided if I had known who I was before looking for love. It also would have helped me do a better job of finding like-minded friends.

It’s so much better to spend your time and energy figuring out what you like and who you are and then waiting for a guy who will complement you and friends who will support you.

So this week, will you do something for me? Take some time to think about your interests, character, talents, weaknesses, and dreams. I want you to get a little glimpse of what God already knows about you: You are an incredibly unique, perfectly designed, daughter of the King. He delights in you—who you already are, not what you can pretend to be. And any guy, or friend, worthy of your heart will feel exactly the same.

Bonus: If you need a little help digging deeper into your identity, thinking about who you are and who you hope to become, you might like “The Me Quiz” from my book Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break You.

I’d love to hear from you!

  • Have you experienced Chameleon’s Law in your own life? If you’ve ever adapted to the people around you—or to a particular guy—to fit in, how did that turn out for ya?
  • What is one thing about you that is special, unique, or lovely? (Don’t worry—this is NOT bragging. Just giving God glory by recognizing His creative genius!)

About Author

Jessie Minassian

Jessie Minassian is a speaker, blogger, and the author of ten books and Bible studies, including Crushed, Unashamed, and Backwards Beauty. She is the "resident big sis" at LifeLoveandGod.com, a Q&A website for teen girls. Her work for teens and their parents has been featured internationally through outlets such as Focus on the Family, Parenting Today’s Teens, She Reads Truth, Axis, Revive Our Hearts and YouthWorker Journal. She and her husband live and serve at Hume Lake Christian Camps in California, and have two daughters.

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