• Kara Abernathy

You Do You

"You do you."


“I think I’m going to get back together with my boyfriend.”

“You do you, girl.”


This phrase encourages someone (rather passive-aggressively) that what he or she plans to do is idiotic.

Sure, it’s supposed to mean “be yourself” or “stay true to yourself,” but most of the time, it is used to poke holes in someone’s decision making without actually telling that person how you honestly feel.

Sarcastically or not, “you do you” is a phrase used to power the individual.

Throughout this series so far, we’ve learned that leaning on ourselves and our own wisdom will fail every time. Our pride doesn't want to apologize ("sorry not sorry"), our hearts misguide us (“follow your heart”), our minds manipulate us (“speak your truth”), and apart from accountability, we will fall into dumb decisions.

“You do you” fails to offer real accountability and guidance. It’s a lazy response that doesn't meet someone where they are or offer honest feedback. At worst, it’s a sarcastic statement without any alternative to poor decision making.

As believers, we need each other. We need friends who will speak truth (aka scripture) into our lives when we are struggling with making a decision. Trying to live like Jesus is tough because He is perfect, and we are not. Therefore, we need people who are willing to call us out and help us become more like Jesus.

When we are making decisions that only benefit ourselves, we need people to show us the gaps in our thinking.

“You Do You” lacks accountability.

The other reason why this phrase is just wrong is that being ourselves, being unique, and being original should not be our highest aim.

Instead, we should want to become more like Christ.

“But that is not the way you learned Christ!–assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:20-24).

We are called to lay down our former way of life that places self above all else. We are called to pick up a new way of order – one that values God’s likeness and imitates His holiness.

As Christians, we can’t just do our own thing. We are called to something much greater. We are called to live for him.

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:1-2).

Christ modeled this for us. Jesus demonstrated how to “walk in love” by continually sacrificing His own needs for the will of God. Even before the cross, He prayed for a way out of God’s excruciatingly painful way of salvation. Still, Jesus chose to obey God’s plan and move forward with the crucifixion, sacrificing Himself to offer us grace.

We are to imitate Christ and lay down our own preferences. Our main goal should be to become like Christ – not the best version of ourselves.

Since we are striving to become like Christ, we need people in our lives that can model this for us. We need people who replace "you do you" with "you be like Christ." Spiritual mentors can encourage us in our walk with Christ, educate us on the Word of God, and edify us with Scripture.

When I was in college, I attended a Bible study led by a woman who was several seasons ahead of us in life. She was already in the working world and raising children. She had gone through many of life’s greatest obstacles and blessings, so she could speak to our collegiate experiences, excitements, and fears.

God used her to mentor a group of university women who needed a spiritual mentor who could help us imitate Christ.

Jane became a “Paul” to a handful of women who met weekly in her living room. Instead of “You Do You,” Jane’s mantra could have been 1 Corinthians 11:1:

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corin. 11:1).

Seek out spiritual mentors who will hold you accountable and show you how to imitate the sacrificial love of Christ. Being unique is far overrated. Being Christlike is far underrated.

P.S. Next week is the last week in the month-long series "Common Sayings Debunked." Subscribers, don't forget to share a post from the series and tag me to enter the giveaway contest!

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© 2019 Kara Abernathy

Disclaimer: my thoughts do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of my employer.