Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and I go so far back I remember when they were just a bag of body parts and my parents had to supply the potato. It was much better when the Potato Heads came with their plastic bodies though.
I still remember cupping that smooth, hard, globular form as I pondered which lips, which hat, and shoes would transform a spud into a teacher, shopper, mother or beauty (well, maybe not that).
With each different accessory, my potato people would take on new identities. Until I stripped them back to what they were: bare naked spuds.
At so many stages of my own life, I have mistaken the accessories of my particular roles for identifiers of who I was.
From the time I carried my metal lunchbox across the threshold of the first-grade classroom until decades later when I submitted my life to Christ, I responded to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” thinking that whatever answer I came up with would the one golden egg that defined who I was and supplied my source of self esteem.
Even as a Christian, I have confused my missionary hat, teacher hat, pastor’s wife hat, mother hat and good-girl-now hat with who I am. I know, of course, all the facts of my new identity: child-of-God, royal priesthood, chosen people. I’ve recited over and over, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.” But it has been an unfolding process to grasp the tangible reality of these truths through the everyday down and dirty and high and lofty moments of life.
Graciously, the Lord has led me through times of stripping, so that I could see more clearly who He is, and in that light, who I am.
Like sunlight passing over beach sand at different times of day, glinting off now a shell, later a crystal grain of sand, the Holy Spirit shows us things in the afternoon light we couldn’t see in morning’s.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.-1 John 3:2
I love how author, Jennie Allen, opens her Bible study, Chase: Chasing after the heart of God, with this examination of Identity. She takes us right to the stripping place: “As long as I am looking into myself for my identity, I will either be self-righteous about how great I am, which would be inaccurate, or distraught by the reality of the wreck I actually am.”
“The gospel steals all self esteem: “For I know nothing good dwells in me. . .—Romans 7:18
And then Jennie leads us to the precious understanding that as imperfect as our jars of clay are, we are each “uniquely shaped to hold the Spirit of God for different purposes, each with unique marks and cracks and broken places.”
And I love this: “And through those spaces God shines out.”
Ha! Not the “perfect places. Not the all-decked out Mrs. Potato Head Sunday dress places.
The God places in us, given by Him.
Sometimes, often, really, I overwhelm myself with words, information, or Scripture verses, erroneously thinking that more is better. One of the things I appreciate about Chase is the simplicity. Each question for reflection is weighed in light of a biblical truth –one-by-one, side-by-side. It causes me to pause and absorb the weight of truth instead of skimming over the surface of a page full of verses. Although Chase is interactive and reflective, it stands no chance of navel gazing because each idea is examined in light of God’s perspective.
Later,I will have more to say about this study, which I received from Thomas Nelson for review, but for now, this week, as we look to the Person and Moment that gives us our identity, I’m enjoying the light glinting off the biblical truths about who I am because of Christ.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!—1 John 3:1
Thank you for taking time to come by. It is my heart and prayer each time I write that someone stopping here would be encouraged about the Lord's unfailing love and perfect purpose in your life.