I stared at my reflection in the mirror. The image that stared back was different than the one other people seemed to see. Inside, behind those eyes, was more…so much more. I knew I was plain. The world had made that perfectly clear, but the problem wasn’t my reflection so much as my inability to self- identify.
Over the years I had heard over and over again that our identity was found in Christ Jesus; that purpose came from living for God and bringing him honor. I didn’t doubt it. But that wasn’t the problem either. My problem was that I didn’t know who I was, or at least I didn’t know how to explain who I was, even to myself.
My friends could describe themselves in ways I could not. I never had favorites. “Favorite” is a term I’ve adopted to describe my current loves, but I don’t have true favorites. I don’t have a favorite color, a favorite animal, a favorite book, a favorite band, movie, author, subject, food…I don’t have favorites. I might as well try to pick a favorite star in the sky! On any given day I may say my favorite color is crimson red, or purple, or yellow. I might tell you that I love pizza best, or taquitos, or baked potatoes. I might tell you my preferred creature is a ladybug or a turtle. It’s possible I could tell you that my favorite hobby is painting, snowboarding, reading, drinking coffee, or perhaps writing. I might tell you that what I like best is being with people…except for when I need to be alone.
I can’t tell you what I am specifically passionate about either. If you ask me what my passions are, I am overcome with the endless number of possible answers, but what I can tell you is that…
I don’t know.
Deep inside is, actually, an eclectic love of many things. I don’t know what I am most passionate about, but I’d be excited to talk with you about black holes, the lifespan of a turtle, the fact that ladybugs are opportunists, the law of gravity, puppy training, and Jesus (to name a few things.) I can’t tell you what I like best to eat, but I can tell you that what matters is that I get to eat with you. I may not be able to tell you my favorite color or my “life verse” from the Bible, but I am excited by the opportunity to tell you about God and to share how he is at work in my life.
I can tell you that I love coffee, but I can’t tell you what type or flavor I like best. I can’t tell you who or what I am because…
What I kept deep inside, for so many years was that I am all of it. I am a jack of all trades and a master of none. I am a multipotentialite and an avid learner. I am passionate about everything; all of it, at the same time. I am dedicated to painting when painting is called for, reading when reading is called for, building when building is called for, creating when creating is called for, helping when helping is called for, and researching when researching is called for. Nothing is out of reach and yet…everything is.
And there I am, gazing into the mirror, wondering what actually defines me, when I can’t even tell you what my favorite things are. A crisis of identity arises in the swirl or thoughts while the face in the mirror furors her brows.
And then in the quiet, a gentle whisper breathes, “You are mine.” And there is rest in that. Rest in knowing that my identity truly does come from someone deep enough and vast enough to see and hold the entire universe in his hand. And even if I am a builder, writer, student, wife, mother, researcher, minister, gardener, and a teacher on any given day, the one thing that always remains true is that I am a Christian. Even if my favorite color is different today than yesterday, my faith in God is not. Faith is the anchor of my soul, strengthened by other anchored voices of hope, and that is who I am. That is my identity: I am a believer, I am a vessel of hope, and I am God’s.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10