The Remedy for our Misplaced Identity
That’s all he wanted – one look at his Santa hat.
It had been a rough December night. At dinner earlier that evening, and against my better judgment, I had let our kids choose between drinking Sprite and Mr. Pibb. (Yes, I know the caffeine content, hence the bad night.)
The kids were put to bed at 8:00pm, and at 11:12pm my third child, Jonathan, was still humming, playing with nutcrackers, and calling out to me to come see something in his room.
“I can’t, Jonathan,” I called back to him.
“Why not? I want to show you something. I’m afraid I’ll mess it up when I am sleeping,” he pleaded.
“If I come,” I reasoned, “I am teaching you it is okay to make demands and disobey.” I had told him repeatedly not to call out demands. Again, I know reasoning with a six-year-old late at night is not the best option, but I wasn’t going to be speaking on parenting anytime soon, so I thought I would be okay.
I took a deep breath and walked into his room. He had placed his Santa hat on the bed, formed so it looked like a face, with the edge of it open like a mouth. Truth be told, it really did look like an open-mouthed silly face. In that moment, I had a choice: to explain again the importance of obedience, the reasons to tell the truth, and the importance of sleep…or to affirm his creativity.
On this night, I chose to appreciate his silly face, tell him it really did look like a person, and give him a big hug. After saying good night, I didn’t hear another peep from him and, after further checking, I found my little boy fast asleep. All he needed was just one look from Mom.
Look at the Promises
Isn’t that what we all want? Just one look? Just one word of affirmation that tells us we are on the right track? Just one praise that our Pinterest-inspired essert tasted just as good as it looked? Just one word of hope telling us that God is still with us when our mother is dying of cancer?
How I need to remember that only God can fill my heart with his approval, so that I need not look to anyone else for something only he can give.
Nothing comforts me more than knowing that Jesus completely understands how hard it is to fight the lies in our heads, the lies that tell us we need others to validate our identity. A brilliant Scripture verse reminds us of this truth:
Because [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
It is comforting to think that the Son of God stood against the wilderness whispers of the enemy, which told him he needed more affirmation. And Jesus never asks us to do something he wasn’t willing to do, himself.
Through a deeper study of God’s Word, I am being reminded over and over that God does indeed look and see me. In the Psalms, it says I am the apple of his eye:
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:8)
In Jeremiah, he tells me he has plans just for me:
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
And in the Song of Solomon, he calls me his beloved.
Look in the Word
We need only to know that our identity is in Christ, so that our need for others’ approval will lessen and lessen every day. These are the promises and the truth that Christ gives us in his Word. In order to fill our hearts and mind with these truths, we need to read and meditate on the Bible.
Won’t you try it with me? All we have to do is open the Word and look.
Thank you, Father, for giving us your Word so that we can find encouragement and joy to fill us and remind us that we are yours. Thank you for giving us more than just one look but an everlasting reminder that you see us at all times, that our identity is in you and you alone.