When I was in middle school, plastic butterfly clips were all the rage. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t look the same in my frizzy orange hair (because, Sun-In!) as they did on the (real) blonde whose mom was a professional hair stylist. Back then, I would have murdered a whole basketful of kittens in cold, cold blood just to own the identity of “pretty girl who rocks butterfly clips.” But instead, I looked like this.
Why my loving mother would think it okay to (distractedly) cut my bangs with the kitchen scissors when I was a middle schooler with that face is something I will never understand. Something else I will never understand is why I thought that the perfect, essence-capturing AOL Instant Messenger name for the person photographed above was GlitteryPomPom.
High school was more of the same, but more about boys than butterfly clips – “cute cheerleader.”
In college, I started getting ambitious and hoping to be successful – “Magna Cum Laude.”
Today, I admire more grown-up titles like “good mom” or “best-selling author.” But truly, not much has changed about the tiny identities I’ve been seeking since middle school.
My longed-for labels might as well be “looks good in butterfly clips” because any self-centered identity is going to leave me in the same place: unfulfilled and unhappy.
Typing out these “lofty” dreams and looking at them is pretty striking. Is that really the best I can do? Butterfly clips? A good career? Being “above average” at momming?
1 John 3:1-2 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 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…”
The only identity that is actually true and actually fulfilling is CHILD. OF. GOD.
We are God’s children. What are children like?
They are weak.
They are dependent.
They copy their parents.
My five-year-old daughter does everything I do. She puts make-up on with me. She wants to help me sweep and wash dishes. She tells me she wants to be a writer like me when she grows up. She finds her identity in being like me.
She BELIEVES what I tell her. She’s not afraid that my mom has cancer or that my grandpa is on his deathbed because she TRUSTS that death isn’t the end for a follower of Christ. She believes that because I told her it was true. She trusts me because I’m her parent and she’s a little child.
When He appears, we WILL be “like Him.” Being God’s little girl – relying on Him, copying Him is the only identity that brings peace, joy, and real fulfillment. It is the only identity that lasts.
I pray that I would find my identity in my perfect Parent the way my five-year-old finds her identity in so-imperfect me!
I pray that all other options would seem as inconsequential as butterfly clips.