All You'll Ever Be Is What You Already Are
I'm not good at structure or schedules or calendars. I can never find anything. I'm never on time. I regularly discover leftover pancakes in the silverware drawer or ice cream in the pantry.
Motivation to change comes from the usual suspects. I just received the January issue of what my mother-in-law calls "Better Homes than Yours." It promises to help me get organized. Then there's Pinterest which, if you don't know, is like a whole generation of Martha Stewarts showing you how wonderful they are at weaving baskets from natural grasses and making their own laundry detergent.
And let's not forget the mommy blogs: there's Design Mom and Activity Mom, Organized Mom and Fit Mom, Money-Saving Mom and Peace Love Organic Mom. I sometimes I find myself wanting to scream, "Can I be all of them?"
All these voices conspire to make me feel like a failure and tempt me to find my identity in what I can accomplish. And if I'm honest, that's what New Year's resolutions often are: a search for identity. Who will I be in this New Year? How will I be different this year than last?
These questions have implications for more than just my habits. How do I address areas of sin in my life? How do I change in a way that brings glory to God?
It is natural and healthy to spend time reflecting at year’s end and dreaming about the year to come. It's also natural and healthy to want to change. But while it is important that we change, it is equally important why we change. If we are searching for identity in anything other than the cross of Christ, the results will be either pride or despair (or if you’re me, some contradictory combination of both). Any success becomes a breeding ground for self-justification and any failure a reason for discouragement.
In his book You Can Change, Tim Chester writes, “Trying to impress God, others, or ourselves…makes change all about my looking good. It is done for my glory. And that’s pretty much the definition of sin. Sin is living for my glory instead of God’s.”
Change that honors God has at its root a desire to glorify Him, not to feel better about myself. So often I strive for an identity based on my own accomplishments, when who I truly am results from what has already been accomplished on my behalf. My identity is anchored in that. He loves me no more when I succeed than when I fail because that love is based on Jesus' work, not mine. This frees me to work from his approval of me rather than for it, and helps me rest in Him when I can't seem to get my act together.
In truth, I will always be a mess. I hopefully won't be one in all the same ways I am today, but I will always need his grace. Fortunately, my standing with Him doesn't change with how successful I am at keeping my New Year's resolutions. Who I am is always anchored in who He says I am.
All I will ever be is what I already am--His beloved child.