Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pink Pants, Purple Pencils, and Who I Am in Christ

I've been having a very minor identity crisis lately. Blame it on my abrupt attack on nearly every area of life, but my generally introspective, perfectionistic self is in hyper self-examination mode right now. My hair, my clothes, my priorities, my diet, my time management, my spiritual life, my habits, my dresser name it, and I'm thinking about how it is, how to make it better, and how it makes me who I am.

Strangely, we tend to define ourselves by things that can change: our looks, our hobbies, our preferences. I find it interesting to realize how mine have evolved through the years. Ten years ago, I had just rebuilt my wardrobe of flare leg jeans after a few years of wearing gigantic (and by most standards, ridiculous looking) wide-leg jeans that dragged on the ground. In the past few years, I have been wearing skirts pretty much all the time. In recent months, I discovered yoga pants, and now I don't want to wear anything else. (My mom will tell you that I have always been this loyal to my own fashion and hairstyle trends...just ask about the turtlenecks of 5th and 6th grade!)

5th grade, year of turtlenecks and big hair bows

I grew up being the girl who liked blue while my little sister had everything pink. In my teen years, I realized that I liked green just as much, and blue and green together were the best. This Crayola-combination is still one of my favorites, but recently, I've been a little obsessed with pink. Having a baby girl or two certainly helped, as did the gift from my husband of a distinctly girly pink-and-black gun. Then I requested a pink and black tool set, in hopes that Don would not steal (and consequently lose) my tools. (I was totally wrong about that, by the way - he always uses my tools now, because they come in such a handy and convenient tool case. He does put them back though!) Since then, I have acquired a bright pink camera, blow dryer, bow and arrow, tote bag, and bathrobe for my expanding collection of fun and feminine items. Oh, and I have two pairs of pink yoga pants!

I could go on and on about how my quirks have changed to fit my husband's preferences and my own evolving life. Ten years ago I wouldn't touch red meat; now our favorite place to go is the Longhorn Steakhouse for the Flo's Filet. I ate a bowl of Breyer's every night until last summer, when I got hooked on Shakeology and haven't bought ice cream since. I thought guns were scary; now my husband suggests a date to the gun show and I respond with enthusiasm. I thought exercise was taking the stairs instead of the elevator; now I do hour-long workouts and lift heavy weights. I loved snuggling other people's babies. Now I still love babies, but I'm usually too busy holding my own to pick up any others.

This isn't my gun...not yet, anyway. ;)
I was scoping out pink weapons at the gun show,
and this AR was pretty cute!

It is tempting to find my unique self-worth as a girl who loves pink (or green, or blue), and skirts (or jeans, or turtlenecks), and babies (yours, mine, or the unknown orphans in a foreign country). But I thank God that though the world sees only these external things, they are not what really count. Who am I to the Lord Jesus? He doesn't put me in categories like "homeschool mama," "wife who works out," or "pink girl." My value is not in my possessions or preferences or even my performance. It's in Him.

Studying Ephesians has been really helpful with understanding this concept. I have a color-coded system (yes, another quirk) for how I underline verses in my (pink) Bible, and purple is the color for verses that answer the question, "Who am I in Christ?" Ephesians 1 is chock full of purple verses. I recommend that you read this whole passage, because if you are a believer, it applies to you too:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.

In Christ, I am chosen - predestined to be one of His own since before the foundation of the world. In Christ, I am forgiven - every ugly thought and word and deed is wiped clean. I was a slave to sin, but I am redeemed by His blood. I am not alone; I am adopted into His forever family. And in Christ, I have confidence, because I am sealed with the Holy Spirit.

As fun as they may be, my pink pants do not make me special. I am special to God because He chose me to be His own. My true identity lies not in the colors of my wardrobe, but in the purple-lined verses that remind me: I can only find my true worth, satisfaction, and peace in the perfect love and saving work of Christ Jesus.

My favorite pink things

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