Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Identity Theft

San Jacinto College has an advertisement out with the catch phrase, "Invent yourself." I know what that means. But it causes me to think (always dangerous.)

We really do love to invent ourselves. We buy stuff to make ourselves accepted or cool. We dress in a way to make impressions on others. We will do what our peers are doing in order to be liked and not be too unpalatable. We hold our tongue, leaving a false impression, because we know that our expression will get us into trouble. Fads give us an outlet to see if, underneath our exterior, lies a jewel of a person that universally would be acknowledged as such.

But God says, "I knew you in your mother's womb" (Jer. 1:5.) Literally, God is saying, "Hey, I thought you up and it was one of my better moments, thank you very much!" Parenthetically (probably in a thought bubble so as not to upset us,) God says to himself, "Why won't you believe me?"

We invent (reinvent) ourselves because we let others define us. We are always looking for outside approval. And we love to judge, rank, order others. I remember my first day at college when I realized that none of these people knew my past and I can be anyone I want to be. I shed one false identity that was thrust on me in high school due to my average looks and athletic ability. High school was a Darwinian experiment of natural selection.

Being liberated I did what any "intelligent" person would do. I made up my own identity to thrust upon myself. One I knew would be a hit with my peers. As a result, I drank my way through college on a poker scholarship. My choice for me was WORSE than the one I was issued in high school.

At 27, after multiple identities, I sought out God, more as a last resort. We never rest in peace until we come to the realization that no identity works except the one given by God. And we learn that no peace comes to life until we learn to embrace the beauty and miracle of ourselves, raw and unvarnished.

God knew what he was doing when he made you. You are the most beautiful thing he ever laid eyes on. Just you. No inventions. This is not an exercise in ego-centrism. It is one of theo-centrism.

 Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
       and who seek the LORD :
       Look to the rock from which you were cut
       and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

 look to Abraham, your father,
       and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
       When I called him he was but one,
       and I blessed him and made him many.
 The LORD will surely comfort Zion
       and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
       he will make her deserts like Eden,
       her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
       Joy and gladness will be found in her,
       thanksgiving and the sound of singing. Isaiah 51:1-3 (NIV)

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