Saturday, January 15, 2011

Unique

Today my son decided we needed a family website. He’d seen his uncle create one for their family and took on the task of producing one for ours. For this undertaking, he needed information from each member of our family. I listened as he started with my husband, going down a list of questions I knew were headed my way next: favorite color, favorite food, favorite song, favorite book, favorite quotation, and so on.

My turn came, and I was still searching for answers. I tried giving “many” for my answer, but was quickly told to pick just one. “Come on, Mom, just pick something.” And so I dutifully did then went on with my morning. As I busied myself with Saturday tasks, I kept thinking about how I couldn’t just rattle off my favorites – you know, the things that make me unique. Twenty years ago I could have easily told him one answer to each of his questions. Definitively. Without thinking. And proudly so. Much like I’d heard him and his siblings give their answers. Why was that, I thought?

As I pondered it, God began to speak to me. I looked back at myself twenty years ago and stumbled upon a realization. Yes, I could have told you quirky things about myself, easily answered all those defining questions because those little things were what I felt made me stand out. I made those choices; like red as my favorite color, Mountain Dew drinker, Broadway enthusiast, lover of all Faith Hill songs, hater of red meat, etc….because it was how I defined myself, how I stood apart, what I felt made me, well….me.

Isn’t that what we too often do in life? Define ourselves by the choices we make? (And sometimes, the poor decisions we’ve made seem to write the definition of our lives; but that’s for another day. ) However, only one choice should define us – our decision to follow Christ. In fact, that choice should begin to define all the other ones in our lives.

God created us to be unique. First, as a Christian we are called to be IN the world, not OF it. He didn’t make us to blend in, but rather to stand out just as a light on a hill, shining in the darkness for others to see (Matthew 5:14). And here’s the second part, the best part; we are even supposed to stand out from other Christians. He didn’t make us all alike – instead He uniquely crafted each and every one of us with loving hands for a purpose made exclusively just for us.

This is what I then realized. As children we make decisions to separate ourselves from our parents and from others. It’s all part of growing up, but hopefully we don’t stay there. Hopefully we are praying and seeking God’s plan for our lives. When we do, a funny thing starts to happen. We begin to make choices to draw nearer to our Heavenly Father and in doing so, our unique qualities begin to show. The desires of your heart, the ones He created you specifically with, start to surface. The deeper you dig, the more they rise up. And it’s an amazing process.

Suddenly, you don’t need to make a decision to stand away from the crowd, doing something you may not be comfortable with just to be different. Instead, you begin to find your worth in Christ. You make choices from the seed He’s planted in your heart so that it can burst forth, full of life. And then, you start to stand out, glowing with the light and confidence that can only be found in Christ. You’re comfortable in your own skin. Even when doing something you never thought you'd do. There's a confidence that's found when you stand out in Christ. You see yourself through His eyes – and that’s a beautiful picture.

So, yes, I still love the color red. I still love Broadway and even can be caught listening to Faith Hill. I just don’t define myself by those things, they are simply ‘likes’ I have. Overtime I’ve adopted more and given up on others – I’ll gobble down a juicy steak any day! But the “likes” that I’m allowing to make me unique, the ones that I hope will someday define me, have been discovered in finding who I am in Christ. Desires that were interests running just under the surface of my life, and the deeper I’ve gotten in Christ the more they bubble forth. Like writing. Like my deep desire to study God’s Word. My longing that everyone can know God’s amazing love. My heart for the broken. And realizing that I was created to use all these desires, and use them differently than the person next to me.

What is going to define you one day? What are your God-given desires? Are you just discovering them? Are you willing to step forth in them? To hone them and grow in them? To allow them to (just maybe) pull you out of your comfort zone? Wow, that’s a lot of questions! But ones we need to be asking ourselves. Because you were created for a unique purpose – isn’t it time to figure out what that was?