Most of my life people have known me as the singer. Everywhere I went I was introduced as the girl with the beautiful voice. My parents introduced me as their daughter, my brothers call me their sister. Others call me short, extroverted, the Cincinnati girl, and a few select people call me friend. All of these are how society identifies me. Talents, relationships, geographical locations, and physical descriptions are what the world sees when they look at Laura Joy Bothwell.
As much as we are IN this world, God has called us to not be OF this world. So let’s stop and think about this for a second. The world may have its shallow margin of identification, but our God is infinite. So, how might our Lord identify us?
The word that comes to my mind is children. Many times in scriptures we are called His children.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
So, as believers, if we are God’s children, what does that say of our identity? What does it mean to be a child, or childlike, in our faith?
As I think of what this means, I am reminded of Christmas morning. My brother and I would be out of bed the moment the sun was up. The excitement was beyond words. We knew before we even entered the room that it would be filled with everything we had every hoped for and more. As we opened our gifts in search of the ones we asked for, we would come across others that Mom and Dad had picked out that were not on our list, like clothes. Lots and lots of clothes. We would smile gratefully, but continue our search for the ones we wanted. Of course, we didn’t know it then, but the ones we wanted were also ones approved of by our parents.
Some of you may be thinking, how does this apply to us? My story is much like many of yours, but it means so much more than a memory. Think about this for a second. When we approach the throne of God, much like the Christmas tree, we have this excitement and joy that’s bubbling over! We never know what to expect. As we take the gifts He has given us we don’t know what’s inside (or in store). What we learn here is how we approach the surprises. As a child, we approached each gift with excitement! We should approach each circumstance God brings us to with joy. We may not always like what He has for us, but knowing He picked it out and has a purpose for it, even the clothes, should be enough to bring us joy. That’s the best part of childlike-faith. Approaching each new chapter of life with excitement and joy knowing there is something new waiting for you that has been hand-picked by your Father.
This is where I am. This new chapter brings new gifts and circumstances every day and if I’m being honest, I’ve not approached each moment with excitement, but mostly fear. Why? Because I’ve let the world tell me how things will turn out and how I should feel in these moments. I’ve let my infinite God get defined by the worlds shallow margin of identification. It was so wonderful to spend time with my creator today and just laugh. Some of my fondest memories as a child include laughter. Today I was reminded of what it means to be a child of God and to have that childlike faith. When a huge storm would roll in, as a kid I would run to my parents room and they would make me laugh. Among the dangers and darkness, there would be joy. Amid my worries, my fears, my doubts, I began to laugh to the point of tears. That’s what I experienced today. I laughed, to the point of tears, because of my silly worries, fears, and doubts. I laughed because God reminded me of how much bigger he was and it made me giggle. I was comparing a silly fear to my infinite Father. It was pretty rediculous.
I encourage you to approach each new journey with joy, knowing that our God is so much bigger than anything we will encounter and He has intentions for what He has given us.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
So then, what is my new, not-of-this-world identity in Christ?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
We are children. We are children who are called to live each day, by faith, knowing God has a plan and a purpose. So who am I? I am a child of the One True King. Taking each day and each circumstance as a new gift from my creator.