OK, so my daughter has been in New Zealand for over 2 months, (I am quite impressed she hasn’t come back yet!). We have been left with the honor of looking after her beloved babies – dogs, Sam and Jake.
To tell you the truth, I am not really a dog person, but before I get denounced by a whole portion of the population, I have to say that I have grown to love our dogs, who are now truly part of our family.
The thing with dogs, they are just being what they are….. dogs. I of course am trying to make them a bit more human. For example, in the morning when the dogs are let out, they stay at the front of our house guarding the territory, by responding to every movement and noise that they perceive. It naturally leads to a lot of barking. Whilst I know they are doing their job, I do get annoyed with it all, as it seems to interrupt the peace at the most inconvenient moment. Whenever I go out to inspect the situation, expecting some intruder with a big hacksaw, I am relieved (and slightly disappointed) to see a cat, slinging off past our fence
It has got to the point where Sam, our golden retriever, barks at anything, even when I am parking the car from coming in after an errand. The whole family could be in the car, and yet he still feels the compulsion to let me know. ‘Who is he barking at? I know I am back home!’ Yet still without fail, Sam cannot help but be himself.
This takes me onto my next point, we are who we are. We cannot be anyone else, because we would be lying to ourselves. The problem is we often try to be different, either by fitting in to be more acceptable or because someone has influenced us to become something we are not. Eventually, the internal battle that happens, has an outcome. Whether we learn it early in life or later, we have to face facts, we are who we are. God made us to be that way, true to ourselves and actually, even if everyone else doesn’t like us, God loves how he made us, with our personality, body, mind and heart. Isn’t it amazing that there is only one you? And you have the job of just that, being YOU!
Sometimes the world will tell us that we have to change before we can even get anyone to love us, or even people in the church have made us conform to believing that unless we clean up ourselves, God is not interested. That of course is the biggest lie of all! There is nothing that you do that is so off-putting to God, and there is nothing that you can do to make God love you more. He loves you regardless of whether you love him back or not. Whether you are clean or dirty, loving or hateful, nice or nasty. In his eyes we are all the same. We are who we are.
Does that mean that we cannot change things about ourselves? That is an entirely different question all together. In fact, it is secondary to our actual nature and personality inside. It is about us accepting and becoming our true identity, a child of God.
Jesus, was a man, and yet God (hard to get my head round that!). He knew who he was. People think of him as this meek and mild man that walked this earth with sandals and long flowing hair (if you agree with the biased stained glass windows). But he was more that image, the world and the church want to present. He stepped out of the stained glass windows, that we put him in and became a human being in every way we are now. So if anyone is to understand about who they are, it is Jesus. Even though he gave up his place in heaven and came to earth, he never forgot that he was and is the Son of God. When you know your identity, then no matter what circumstances are around you, it cannot change your perspective.
My head understands this, but my heart is the one part of me that finds it hard to accept, and there lies the problem. We have this daily battle between what our head says and what our heart feels. At 48, I still struggle with self-image and esteem but I am learning to listen less to the standards people put on me, even my own view of myself and listen to the one opinion that counts, God’s. Hard work but worth it!
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. (Romans 8:15-17 MSG)