Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sorry, I'm Just Me

I have been a sports fan all of my life. My favorite sport as a kid (and now) was baseball, but my friends and I played whatever team sport was in season (besides hockey - no ice in KC). We would emulate the stars of the day as we played the game. Yaz's batting stance, Dwight Clark's catch, Magic's passing, etc. It was fun as a kid to pretend to be as good as those stars were. Of course, if we could master their skills, maybe, just maybe, we would play in the pros. But no matter how much I played like someone else, unless my own skills were good enough I would never play professionally. And now in my mid-40's the haven't becomes a won't. But that is ok, because I am still learning to be me. More specifically, I am learning to become the me God wants me to be.

Why do I bring this up? If you have been on Facebook at all in the last 6 months, there seems to be a daily "What __________ are you (or are you most like)? What Disney character? What movie star? What cartoon character? What character in (name your tv series here)? What type of flower? What flavor of ice cream? What planet? What kind of dog? Even what disciple are you? Etc. (Ok, some of those may not exist yet, but they will soon enough.) Forgive me for saying it, but I am none of the above. I am sorry, but I am just me.

Really, these are harmless quizzes. But they also represent a reality that most people are unhappy with who they are and might choose another option if they could. (I am not suggesting all people that take these quizzes have this thought, but I bet a majority do). Consider the nature of selfies and photo-bombs...we want to be important enough to be in a picture, even if the picture is not about us. And how often do people try to get a picture with an established star (sports, movie, music, etc)? Why? To say they met someone. Ok, I am guilty, but for what gain? To prove that I am important enough to rub elbows with a certain person or group. Again, for some this is a hobby, but for others it is about feeling better about themselves. But, like the idea of quizzes, finding our identity in such a manner is not real...it is ill-conceived, and it is potentially damaging to our true psyche (in extreme circumstances).

Of course, none of us should be content with who we are. As a follower of Jesus, I know that I am in a fallen state. Sin has impacted me and I am not who I should be, nor can I be - apart from the grace of God. And yet, even with God's grace, I am inadequate to fulfill His plans for me because of recurring sin. My development (and yours) is a process. And a looonnnngggg process at that. And yet the quiz to know who I am is right before me. I can take it at any time. It is in the Bible. What Andy Braams am I? Am I the Andy Braams who loves others as he loves himself? Uh, no. Am I the Andy Braams who never has any other gods before the one true and living God? Uh, no. You get the idea.

But most won't take such a quiz. Why? We won't like the results (and they aren't made into cute online quizzes). Yet, each person must understand that even the quizzes taken to reveal their character/animal/plant/etc, means more limitations would be placed on them than might otherwise be considered. You want to be a dog - ok, your legs will be much shorter, you will not be feeding yourself, and it will be much more difficult to use a normal toilet. How about a flower? Hmmm....short life span, no movement, and watch out for lawnmowers. And lest we forget, our favorite tv/movie characters had flaws which often made us laugh at them (sometimes because we can't laugh at ourselves even though we relate too closely to the character). Again, you get the idea.

But, some of you may be thinking, "Oh, Andy, you are taking this too far." Ok, sure. But if we would focus more on what God wants us to be than on what Facebook says we might be like, I would venture to say our life would be better - and it would reflect what we truly want for our lives, rather than the fantasy that we know is not possible. ("Look what flower I am!" Really?)

So, should you quit taking these quizzes? No, what do I care if you take them or not? But as you do take them, consider the deeper reason you want to take the quiz. Do you really need (want) to know what Star Wars character you are (hint, it is very unlikely anyone reading this was a part of the actual cast - so you really aren't a character!)? How will knowing change your life?

But knowing and following God's plan for your life will have REAL implications. A real difference can truly be made not only in your life, but in the lives of others as well - as you relate to them. Ultimately, each of us must remember that we are not yet the person God wants us to be. And it doesn't take a Facebook quiz to figure that out.

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