In one horrible moment, as the Chinese train rattled and rocked from side to side, with one false move, my friend dropped her passport right down into the train’s squatty potty.
Anyone who has lived overseas knows there is very little we hold tighter than our passports. We guard it with our very life. And, furthermore, anyone who has lived overseas can also imagine the hygienic nature of that train squatty potty. Passport and potty should never go together.
And there her precious book was – down there. In the squatty potty. On a train. Yeah. Not cool.
Why do we value that little book so much? Really, it’s just a few sheets of paper with some numbers, a photo, and a few stamps inside. Why does it matter if it falls into the toilet?
We value it for many reasons. We value it because it says who we are and where we belong. It identifies our tribe – it tells us who counts us as one of their own. It gives us security, it announces our place, and it provides a source of identity.
Of course, all of us, if asked our identity, would probably not first point to that small book. Our identity is much more than a U. S. citizen, a Canadian, a German.
But, what would we say? Who am I?
I am a mom of four boys. A teacher. A wife. A daughter. A lover of coffee. A reader of books. An overseas worker. A seminary student. A friend.
But, lately I’ve become convinced that so much of our language in the Body of Christ as we identify ourselves, as we talk to one other, as we blog or play or write — it sometimes get a little off course. We slowly drift off-center and our eyes turn inward rather than upward. Who I am becomes what I am doing, what I am accomplishing, what I want to happen in life, what I think is important.
I am convicted that who I am is not really about ME. It is about the One who holds me, the One to whom I belong, body and soul, in life and in death.
It’s about Someone who reached down into a place far more disgusting and revolting than a squatty potty to pull me out, wash me up, and give me a new name, a new identity. This same One willingly set aside his “passport,” moved into the neighborhood, and took on a new identity so that He could give me my real one.
So, I want to be like Paul, who started his letters so often with this identity tag: “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus…” My life is not my own, but was bought with a price.
Can we stop sizing ourselves up by our lists of accomplishments, by how well our kids behave, how successful our work is, how together we have our act, what degree we get, how many relationships we have, the number of Facebook friends on our list, or how many followers we have to our blogs? Can we stop listening to the incessant noise that screams to us that our identity is tied to what we do, and that rivets all eyes on us?
Let the Hero of the story fill the stage. Let HIM be the story we tell. Let Him tell us who we are. Rest in the truth that our identity is not tied to a passport – but even more so, is not tied to anything we can do.
My friend did indeed roll up her sleeves, reach down into the gunk, and rescue her passport from the bowels of the train squatty potty. She knew its value, and couldn’t leave it where it was, no matter what the cost.
We know the One who rolled up His sleeves, reached down into the gunk of our sin, and rescued us from the grip of Satan, death, and even from ourselves. He wouldn’t leave us where we were, no matter what the cost.
And the new identity He gives me can never be lost.
Do you wrestle with your true identity?