Who am I?

November 26, 2012

This may come as a surprise, but I don’t always look like my Facebook profile picture. It’s shocking, I know. In fact, not only was I careful in choosing my profile photo, I have (on occasion) been known to untag myself from a particularly unflattering photo that makes me look like I still have 10 pounds of baby weight to lose (which I do) or a double chin (which, from a certain angle and depending on how hard I’m laughing, I do).

To me, Facebook is sort of an alternate reality. I’d like to think it’s the Glamour Shots version of real life. Yes, that’s me. And yes, those are things I’m doing, places I’m going, people I’m seeing and things I’m thinking. But in the grand scheme of life, the “me” you see on Facebook is just a small, minor part of who I am.

In fact, I hesitate to admit this, but I’m not usually that Profile Picture Woman. I don’t always wash my hair, and sometimes I even forget to brush my teeth. My children are just as likely to have food in their hair or snotty noses as they are to look cute. My husband and I sometimes fight, my children can be bratty, I sometimes resent the amount of time I spend in the kitchen making healthy meals for my family, I’m constantly trying to catch up with my to-do list, and sometimes I just plain don’t feel good enough.

Who am I, really? Ask Google, and in .16 seconds, you will get 3,210,000,000 answers. Gulp. The world has plenty of things to say about who I really am, and it attempts to define me daily. It’s hard to measure up to the world’s expectations, much less my own.

The problem, I think, is me. I don’t want to simply act like a good friend, I really want to be one. I don’t want to go through the motions of being a good mom, I want to live as one. I don’t want to try to succeed at life and love and faith, I want to do it. So how does that happen? How can I be intentional in the way I live out my life?

I was thinking about that recently on my way home from the salon. My best friend and I have birthdays spaced just a few weeks apart, so as a treat to ourselves, we get a pedicure together every year to celebrate. She is the kind of person who lets me vent, doesn’t judge me if my children misbehave in her presence, and could care less if I don’t put on makeup before she arrives to visit me in my own up-close-and-personal version of “Hoarders.” When we met up for pedicures, we talked nonstop for an hour and a half, drank copious amounts of coffee in the salon and cried a little over the hard things in life in the parking lot.

That is true friendship.

Am I a good friend? I’d like to think so. I try to encourage my friends, see them often enough to keep in touch, know details of their lives and be willing to share my own, give love and comfort and accept it from them on days when I need it, too.

But I also know that I’ve let friendships lapse. I’ve forgotten to call people back. I’ve gotten too busy with my life, my children, my obligations and forgotten to check in with people who need me. I’ve blown people off. I’ve let people down.

Since I know my own faults, I think that there’s a part of me that feels that somehow, somewhere, God is measuring me, too – and finding me lacking. That’s why I loved it when I saw this list online:

- Jacob was a cheater.
- Peter had a temper.
- David had an affair.
- Noah got drunk.
- Jonah ran from God.
- Paul was a murderer.
- Gideon was insecure.
- Miriam was a gossiper.
- Martha was a worrier.
- Thomas was a doubter.
- Elijah was moody.
- Moses stuttered.
- Zaccheus was short.
- Abraham was old.
- And Lazarus was dead.

No offense, but that doesn’t sound like the “Heroes of the Faith” I remember from Sunday School. But why shouldn't it? When we weigh the balance of our lives, why do we struggle so much with giving ourselves a measure of grace? After all, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, or even anywhere close to perfect. Like any good parent, he knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows that my Facebook profile is only one small slice of who I am, and he loves me unconditionally even on the days when my attitude and actions are simply ugly.

Instead of the condemnation I no doubt deserve for the ingrained selfishness I struggle daily to overcome, God’s response is to take me by the hand, hold me close to himself and call me his beloved child. So let me rephrase – instead of asking who I am, let's consider instead: Who does God say that I am? Here’s just a fraction of another list I saw online:

I am God’s child. (John 1:12)
I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:15)
I am free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1-2)
I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22)
I am confident that the good work God has started in me will be completed. (Philippians 1:6)
I have been chosen to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
I am God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
I can approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Who am I? I am free, forgiven, loved, accepted, and called to live a specific life in a certain way. (And that’s just the short list.) That’s who I am. 


  1. LOVE ... LOVE ... LOVE!!!!!

  2. Thank you for this reminder. Awesome post today!