Whenever three-year-old Ava walks through our front door, I ask her that question. “Who are you?” It’s an answer I know before she says a word. All I have to do is look at her hair.
One braid means she’s Princess Elsa, two braids means she’s Princess Anna, a braid with a twist and pretty bows says Ava is Fancy Nancy, and no braids mean that she is Rapunzel. Because “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair” is a real thing for this little bookworm.
Every morning Ava’s momma lifts her to the bathroom vanity and faces her toward the mirror. As she combs through her daughter’s long, blonde hair, Ava decides who she wants to be that day, which is a fun game for princess-loving preschoolers. But can be a trap of the enemy for grown-ups who are searching to define themselves—Who am I? Do I matter? Where do I belong?
Where is the first place you look when you see yourself in the mirror?
When I asked my husband Mike, he said, “My hair.”
“What?! Your hair?” I asked. “Why do you want to look at your hair?”
“I don’t know,” he said. I believed him.
He then flipped the question back to me. “Where’s the first place you look?”
“My hips,” I said.
Mike knows how I can have some Jesus-loves-me-NOT thoughts about my hips, so he wondered why I would want to look there first?
Good question. Because I like starting my day off crabby and discouraged? And there’s the trap of the enemy: I am my appearance. I am how I look.
Girls and women living this identity lie come in all shapes and sizes. Some weigh their worth on the bathroom scale, others are obsessed with fashion—their closets are full, but they have nothing to wear. And some take longer to filter their photos than to post them—agonizing over their appearances in real life and through the screen.
The lie that we are how we look is just one of the schemes of the enemy. Other places people seek identity is in their positions, platforms, performance, possessions, and popularity. Whatever the identity trap, it’s a lie that will kill, steal, and destroy whenever we decide who we want to be instead of remembering who we already are.
In Christ, we have a new identity. In Christ, we have new names. You are Accepted (Romans 15:7), Beautiful (Song of Songs 4:7), Chosen (John 15:16), Delighted in (Psalm 18:19), and more. These names aren’t the trendy, temporary girl-power catchphrases we see on t-shirts and tattoos. This is who we really are!
1 John 3:1 (NIV) says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” When we see what God sees—his unending, unshakeable, and unchanging love, and see who we really are—his dearly loved children, it changes everything.
May we stop looking in the mirror to determine who we want to be, and instead look to God’s Word to see the truth about who we already are in him.
Who are YOU? Write down one of your God-given, truth-filled names on a sticky note and keep it close today. Need a place to begin? Read the book of Ephesians.
Lenae seeks to see God’s grace on gravel roads and other dusty places. She lives with her husband, Mike, on a Minnesota grain and livestock farm when she enjoys reading, time with grand littles, and early-morning runs on gravel roads. As a speaker and writer, she counts it a privilege to strengthen hearts by grace. Please say hello at lenaebulthuis.com.