There has been a lot of heaviness on this blog. Postings full of rough, mucky, difficult things. I love those rough, mucky things. Because grit and sand are a lot like dust. And Dust we were formed with, and grit and sand keep on reforming us. But life is not all sadness. And so because I am a firm believer in the smile, today I present you with: a post full of happy.
2 years ago I had my first boyfriend. Sort of. I like to say I’ve had 1 ½ boyfriends. And not because one may or may not have been half my size when I wore heels. One was official, and one was merely a series of month long dates that never culminated in an official title. But that one that had the title of boyfriend ended up convincing me to cut my hair 4 months into our officiality. And cut it I did. That hair I had, that hair I loved went from the middle of my back to the middle of my ears.
And I hated it.
I will never forget being spun around to reveal the final product and reminding myself in my head to smile ever so politely (it is the southern way) so as not to hurt the poor cosmetologists feelings. I hated it. And I have spent the past 2 years growing it back out. Back to the middle of my back, back to me.
So today when my roommate looked at me and said that I look like the Bethany she first met, my heart swelled. And I immediately looked in the mirror and began to run my fingers through my finally long enough hair. It was me. I was me.
But this post isn’t about hair. At least, not fully about hair. This post is about me. And about you. About who culture says we must be and who we ourselves say we must be. And who we really are.
The fluidity of those sentences was not: who culture says we must be, who we ourselves say we must be, and who the Bible says we must be.
Because as it is, the Bible says many ways in which we should act, or think, or live. But the Bible doesn’t say who we have to be. Because we have already been defined. We are what we are. Not because we have slowly evolved with the culture, or because we try to bring out our fantasy pseudo selves. We are who we are because our definition preceded our creation.
We are man. We are created in His image. We are created in His likeness.
Not because we want to be. Not because we try to be. But because we are.
And that to me is a happy thing. Because I am who I am and I cannot be anything else. He created me to be His. To be in His likeness and His image, and when I am fully myself I am merely reflecting that truth, reflecting the freedom that He placed in me when He whispered life into me. He saw me, kicking about in my blood, in my muck, in this death grip of definitions the world has strung onto me. And those definitions I laid in, those definitions that would lead me only to death, were no match for Him. So once again He spoke, spoke the truth about who I was and this time He only used one word: Live.
And do you know what happened to me. To you. We grew. We grew like plants of the field and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels.
You see, this world is always trying to convince us that to have value we must market ourselves as something new, improved, fancy, shiny. They tell us that that is how we will get our worth, that is how we will find ourselves. But we don’t need to find ourselves. We have already been found.
He found us in that field. He spoke our definition, our identity. You are who you are because you are in His likeness. And when you let yourself be you, and not who you feel you must be, you are reflecting the image of the one you were created for. And when you reflect who He is, you reflect who you are. And that is a happy thing.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1: 26-27, ESV
Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!” I made you grow like the plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels.
Ezekiel 16: 6-7, NIV