by Loryn Smith
“The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” Tim Keller, The Reason for God
Culture defines me by my appearance…by my looks, by my “outside.” This leaves me with a culturally acceptable, but false self-view. Who I am is not how I look. Who I am is not what I “do.” To be defined by my performance puts my identify at consistent risk…everything I do/don’t do, every physical change redefines me. If I gain five pounds, am I less acceptable? If I have new wrinkles, am I less valuable? If I don’t have a “power” career, am I less than those around me? How about if I am “just” a mom?
I can also define myself by my relationships: Who I am depends on others’ acceptance of me. Now I’m on a slippery slope—real life says that at some point someone will be upset with me. Do I lose who I am? This approach holds others responsible to be my own personal mirror, defining who I am. This is not only risky for me, but it is also a burden too heavy for others to carry. The result is that pleasure, approval, reputation, and power become addictive and my life-pursuit.
To find an accurate definition of who I am I must know my “God-story.” Knowing Him and what He has done in my life allows me to heal from past traumas and pain and provides a mirror that will show a true reflection of my image. It is about using God’s mirror—the reflection that says, “I am forgiven, accepted, beautiful and have been gifted with Christ’s perfect record and reputation;” “It is not who I am, it is who He is in and through me.” When I use God’s mirror, the reflection is beautiful because I see myself as God sees me: Covered in the Blood of Jesus and immensely valuable, cherished, and having a place to belong. Who I am = Who I am because of Who He is!
Loryn Smith is the mom of 14 children, 9 grandchildren, and is the director of Woven Basket, a Christian adoption agency. She is passionate about the call in James 1:27 to care for widows and orphans, and loves to help Christians find their role in fulfilling this call. Loryn loves to travel, read and spend rare alone time with her husband, Thad.