Carried under my heart for months and now in my arms, my newborn daughter fascinated me. How the whites of her unfocused eyes were almost blue, her tiny fingernails like pink seashells, the top of her head sweet-scented. The warm weight of her small body held within it all that she was destined to be. This captivated me more than her outward appearance. Who will she grow up to be? How will it be to witness the unfolding of her personality, to celebrate her strengths, to worry about her weaknesses? I had no other agenda for my daughter than to guide her toward faith in God and teach her to be a contributing member of society. How she accomplished this would depend on the revelation of her true self and her response to her Creator. I may have conceived and nurtured her within my body but the seed of her particular identity was still a mystery germinated by Someone Else.
To witness the ongoing revelation of my daughter’s character is joyous, sometimes heart-wrenching, yet always heartening. Does our Father wait in anticipation for His purpose to bloom in us, as a parent watches a child become their true selves? He planted the seed of who we are to become before the world began.
“For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You.” – (Psalm 139:13-14 The Voice)
When God created a unique personality for each human, He lovingly designed traits and talents to be used to bring Him glory. He also gave us the freedom to choose our own path, leading towards Him or away from Him. In John 15 Jesus uses the vivid picture of how we, the branches, need to be implanted in Him, the Vine, in order for His life to nourish the fruit we are designed to produce.
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing.” – (John 15:5)
Our spirit, the essence of who we are, is a given when we are born. Our personality is shaped by genetics, environment and choices. If we choose to ignore the One who reveals Himself in every atom of creation, we sabotage the positive destiny designed for us by God. We become merely self-focused creatures occupied with satisfying our human desires. But when our lives are nurtured by the Vine, His life empowers us to become our true selves, intended to produce fruit pleasing to Him. Our generous God not only uses us to bring Him glory, He lavishes us with joy in the process.
“You direct me on a path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment.” – (Acts 2:28)
There are a thousand masks we may try on, roles we can play, destinies we think we desire, but it is only when we inhabit our true selves as God designed us to be, will we be fulfilled.
“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.
This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
– Brennan Manning