Can passion trump identity?

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a charity event downtown with the hubster.  His company sponsored a table at the event, raising funds for kids to go to summer camp.  At first, he didn’t really explain what the fundraising initiative was, just that it was cocktail formal, and we probably needed to go shopping.  Noooooot really my favorite thing, dressing up, but ok, we’d be able to get a babysitter and have a night out.  Fine by me!

After some more digging and googling of the event to figure out how formal is cocktail formal, I see that the event is for kids with parents that have, have had, or died from cancer.  Hmm.  My interest was piqued.  Just a tad.

In pictures on facebook from last years event, I see formal wear beyond the realm of what I prefer… I huff a tad, I wince at how my foot is gonna feel in the proper shoe, I make a face to make sure Marty knows this won’t be my favorite, but, #helperwife, so ok, I’ll go.

The rebel in me settled on pants.  Apparently you can’t wear nylons with open-toed shoes, did you know that?  Ugh.  Well, the softball-sized bruise on the back of my leg, and the blaring white brightness of my legs, were both screaming,

“You better cover them legs up, lady!!”

So, pants.  I’d be an oddball, but comfortable, and well, I’d be me for the evening.  I LOVE PANTS! I like being gutsy enough to rock who I am, instead of bending to standards.  Not gusty enough for nylons with open-toed shoes, I get it, but enough to wear pants at an event where high-end cocktail dresses are everywhere, and people are writing $50,000 checks for a boat-ride…

It just so happens, that wearing pants was just the start of what was to transpire for me that evening.  Wouldn’t you know, I was able to go to an event, raising money for kids who’s parents have cancer, and not once did I mention to anyone that I had cancer.  Go figure.

You see folks, we can have circumstances in our life, that don’t need to become our whole identity.  We can be passionate for causes, without losing who we are.  My identity is in Christ, grounded in the church, first and foremost, before anything else currently going on, any past that’s happened, and any heart-string that’s pulled.

It’s a big deal.  I like the limelight.

Who I am, trials I face, how I respond, doesn’t mean anything if my identity in Christ is not at the center of it all.  When people meet me, and get to know me, it’s not that long before they see the onion-peeling layers start to fall.  I’m a complicated mess.  I’m a Christian in a world that hates Christians.  I’m a wife, in a world that wants to redefine that role for me.  I’m a mother in a time where mothers are not mothers anymore, but friends.  I’m a grieving mother.  I’m an adoptive mother.  I’m a white momma to beautiful brown babies.  I’m an ex-smoker, ex-anorexic, ex-sailor-mouthed, snobby-shopping, snooty punk with a sad list of labels behind me.

I’m a cancer patient.

Through a world of darkness, I struggle with who I am.  I struggle to remember that everyday I have to weed out that list up there, and all the names I chose to not list.

Because I’m a daughter of the King.

Friends, we all stand for and represent things that are criticized.  Scrutinized. Hated.  We proudly and boldly speak up for those things, daily, especially on social media. But what we stand for, what we support, what we are passionate about, can’t overshadow our one true identity.  We’re taking our passions and running our mouths..  We’re not representing our identity in Christ anymore.  We don’t make being Christians in a sea of lost souls, the center of our everyday life like that first church of Acts did.  It’s hard.  Where do we draw the line?  When is too much and too far, too much and too far?

I spent 5 hours at an event, listening to the grim reality that exists for the kids of this world.  People are dying.  People are suffering.  Kids are hurting.  Kids aren’t allowed to be kids anymore because of it.  My own kids included.  I watched the people around me sob, and passionately express deep dark pasts full of hurt.  I stood there in my comfortable pants and non-nylon’d open-toed shoes, thinking “My own kids need this event!” But in those moments, instead of stealing the scene, I prayed and prayed that I would be a Christian first for them. Lay myself down for a friend. Love in a moment of hurting.  Listen when someone needed to be heard.  My servant heart passed out towels in the bathroom.  The encourager side of me lacks quite a bit, but God’s working on me, so I complimented shoes and earrings.  I smiled and tried to keep conversations going when I could see tears well.  It was safe to talk to me, even if they didn’t know why.

A cancer patient is not who I am.  Especially if it clouds over the light of Jesus in me.  We live in a world, I’m guilty of this too, where it’s all about me me me.

No.  It’s not all about me.  It’s about Him.

Folks, let’s work a little better at this.  I’m signing up too.  Let’s be more passionate about loving people.  Let’s be more passionate about making disciples.  Let’s let our lights shine in the darkest of places, even at the expense of the limelight.  Let’s stop arguing on facebook, and sinning in our conquests to be right or more important.  I’ve had my moments in this, GUILTY!  But let’s be honest…. We are not winning anyone over with our ugliness.

Let’s make our identity as Christians, be the passion that the world sees, before anything else.  Without it, we’re a mess of bushels, hangin’ out, missing our opportunity to shout “NO!!”

I’m gonna let it shine….

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