I happen to be quite well-versed at kids’ cartoons these days.
I’m not generally a huge TV fan myself, but when it comes to needing 30 minutes to _________ [name sanity-restoring task here: clean, prep a meal, shower, take a phone call from your BFF/etc.], I am not above putting on some kids’ TV which almost perfectly guarantees freedom from interruptions. Today the girls were watching one of their favorites, “Angelina Ballerina.” I love this show. The characters talk in British accents, families are portrayed in a favorable light and the kids actually seem fairly respectful and kind to one another. Plus there’s ballet dancing, and becoming a professional ballerina is a secret dream of mine (that I’ll never realize since I get dizzy when attempting to pirouette).
I overheard an episode today that connected with this morning’s discussion of the book of Colossians. One friend summarized the main message of this book as: “Who you are in Christ, and how to live according to who you are.” In a word, identity. A favorite topic of mine as one who can easily forget who God’s created me to be, and/or doubts the identity that’s already been given to me and so tries to prove myself through 1000 exhausting enterprises. (“Like blogging daily?” you, my kind reader, suggest. “Well, yes, now that you mention it.” But enough about me – on to Angelina …)
Enter Angelina. It’s her first day at an elite dancing school, and she’s becoming insecure about dancing ballet when she observes her friends doing Irish dancing, jazz, and other modern dance. In a last minute practice, she asks her friend to accompany her by playing any music other than classical. This practice session ends with Angelina in tears, and her accompanist frustrated as he shifts from one musical style to the next to try to keep up with her dancing. Angelina is the next one up after lunch, and the audience feels her despair as she cries.
Enter mom to the rescue. Her mom shows up unexpectedly, asks Angelina why she’s been crying, and reassures her of who she is: a great ballet dancer. She encourages Angelina to be who she is, not try to become someone different to impress her new friends. She’s a ballerina, and she dances best to classical music. This also in fact makes her unique. Being different isn’t any cause for alarm or change, but it’s reason to celebrate her distinct identity.
We then see Angelina move confidently to the stage and request “a classical piece, please,” to her relieved accompanist. She dances beautifully as she stays true to who she was created to be. A pleasant result is that the other dancers also admire her style, and Angelina walks off the stage smiling.
A few observations about identity come to mind:
1. We get confused when we compare ourselves to others, becoming either prideful if we seem to be “better than” and despairing if we feel we are “less than.”
2. We need others to remind us of who we and that who we are is beautiful and unique. Do you have friends, family, co-workers, neighbors like this? And when’s the last time you reminded someone else of his or her God-given identity? Do you as a Christian remember who you are? Spend some time soaking up the first few chapters of Ephesians or Colossians for a crash course in your identity in Christ.
3. Being who we are will bring joy and confidence. Living according to who we are means we say “yes” to some things and “no” to others; that we live out of who God’s made us and not who we think we should be. As a mom, the book Desperate has been amazingly helpful to remind me of this in terms of living as who I am as a mom v. “the ideal mom” I have in my head.