Whose You Are (or, Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bushman)

321px-illustration_morus_nigra0I am a Christian. I can state this because I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I am a husband, dad, son, brother, nephew, uncle…  I can state this because I have a beautiful wife (25 years together and going strong!), a son, a brother, aunts and uncles, nephews and a niece…

I am a Hoosier.  I can state this because I am from Indiana.  (Go Colts!)

I am of English, Scottish, Irish, German, French, Spanish and Italian heritage.  I can state this because I have done genealogy research on my family tree and have found ancestors from these countries.

I am a writer.  I can state this because I write.  (I make no claims as to the quality of my writing, but…)

I am a mulberry bush.  I can state this because… well… um… ok, I can’t state this.

Not honestly.

Not with a straight face.

Why?

Because – obviously – I am not a plant of any kind.  I am a human.  I may claim to be a mulberry bush, but I cannot actually be and not be a mulberry bush at the same time.  I have flesh and blood.  I have a brain, heart, fingers and toes… I stand upright.  I do not have roots (literally, not metaphorically).  I do not sprout leaves.  I do not produces mulberries.

This illustrates the litmus test for defining truth: either it is what it is, or it isn’t.  No room for gray areas.  No use for obfuscation.  Even if I grabbed a bottle of glue and adhered branches, leaves and berries to my body, you would look at me and say – with great reliance in the knowledge you are speaking the truth, I might add – “This is not a mulberry bush.  This is a human – and a very silly one at that – trying to pass himself off as a mulberry bush.  That’s not sap on his branches.  It’s Super Glue.”

It can be tough to truly define who we are.  We look at our careers for our identities.  We look to our heritage, our families, our abilities, our successes, our failures… all in a vain attempt to discover who we really are.

You are a firefighter until the day you stop going to the station putting out fires and making rescues.

You are an artist until you let your self-doubt take over and you bury the talent your fear took from you.

You are a proud descendant of both William “Braveheart” Wallace and the di Medicis until you discover the genealogy info you found on the internet was more fiction than fact.  (It’s sobering to find out you’re not directly related the man who bankrolled Michelangelo and hung out with da Vinci.  Rather, descended from “Stinky” di Medici, assistant to the assistant night manager of the Exxon Mini-Mart outside of Palermo.)

If you want to discover who you really, truly are, don’t look inward.

Look upward.

You see, God is the author of absolute truth.  He is also the author of the Bible, Hs revelation to humanity of Who He is, and who we are.

And who are we?  We are His children:

But to all who did receive (Jesus), who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-13 (ESV)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. – 1 John 3:1 (ESV)

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. – Ephesians 1:5-10 (ESV)

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. – Romans 8:14-17 (ESV)

Here is the God’s honest, absolute truth: who you are is not defined by what you do, or what you’ve done, or where your talents lie, or what successes or failures you have experienced.  You are not defined by what or who anybody else claims / blames you to be. You are God’s creation:

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

You are God’s child – an heir to His great and wondrous promises.

You are not defined by anything on this earth.  You are who God made you to be.  You belong to the Lord.  Your life is in His more than capable, loving, gracious hands.

You are God’s child.  And whose you are is far more important than who you – or anyone else – thinks you are.  In Christ we find our true identity.  Forgiven, blessed and loved.  Worthy and rich in the Lord’s promises.

Rest in that knowledge.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a mulberry bush to prune.

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