Monday, June 27, 2016

Fire Cats

My kids have a favorite book about "Pickles" the fire cat. Admittedly, it's kind of a lengthy read at 7:45 pm when my brain has been officially unusable for a good 45 minutes, my unbathed children are using their bunk beds to hone their acrobatic skills, and there's a bowl of granola, American Ninja Warrior, and the glorious absence of parental responsibilities awaiting me in the living room. So, Pickles' story ends up getting "condensed" a bit and my tinies are none the wiser.  

But from what I've gathered in my bedtime paraphrasing, Pickles starts out a bit of a cat bully, ends up living at the local fire station where he learns kindness, fire safety, and how to rescue cats stuck up in trees, rather than being the one who chases them up there in the first place. In the end, the nice cat lady who befriended Pickles said she always knew he would do big things and Pickles raises a paw to her as if to say "Nice cat lady, this is only the beginning."

I have a distinct memory of being maybe 9 or 10 years old, riding in the back of our car, and looking toward the sky believing intrinsically that I was made to do big things.  It didn't feel arrogant or prideful or wrong.  It felt securely wrapped within deep hope and belief.

I also believe there is a very real enemy of our souls who holds such hopes and beliefs in contempt, and as a result the years have chipped away at that car ride revelation. I think the true God-given versions of ourselves are a threat to the darkness in our world. Our identities become skewed by other broken people grappling with their own potential. Eventually it can be so much easier to give in to what identity the world has attempted to assign to you. Conversations and comments will inevitably find ways to ensure you remain feeling small and insecure. 

Occasionally however, something will whisper truth

And it will resonate within the depths of you, because it recognizes you.  The real you. 

My current season is largely about pouring into three tiny lives who pretty much believe whatever my husband and I tell them. Unless we're telling them that they need to respect each other's personal space boundaries.  They cannot conceive of such nonsense.

They do however believe that they are loved. They believe that their amazing feats of physical prowess (like jumping off the couch), their living room performances, and their latest art creations will be met with appreciation and delight by their parents (and any fortunate house guest who gets to hear their Jingle Bells/Let it Go/Awesome God medley on repeat). I wish I could shield them from ever having to doubt that they were created to do great things. I don't want to build their ego, but I do want to help build their foundation on their identity in Jesus. 

To live freely in the reality of the image we possess would bring a confidence no insecurity could undermine. I am far from achieving this. I mostly just want people to like me and think I'm funny and a decent Pinterest-loving mom. But I do a disservice to my kids if I allow my identity to be defined by less than what I was designed for. 

The people I most admire in life are the ones who are willing to fight for their true identity. They believe they were made for bigger things than what the limitations of life would dictate to them. Some of these people are swinging from ropes and giant hoops on American Ninja Warrior, and some are simply loving Jesus and people in quiet, honest, powerful ways. 

I think we all have a bit of a tiny yellow fire cat inside of us and we'd do well to affirm it in the lives of those around us :)