‘Tis the season for many middle school and high school kids to try out or run for next year’s squad, Student Council or the like. It’s agonizing – and not just for them!
This was our week this week, times two.
During the first part of the week, my daughter ran for a school-wide Student Council officer position that she did not win. Because of the loss, she had to turn around and run for a Senior Senator spot the following days. This made for one long, stressful week with lots of talk, analyzing and prayer.
Both races I wanted badly for her – something good, something to look forward to, something to reassure her and give her purpose. Yet at the same time I knew neither position could ultimately fulfill or make all things right. Only – it sure is alot easier to keep that in perspective after (or when) things go the way we want.
The truth is even if our kids get what they try out or run for, we must help them see “life” is not found in these things and their identity is tied to something so much greater. (For that matter, we must see this for oursevles, as many parents try to find their identity wrapped up in who their kids are!)
Whether are kids are on a varsity squad, any squad or no squad, a Student Council officer, represenative or not involved, popular or could care less, straight-A student or barely hanging on, turn heads with their beauty or just blend in, none of this is who they are at their core. And none of this makes anyone more or less important than others.
If we live as if these things are “life,” we will constantly be striving to measure up and looking for something to make us okay. We will be crushed in defeat and prideful in our accomplishments. But, if our true identity and unchanging value is found in Jesus, nothing can shake our security.
Jesus bore the suffering, humiliation and pain of death on a cross and thought it nothing in comparison to the joy of reconciling his children to the Father. He literally became sin, so we could have his righteousness. We therefore live under the smile of God and not his condemnation. He views us as perfect, because Jesus was perfect for us.
This is how great his love for his children is and this is where our most true and secure identity lies. This is the doctrine of justification and why theology matters.
When we know our standing before God does not change, when we know his love and acceptance, when we know he is “life,” than we can stand secure when things don’t turn out how we want, when we face disappointments and rejection.
So when my child loses an election, she finds assurance knowing because God has accepted her and declared her perfect, she is not a loser or failure. And, when my child wins an election, she can take no pride in her own performance or view herself as better than those who didn’t succeed because it is Jesus’ perfect performance for us that defines us.
Who he says we are – treasured, loved, accepted, included, significant, wonderfully and fearfully made – is who we are.
We need to understand the everyday implications of this truth and by God’s grace live out of its reality. This is the foundation and comfort as parents we need to give our children. This is how we help them be okay with who they are and where God has them.
It’s not easy to rest in his truth and love when other things seem so much more tangible. But, nothing else can give as secure an identity as knowing the God of the universe who created us and cast his love upon us sings his praises over us! Only in our titles as “Sons and Daughters of the King” do we have a stable and secure identity that will not shatter, no matter what.