I’m Me!

I interrupted the little boy pushing his truck along the floor to ask: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We were getting to know each other while his mother was meeting with one of our Sisters in another room. Jason was an incredibly bright little man, three and a half years old, with a head full of curls. He looked at me with a mischievous smile and answered, “A robot,” and then went back to his game. A few moments later, clearly having given the question more thought, he stopped playing, looked up at me and said, “A monster trwuck… then I can destroy things!

We continued to play and chat, and then, suddenly and unexpectedly, Jason declared with all his might, “I am NOT a robot!” Trying not to laugh, I quite seriously asked him, “Who are you?” He stood up straight, smiled a huge smile, and confidently said, “I’m me!

How right that little man is! Jason recognized his identity as a unique, unrepeatable image of God, loved into existence. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see robots. He gave each of us free will so He might receive from each of one of us a unique love, freely given.

But Jason’s first response reminds me of the temptation that is so rampant in our culture, the temptation to lose sight of our true identity. How often do we long to be something we’re not – to identify with our work, with our successes or failures, with our material possessions or with how other people see us, instead of our true selves? We are constantly seeking to find our value in externals and it can be a temptation during Lent to embark on a self-improvement project. We think that if we can only cut out this bad habit, or reach this goal, we will finally be the person we’ve always wanted to be, the person we believe would be worthy of love.

But Lent is a time to strip away those false masks, those artificial values, and remember that I am loved simply because I am me. Denying ourselves is hard, especially those things that we cannot imagine giving up, not only because we are attached to them, but also because we would feel naked without them. By giving up those things that we cling to, the building blocks of our false self-image, we find the freedom to truly become ourselves to become who were made to be.

Heavenly Father, we thank You that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We ask that You would continue to reveal Your immense personal love for each of us. Help us this Lent to let go of those things in our lives that make up our false images. Reveal to us our true selves, stripped of all that is superfluous. Give us the confidence of a child and the grace to always love You above all things. Amen.