“Mommy, are you a fast runner?”
Just like I have yet to understand how to keep baby socks on, eat a meal hot, and keep random, small objects off our floor, I have no clue why our boy posed this question from the backseat of the car.
And if we weren’t on our way to church and if Daddy Don (who was chuckling and waiting on bated breath for my answer) had not been in the car, truth be told, my pride might have been tempted to flub my answer a bit.
I mean…I am faster than our 3 year-old son, a tired grandma, our crawling baby, a creeping turtle, and a sloth from South America, right?!?! So I could legitimately answer, “yes,” and he really wouldn’t know the difference. Right?!?! To his 3 year-old unseasoned, unaware, and unknowing self, I am fast.
But as I heard the question and battled back my pride that wants to admit “Yes, yes, yes…I’m awesome at everything,” I answered him honestly.
“No, buddy, I’m not. Mommy isn’t a fast runner at all. I’m a fast talker, a fast walker, a fast writer, a fast eater, a fast meal-maker, and a fast dish-washer, but no, I am not a fast runner.”
My honest answer was apparently not satisfying enough for his curious mind because then he asked, “Well, why not?”
“Well, because that’s just how God made me. He didn’t choose to make me a fast runner.”
And that was the end.
But as we got out of the car, I couldn’t help but notice the pang of discomfort that had left my pride a little ruffled.
For crying out loud, I’m not a runner at all!! Like at all. Like not even a little bit. Like, I’ll probably never, EVER have a 13.1 or a 26.1 magnet displayed on the back of my car. Like NO.
So why on earth was it so stinkin’ hard for me to admit what I already knew?
Why is it so difficult to admit what I am not ???
I have three answers for that simple question that I’ve been asking for quite some time.
Pride, pride, and PRIDE!
I take joy in what I am; I find pleasure in what I can do; and I derive a sense of dignity in the excellence that comes easy.
Unlike running, I like those things…like a lot.
But if there’s something the Lord has been graciously and even painfully (at times) been teaching me since 2009 (the year I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher after spending a whole lot of money and time on a teaching degree), it’s this one, simple reality.
I AM NOT.
And in the past seven years, I’ve learned a whole lot about what I AM NOT.
I am not cut out to be a classroom teacher.
I am not capable of maintaining a constant calendar.
I am not a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” person.
I am not a quiet woman.
I am not naturally inclined to be a nursery volunteer.
I am not a researching mama (don’t ask me about vaccines, safe foods, and baby milestones).
I am not a risk-taker.
I am not a cool, trendy, hipster.
I am not a 30-Day Shredder or a P90x‘er.
I am not full-time employee material.
I am not a “sit-still-in-your-prayer-closet” pray-er.
I am not a size 6.
I am not an around-the-clock extrovert.
I am not a “let’s-just-talk-about-a-series-of-surfacey-topics” conversationalist.
I am not a fan of organized chaos.
I am not a sew-er, a bake-er, or a candlestick make-er.
I am not a runner.
And I am not a fast runner.
I am not a LOT of things.
And though that is never easy for my naturally proud self to concede to my ego, or to the others who are all those things I AM NOT, it’s also very freeing.
I don’t have to fake something I AM NOT, nor do I need to be someone I AM NOT.
I AM ME.
I am Jessica, fearfully and wonderfully made.
You are you, fearfully and wonderfully made.
She is she, fearfully and wonderfully made.
They are them, fearfully and wonderfully made.
We are we, fearfully and wonderfully made.
And only He is the GREAT I AM, the only One who has never been an I AM NOT.
And because I follow the GREAT I AM, who I am never has to be defined by what I AM or by what I AM NOT.
I have a new identity, an eternal identity…an identity that has nothing to do with being or not being a fast runner, a size 6, or a risk-taker…and that is freeing!!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 2:10a
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20a
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
There is freedom for this no-running, fast-talking mama…there is freedom for YOU!