In my free time, I daydream. I think about the things I would like to improve on, skills I would want to learn or something in particular I’ve never done before and would think “Hey, I could do that.” I think about the things I would want to learn as attributes that’ll help me move along in life. Some people call these hobbies or skills, gifts or expertise. I call them personality identifiers.
Taking it back to the younger years, in High School and even middle school, we are introduced to sports, music and art on an educational scale. Well at least I was at that age. We are given these personality identifiers that we can take upon ourselves to help us grow and mature in ways outside of the norm. Having the base layer and just adding things on top. For me, I loved sports so that’s what I pursued. I didn’t make any of the teams I tried out for directly but was offered their sub-categories such as “redshirt” in basketball that said “we want you, not that much to put you on the team,” or so I thought. I look back on that time and all I see is politics. But, that’s beside the point.
I know each of us dream of things we want to be good at. Skills we wished we had to do things that we love to watch but never have the guts to actually try. Take Football (soccer for my English speaking brethren) for example. The guys and gals that play this sport professionally can only do so because of the amount of hours and days and weeks and years of practice they have put into it. If we watched a game and went out to try exactly what they did, we would fail miserably. We only become good at something we practice over and over again, until the point it becomes a part of us. With any type of sport, musical instrument or artistic painting or sculpture, they’re only as good as the one who does them and the one who does them is only as good because of the amount of practice he or she puts into it.
When I first started playing the guitar, I never would have thought it would’ve taken me where it has. I started out slow, learning the basic chords, then rhythm putting them both together to play a song. Music for me was something I did because I liked it. Over time it has transformed into something that I identify with personally and spiritually. I’m no professional but I’ve grown more spiritually through music and playing music than I have in any other way. Through sports, I’ve been able to connect with those around me who have no other outlet but that. I have a desire to become a really good mountain climber, snowboarder and surfer and later on down the road a father. You see, everything we are good at or aren’t good at has a purpose to identify us in some way to other people. They see us playing an instrument or dribbling a ball and can immediately relate to us because of that first impression.
When we see the multitude of skills and things to do out in the world, it may seem we can live our lives without ever having to stop learning. And that’s true. One big thing I would want to encourage you as you read this now is that our relationship with Christ is not comparable to a skill, attribute or personality identifiers. It’s something that effects the very outcome of our lives. To practice prayer and fasting, intercession and worship leading, talking with Jesus, sitting silent to hear His voice are all things we should practice. Not solely because we want to be good at them but because they’re fun and rewarding just like the other skill we’ve mastered. As everything, we are encouraged when we start but become discouraged by the lack of change. We live in a world and have developed a mindset to see change in a short amount of time. On certain things, this is true but when it comes to the self (you and me) and the skills we possess, it takes a little time. It takes time to become good at something and when it comes to the Kingdom of God, we will never become experts but will always remains students learning something new every day.
One personality identifier I want is to always know my identity is found in Christ, not in the things I amount to. I can learn all the skills offered and become a pro and every sport imaginable. With all those things I may think I’m somebody but without the love of Christ and the identity I have in Him, I am nothing.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)