I adore the story Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. The story is about “Sam-I-Am” and his unnamed friend. His friend adamantly proclaims that he does not like green eggs and ham throughout the book. As I travel with him on his personal journey, he seems to be desperate to convince Sam-I-Am how he feels about green eggs and ham.
“I do not like them in a box. I do not like them with a fox. I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do NOT LIKE THEM, Sam-I-Am.”
Let’s imagine our little friend thinks he is a vegan. As I examine the narrative, it is similar to saying, “Look here, Sam-I-Am; I am a vegan, I have always been a vegan, I will forever be a vegan and since I will never be anything but a vegan, leave me alone!”
The appealing thing, to me, is that from page one he clearly labels himself as one thing; in the end he finds out (through a very long process and much understanding from Sam-I-Am) that he is actually quite another. In fact, he found not only that he was not a vegan but also that he had actually changed; he now liked eggs and ham!
He labeled himself one thing, and then later found out the label did not fit anymore. I can see this story in many ways, but mostly how I do evolve and change. How we can all, at one point in our journey, see ourselves as one thing, identify ourselves as something, and then later on have experiences that cause us to see ourselves in another light—a completely new manner. Our self-identity has changed.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
What we identify with most and what we see ourselves as, not only can change, but in fact—I personally believe, if it is different than what God sees us as and defines us as—it probably should change. There is a very good reason we do not redefine what God has already defined. He defines everything perfectly. As fallen and imperfect we cannot help but incorrectly define things. Indeed, we “see through the glass darkly.”
At times, we can become so closed-minded and cemented to an idea or identity that we not only label ourselves but also drive our tent stakes in so deep it makes it hard to move our tents to a better place when the time comes. Now, I must say, there is nothing wrong with identifying with one thing or another, for a season. It can be comforting to identify ourselves as this or that, but if, if that limits our view of our eternal identity, or hinders our progression towards our God-given potential, it is no longer helpful but limiting. I say, “don’t put me in a box and don’t label me, for as soon as you think you know me, I’ll change—and I want to change!” Are we not all morphing from what we think we are, to what God knows we are? Through the power and atonement of Christ, are we not all at liberty to choose what we become? I for one need the freedom to grow and change. It is not that the label, my understanding or what I identified with yesterday was wrong; it is only that my progression and new understanding of today is “current”—more real, more correct, more true to me. Satan would love me to believe I am powerless in the area of who I Am, or powerless over my actions based on my identity. Satan wants me to believe I cannot be whom my God knows I Am and wants me to be.
While I have many rolls in this life, such as artist, business person, volunteer, student, teacher, and gardener. And While I have many attributes desires and attitudes like— penitent, loving, kind, direct, inquisitive, hard working, ethical, moral, focused—and while I have many a propensity—candid, transparent, direct, creative—in all actuality, I Am that God says I Am. In all my “becoming” I must consider what will last through all the eternities. I am first and foremost a Child of God. We all are. I am a daughter, mother, wife, and friend. While I experience feelings like anger, and disappointment… I am not “Anger.” I am not “Disappointment.” I guess I have learned that though it is important to acknowledge how I am feeling, it does not make me that thing which I am feeling, not even that thing I am acting like. For instance, it is one thing to act like a jerk, quite another thing to be a jerk.
Clearly, I have been giving “I Am” a lot of thought lately. When I look up “I AM” on my scripture app., I found over 1000 reverences in the scriptures.
“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them?
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:13-14)
What we see ourselves as and identify ourselves ‘as’, are more profound than we know, both very powerful and very important.
I made a list entitled “I AM,” and so far there are 786 things on it. I went through the list and started prioritizing them in order of importance. Do you know what made the top of the list? Number one was, “I am a child of God”; number two was “I am loved by my Heavenly Father”; “I am penitent” was number three; and “I am forgiven” was number four. Following that was “I am redeemed,” “I am forgiving,” and so forth. It is motivating when I realized what items made the top of the list. Not one thing in the top 700 had anything whatsoever to do with my sexual orientation. When it comes right down to it, SSA is a small part of what I feel and no part of what I am.
I tell people, “I’m not broken, sick or lost so don’t try and fix me.” I have come to realize what I mean by this. While I am not broken, sick or lost in a way whereby any person can fix or heal me, I do, however, recognize that I am born into a fallen world, as all of God’s children are. Moreover, in my most humble moments I know that I am broken, I am lost, and I do need the Great Healer of all mankind. I need the Great Physician, the Savior of the world, even Jesus Christ. “There is no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved in the kingdom of God.” (Based on Acts 4:12)
No, I am not a victim of my circumstance or my feelings. While being born into a fallen world I do not have to remain, forever, in a fallen state. I do not have to remain prisoner of my feelings or passions. I have power over all things not ordained of God. Knowing my Savior, obeying his commandments, and applying His Gospel is my only hope of making it through life, repaired, healed, and redeemed.
I pray we can see our true God-defined identity and that we will identify with it before all others. I hope we can be loyal to the royal birth of which we come. May we ever remember our Heavenly Father and feel His mighty power and love. Let us come to fully accept the greatest of gifts and allow Christ to heal us of all our sorrows, frailties, shortcomings, infirmity, heartaches, transgressions, and sins. The Great I AM knows who we are. I pray we all find that place of peace through the healing power of Christ, that we will forever reach out in love and service to one another.