Like many of you, my husband and I are getting ready to file our taxes. April 15 may be over a month away, but we’re collecting the receipts, printing off the appropriate forms, and already dreading the bureaucracy of it all. Fill out this form. Check that box for race, age, and family relationship. Reduce your life to a pile of papers and socio-economic data.
But tax season isn’t the only time that we define ourselves by categories and roles. You do it every time you fill out medical paperwork, sign up for car insurance, or meet someone for the first time. For me, the answer to “Who are you?” includes being a wife, stay-at-home mom, blonde, lover of old movies, and thirty-something of Virginia.
And yet can these categories really define who we are? Doesn’t your soul cry out for something greater—something larger, something more?
The truth is that we are eternal beings, and only something of eternal significance can tell us who we truly are. That’s what the Scripture means in Genesis 1 when it teaches that God made us “in His image.” The most important thing about us isn’t our age or gender or job; the most important thing about us is that we were made to reflect God. We were made to show forth His glory by being like Him.
I know that forms and categories are useful, but every time I check the boxes, I try to remember that these things don’t define me. These things don’t give me my identity; God does. And when I live in that identity, when I show forth the fruit of His nature—His love and joy and peace and kindness—all the boxes in the world don’t matter because I am never more myself than when I’m living like Him.