One of my kids’ favorite movies right now is the Lorax, which I think is great because it has awesome music and a nice message. In typical little girl fashion, my daughter is drawn to the puppy love storyline between two of the main characters Ted and Audrey and she will frequently invite them into her imaginary role-play time. She pretends she is Ted cruising around on a scooter and I get to be Audrey.
Except she doesn’t call me Audrey, she calls me Laundry.
I’ll admit it is cute to hear her come up to me and say “Hey Laundry, I have a tree for you!” but there is a part of me that cringes because this name is just a little too appropriate.
After all, let’s be honest, I am not the red-haired. willowy, passionate dreamer played by Taylor Swift in the Lorax. I am, at least in Evangeline’s eyes, mommy, (complete with mommy hair, mommy clothes and mommy sayings), who seems to have a laundry basket attached to her hip.
Although this is just a cute mispronunciation on the part of my daughter, it is true that sometimes the things I do, especially the less glamorous ones like dishes and laundry and diapers become who I am. Like instead of saying “I do laundry” I could say, or should say, “I am laundry”
This can get real depressing, real quickly, for moms everywhere.
On the flip side, when the the things I am doing are a little more glamorous, at least compared to folding underwear, it doesn’t seem like such a bad method for identity.
I am a writer.
I am a chef.
I am a minister.
Yo soy profesora.
It is so easy to confuse our identity with our actions and our jobs and our hobbies and our chores, regardless of whether or not those things make us devalue ourselves, or puff us up with pride.
I think we all long to be called to something deeper and lasting, and so we look at what takes up the hours in our day and BAM! we have a new name. A new identity.
Just call me Laundry.
Actually, like my Evie, Jesus wasn’t a stranger to re-naming people either.
During his first conversation with Simon, Jesus says:
“You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[g]).
To James and John he gives them the nickname “Sons of Thunder”.
I’d like to think that if I were one of Jesus’ disciples, I would get some prophetic bad ass Kingdom of God name, too.
But, maybe I would just be Kirsten. Or Laundry.
Perhaps Jesus does have a special name for me, as some scriptures allude to like this one in Revelation and perhaps I will get to hear it some day,
I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17
but for today I can wear the titles of wife and mommy and teacher and writer and diapers and laundry with full knowledge that these names are kind of like decorations on a Christmas tree or icing on the cake. Beautiful decorations. Important decorations. (Okay, some more beautiful and important than others). But not identities. Not who I am.
Therefor if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation
I am identified by the fact that God, in His very mysterious and Godly way, took away what was my old self and created something completely new in and only through Jesus Christ. I don’t know if it matters so much what my name is, only that it is written in heaven, that it is something I couldn’t create for myself, and that it is more lovely in the sight of God my Father than I could ever see for myself (especially on my frumpiest of mommy days).
What does this mean for me today?
1) I am free from having to identify myself by the things I do, they are simply that: things I do.
2) I am free to find joy in the daily mundane and the spiritually weighty and the occupationally important, because I don’t have the burden of needing to find identity in them.
3) My daughter is hilarious and I am going to miss these little quirks of hers as she learns how to successfully pronounce things.