There was a powerful word on identity spoken at the Rio Olympics. It was during a quick interview of the American swimmers after their silver medal win in synchronized diving.
"It's an identity crisis," said David Boudia, standing beside diving partner Steele Johnson. "My mind is on this (swimming at the Olympics) and thinking I'm defined by this and my mind goes crazy. But we both know that our identity is in Christ."
Don't we all face that same question?
Who am I, really?
It feels like this identity talk is everywhere these days. We Jesus-lovers are calling it out, feeling it out, hashing it out. And good on us!
What about our kids? With only a few years of experience and limited access to vlogs and Instagram, have they figured out the identity question?
We know those kids are being tossed labels all the time and they need to know which are alias and which are real and permanent.
Here is where we as parents grab the microphone. Grandparents, Godparents, Honorary Parents and Regular Parents, it is our job to introduce our kids to their real selves.
Have you ever been given a preschool drawing? The kind you study and then go, "Hey Sweetie? Why don't you tell me about this interesting picture." Because you haven't gotten the foggiest what the splatters and squiggles are representing.
That preschooler knows though. She can talk for way too long describing this and those and telling what the polka-dots are doing and why and how.
Because as the creator, she knows every tiny mark's true identity.
And our kids need to know what their Creator has to say about them and their purpose and why and how.
Maybe it doesn't need to be spelled out for us adults. But I think it does for our kids. What God says about our kids is powerful and they need to hear it!
As a family, we have been saying this declaration out loud, usually in the mornings before everyone has a chance to get crotchety:
I am completely and fully loved.
It's not true just because I say I am, it's true because God says I am.
He thinks I am.
He knows I am.
And truth comes from God.
Even if the world says something different.
Even if my mind tells me something different.
Even if I feel something different.
What God says is true no matter what and I believe it.
Today I believe the Word of God beyond all other words.
After we have declared that over ourselves, we are ready to discover the powerful things that our Daddy God says about us.
The last time we did this as a family, we read from 1 John 4 and picked it apart, finding more than a dozen "I Am" identities.
I am... hosting the Holy Spirit!
I am... God's kid!
I am... capable of loving!
I am... eternal!
I am... unafraid!
Mom confession: I then wrote with permanent marker on all of my children.
I know, I know, that is probably bad for their skin, sets a bad precedent for the littlest ones and will kill brain cells in their developing minds.
Sometimes the rules are just begging to be broken.
My kids chose the identity they needed to be reminded of that day. My hope was that they would read it while they washed their hands (or let's be real, if they washed), rode their bikes and ate their lunches.
If only I could engrave their identities into their cute little souls, because the permanent knowing is going to be the direction for their lives.
Let's be honest, it's a long, complicated wrestle to nail our identity to the floor. And as we adults are still wrestling, what better way to reinforce our identity than by teaching it?
The next powerful generation is asking the question: Who Am I?