So we praise God for the wonderful kindness He has poured out on us because we belong to His dearly loved Son. He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
– Ephesians 1:6-8 (NLT)
When Toy Story came out back in 1995, I remember watching it and thinking how incredibly talented these computer gurus were in putting together the world that existed in Andy’s Room when he was asleep or away for the day. The cast, the script, the artwork, they all blended together to tell a funny, but touching story, and I enjoyed it immensely.
A couple years later we had our first child, and then two years after that, our second. Life was beginning to change for us in so many ways. We now had responsibilities that we had never thought about before. Somehow we were responsible for two humans! It obviously demanded that we grow up a little – if for no other purpose than to stay ahead of them!
Pixar was also growing. They continued to crank out movies that were a lot of fun, but they were also really trying to help us identify with their characters by giving them even more depth. The Toy Story guys went to the well two more times and gave us two more glimpses into the life of Andy, his sister, and the toys.
By the time the third film rolled out in 2010, our kids were getting to the age that a lot of their old stuff had taken the one-way trip to the garage sale or Goodwill. Then, with a 13 & 11 year old, we started to see a whole new aspect in the films. Time moves on. Kids grow up. We only have so long. I’m starting to tear up, better move on to my point before I lose it.
One thing that you see throughout those movies is that the toys struggle with their identity. I am going to focus on Woody in particular, because he just kept falling into that same trap. He would see himself for what he was, not for what Andy saw in Him.
I just started reading Mark Driscoll’s book, Who Do You Think You Are? The main point of the book is to help us as Christians find our identity in Christ. If we don’t find our identity in Christ, we will try to find it in other areas that will leave us feeling hollow, abandoned, and worthless.
Dricoll uses the book of Ephesians and the teaching of Paul to help us see that as believers, our identity can only be truly found in Him. We might have many things in life that we identify with, but if we do not focus on our position in Christ, we will struggle with a feeling of emptiness in life.
I say a picture of Woody today, and I could not help but think of this identity issue. He felt his entire world come crashing down around him when Buzz came to town. He compared himself to Buzz and he found himself lacking. Why would anyone want an old toy with a pull string when they could have a toy with a lazer!
I compare myself to people too often. Sometimes I feel like I win the comparison, but more often I feel like the loser. The thing is, the moment I start comparing, I lose. I don’t need to compare, because I just need to remember who I am. I am a child of God! I need to see myself as He sees me.
Once Woody realizes that he is loved by Andy, and always will be, his attitude changes. He becomes confident – at least until the next time. How could my attitude and outlook change if I really and truly saw in myself the value that God sees in me?
God has sought me out so He can pour His kindness into my life. He is so rich in kindness that I cannot exhaust the supply that He wants to bestow on me. His kindness is showered on me and gives me the life that I need to grow. All of this because I belong to Him.
In the movie, Andy writes his name on Woody’s boot to show ownership. God’s Word tells us that He has written our names in His hand. He has told us that He has given us an identity in Him. We are adopted into His family, and nothing can take us from Him.
All that is true. The problem is that there is a snake in my boot. That snake casts doubts into my mind about my worth, my past, my failures, my weaknesses… Then I am right back in the funk again, running around looking for something that will make me happy rather than just looking to God.
I want this year to be a defining year in growing in my identity with Christ. Every day, I want to be relentless in that growth. To attack it with all that I have. To do the hard things that keep my mind on Him, and allow me to see myself through His eyes.
Join me! We can help each other by encouraging each other as we go along. So, find your moving buddy, and remember that you’ve got a friend in me!
In HIS Grip,