From my mom’s book, Keep These Things ~ Ponder Them in Your Heart:
Kimberly and I sit on the wicker sofa watching the Muppets on television. Kermit the Frog sings, “It’s not easy being green.” He goes on to reflect that “brighter colors make a bigger impression; green simply blends in with ordinary things.” Kimberly looks up at me with concern. “Mommy, if I were a frog, I wouldn’t mind being green.”
“Because I’d be happy just the way God made me.”
Kimberly, in childish simplicity, touched on an understanding basic to a healthy self-concept; God forms each individual with a unique design and purpose.
For Thou didst form my inward parts;
Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Thy works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from Thee,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.
Thine eyes have seen my unformed substances;
And in Thy book they were all written,
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 138:13-16)
This understanding is beyond Kimberly’s grasp. Yet, with the trust of a four-year-old, she unquestioningly accepts her God-give uniqueness. So far there has been nothing in her relatively uncomplicated existence which has put her self-acceptance to the test. When asked, “Who in the whole world would you most like to be?” she answers without hesitation, “Me!” It’s easy for Kimberly to supply the answer to Kermit the Frog’s problem of low self-esteem with, “I’ll be happy just the way God made me.” She’s perfectly satisfied with the way she is! Up to this point our input has gone a long way toward meeting her basic needs. We, her parents, are present to help her over the rough spots ~ “Only babies bring dolls to show and tell.” “I’ve decided to invite someone else to my house today.”
But during the process of living, her worth inevitably will be challenged. She will face rejection, people more gifted than herself, personal limitation, defeat. It is essential that she learn to base her worth on something stronger than the human props on which we all rely so heavily. Her self-image will be profoundly affected if she really believes she was designed by God. This belief will influence the way she regards her strengths; it will likewise make it easier to accept her limitations.
There is a song we discuss and sing:
I’m something special, I’m the only one of my kind,
God gave me a body and a bright healthy mind,
He has a special purpose that He wanted me to find,
That’s why I’m something special, I’m the only one of my kind.
I hope, as she sings these words, the sense of her God-given uniqueness will be etched onto her mind. I pray she will know, no matter what happens, since God made her, that she is something special.
This chapter from my mom’s book pairs perfectly with my sea glass journey of identity, and my ultimate conclusions about myself and others (see this post).
It captures the mindset of the little girl whose identity I’ve struggled to let go of. A little girl who was “happy just the way God made her.” I’m a grown woman now who has gone through the tosses and turns and scrapings of life. I’ve “faced rejection, people more gifted than myself, personal limitations, and defeat.” I’ve had my “Kermit the Frog moments” of questioning who I am. Just as Mom knew I would.
But do my struggles related to identity mean that my childlike sense of security didn’t last? Did something go awry in my parents’ parenting or in my own thinking as I moved through life?
Just the opposite. We have not been promised a smooth ride on this earth. We will all face circumstances that might jar our sense of self and purpose. Kermit’s song poignantly captures this reality (I still love that song!). But just as my mom hoped, my “God-given uniqueness was etched into my mind.” I knew that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. That core belief became part of my inner being and grounded me as I faced situations that caused me to question my identity. But it was a belief I had to wrestle with and mature in my understanding of before coming out even stronger on the other side.
“He has a special purpose that He wanted me to find…”
Those words take on new meaning to me thirty-five years later. As a unique piece of sea glass, I am discovering God’s purpose in my life. And in that process, I’m re-learning the truth that I’ve always known: that I am something special…because that’s the way God made me.