When we got to the coffee shop, the kids and I noted a fluorescent green Lamborghini parked in the “No Parking” zone across from the store. We sat down on the patio while my husband got our coffees. My mind drifted…who’s car is that anyway? I’ve seen flashy cars before. These owners almost always do the same thing…they sit directly across from their vehicle. Why? To watch it? To feel proud of their accomplishment? To buoy their ego? I don’t know…but — if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a dozen times — luxury car owners watch their vehicle, like hawks.
My eyes glanced over to the car, then caught a man seated directly across from it. Sure, enough — it must be him. Before long, a truck rolled up. The truck needed to go where the Lambo was parked. The luxury car owner hopped out of his chair, left his coffee trash on the table, and moved his vehicle.
When my husband got back, I relayed the story. I let all my assumptions fly…how it must feel good for this man to see his car…because it affirms his identity. Surely, this car is a constant reminder that — he’s made it!
But, I wondered, had this man really made it? He parked illegally. He left trash on the table. He was seated all by himself, with nothing to face but a pile of metal.
My husband looked at me, and said, “Kelly, I think you are like this man.”
I prayed for a second. Was my husband right? And, what came to mind was how I sometimes:
– feel better when I look good or do good.
– allow projects to label me a success (or a failure).
– permit what I own, how I look, or what I do — to define me more than God’s Words.
– get narrow-minded, believing success looks one way.
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him….” (1 Jo. 2:17 MSG)
I, like that man, isolate myself from my good Father when I allow bright and shiny things to determine who I am — and how good I’ve done. The truth is who I am is only determined by who God says I am. This is security and stability. Here, I can come — weak, human and needy — and still find the help and love I so desperately need, without shame.
I am always accepted. And, so are you.
Whether you’re succeeding or failing, rich or poor, abounding or sinking, thriving or hardly getting by — you are always loved. Chosen. Wanted. Approved. As a child of God, you have a Father and He loves you — no matter.
Nothing defines us, but God.