In Character

Emalynn and Maxwell quite often role-play some of their favorite characters…it’s actually at least once a day.  Sometimes I am unaware and call Maxwell by name and he will say “Mama…I’m Jake!  Emalynn is Izzy and Jackson is Cubby.  And you’re Tinker Bell…okay!?”  Today on the way home from church Daddy was with us and he was playing Captain Hook. Sometimes we play Toy Story and Maxwell is Buzz Lightyear, Emalynn is Jessie, Jackson is the little alien, Daddy is the Evil Emperor Zurg or the Evil Doctor Pork Chop…oh and I’m Little Bo Peep…to which Daddy then protests and wants to be Woody.  Needless to say role-playing is a major part of our play around here.

We’ve been experiencing this phenomenon since Emalynn was very young.  When she was about 2 1/2 she started role-playing with her Grandpa.  She was Mary and he was Joseph.  It was right about Christmas time and she got the Little People Nativity for Christmas and was fascinated with Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  It transpired so that every time she saw Grandma she called him Joseph…and it went on for quite some time…so much so that her preschool teacher was very confused one day the following fall when Grandpa picked her up and she called him Joseph.  The next time Ema dropped her off at preschool she asked me…”Isn’t Nate’s dad’s name Ferd?  Emalynn called him Joe?”  I then had to explain the entire story to her.  Thankfully that role play has long ceased!

The kids were in their pirate roles this afternoon after we got home and I was getting some plates out of the cupboard for lunch.  I accidentally bumped a glass and it fell to the countertop.  It was one of those slow motion moments where I yelled “NOOOooooo” as it hit the countertop and shards of glass went everywhere…and I mean everywhere reaching WAY further than I ever thought possible.  For what seemed like an hour I was cleaning up glass…from large pieces to slivers so small I could barely see them.  As I wiped off surfaces and vacuumed and floor 4 times over to be sure I got every tiny spec listening to my children playing their characters I started to think about my own character.

This morning we had a sermon about Jesus washing His disciple’s feet from John Chapter 13.  Our pastor has an awesome way of making you look at a passage you’ve read countless times and seeing it in a different light.  The sermon was titled The Servant and he highlighted how Jesus, the King of the universe, humbled Himself and served those who were not worthy of His efforts and lifted them up.  He served them with no recognition and put God’s interest above His own.   He even lovingly washed Judas’s feet…the guy He knew would later betray Him that very night.  I don’t know about you but if it were me, I think I’d be tempted to pull out the steel wool to wash my enemy’s feet…but not Jesus.  His heart was pure.  That got me thinking…am I always doing and saying things and serving others with a pure heart?  I might be doing something that is seen as good and serving and obedient…but what is in my heart?  God sees that.  What an eye opener…or heart opener rather. 

When I was combing the carpet for tiny shards of glass the Lord revealed to me that my character is much like them.  My actions are just like those pieces of glass…from the large to the very, very small unable to be seen by anyone…they are reaching way further than I could ever think possible.  People are watching and listening to what I do and God can see my motives behind it all…my true character.  You know those people in your life that you love but don’t always like and are tempted to speak and even think ill of?  Or the people who have undermined and gossiped about you?  Or the people who never seem to say “thank you”?  Or the people who always seem to think of themselves first?  God calls us to love and serve them with a pure heart…just like Jesus did because there are a lot of people watching us…not to mention God can see the deepest parts of our hearts and our motives behind everything we do.  It makes me want to get one of those W.W.J.D braclets we wore in high school as a constant reminder that it’s not all about me…it’s about Him.

Just like I don’t want those stray pieces of glass to hurt my children…I don’t want my actions to hurt others and I don’t want my heart…my true character…to hurt the Lord.  In the same way I love to see my children in their role plays, God loves to see us think, love and live like Jesus.  I just pray that as my children grow and their imaginations start to fade to reality they will desire to embody the character of Christ.  He is our ultimate model of what our character should be.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:5-8

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