I was 11. My mom was a Super-Woman, at least as far as I knew. She was fabulous and fun. She’d lived an exciting life and my sisters and I loved to be regaled by tales of her youth. She loved life, loved Jesus and loved glitter. I wanted to be like her, but being somewhat of an introvert, I knew I could never really live up to all that she was. I decided I was more like my dad, a businessman, he was introverted, liked to study and knew everything about everything, interstates, canals, how to load the dishwasher, anything about weather and then some. Those were qualities I could work on, so I decided to be more like him.

My dad was organized and so for Christmas I asked for office supplies: a stapler, tape dispenser, desk blotter, rolodex, paper clips. I was determined to get organized! I may have even requested a dust buster. I knew if I worked hard enough, I could be like my dad.

For years, I have tried to be administrative, organized, someone who gets things done. I have tried to be on time, oh how I’ve tried. I have tried to have systems and know where things are. I have tried to pay attention to details so that I would know everything there is to know about canals too.

But I’m not my dad. My kids can remember the one time we were on time for our homeschool group in the 6 years we attended it. I am never on time, try though I may! I am not organized. This can be evidenced by my car. My dad’s car is always clean. Always. When I pull out of a parking space, there is a ring of Cheerios where my car used to be. I can remember about the interstate system, but I can’t remember a thing about canals. Sorry, Dad.

I’ve also tried to be like my mom. She has a heart for children’s ministry. She’s like the Mary Poppins of all things under the umbrella of a church’s children’s ministry. It’s amazing to see her passion, her vision and her talents play out in that arena.

I have tried to engage in Children’s Ministry. And while it is fun and rewarding, I don’t have the same passion and vision that she does. I have tried to have dinner done by 10am. It’s such a good idea. It happens about 4 times a year at this point, unless you count the number of frozen dinners I serve, because they’re pretty much ready as long as I’ve bought them. Then the number rises significantly. I’m sorry, Mom.

But I am me. Just me. I am not my mom. I am not my dad. I am not my sister. I am not my friend. I am just me.

I am who God created me to be, graced with gifts He gave to me.

For years, I tried to convince myself that I was gifted administratively or that I had the gift of service. It wasn’t until this past year, that I realized that what I really love to do is encourage others and to share the love of Jesus with them. There has been such freedom in this! I don’t have to be somebody else.

Here we are in the middle of the week between Christmas and New Years, between the gifts and the resolutions. It’s kind of weird, isn’t it?

This past Sunday, we gave to others. We received gifts. We remembered and celebrated the best gift.

This Sunday, we’ll make resolutions to be different. To change things about ourselves. And while this can be a great time to reflect on the past and focus on how we can grow in the future, all too often our resolutions look more like a list of things we want to be that we’re not, a list of things, or people, we’d like to be.

This year, let’s keep our focus on the gift.

The gift of Jesus.

The gifts He’s given us.

Instead of hoping to be someone else or hoping to have someone else’s gift, let’s be thankful for the gifts we’ve been given.

Let’s resolve to grow those gifts this year and experience the freedom of being who we were created to be.