Stop Pretending: Put On The New Identity

by Lindsey Carlsonsuperhero kid

“Jude, come here and stay by my side. I don’t want you to get lost in the grocery store.” I call to my three-year-old as his feet zoom past me. He’s racing to beat me to the end of the aisle.

Offended, he turns and looks sharply in my direction. Squinting at me with one eyebrow cocked, he responds: “I’m not Jude. I’m Batman.” Seeing his seriousness and devotion to his current identity, I stifle a laugh.

My son abandoned his given name in favor of that of his favorite superhero. And now I must address him accordingly. “Batman, please don’t squeeze those bananas. Batman, please stop rearranging the end-cap display. Watch out Batman, you’re about to get run over! Batman, would you like a cookie?”

No deli counter, frozen food aisle, or doting shopper could snap this boy back into reality. He was fully devoted to staying in character. He made sure I knew he wasn’t pretending to be Batman, he was Batman. In his mind, the grocery store was Gotham, the shoppers all citizens to protect. The boy loves to play pretend.

He probably gets his creativity from me. I’m quite the pretender too. I make up all kinds of drama. Of course, when Jude plays superhero, it’s all fun and games. My creative efforts tend to be more depressing, filled with doom and gloom.

What if my husband loses his job and we can’t pay the mortgage?

I bet my friends don’t even like me. They’re probably just taking pity on me.

What if my kids think I’m a terrible mother and I’m ruining them?

My stomach hurts…it’s probably cancer. 

I could win an Academy Award for the scripts I write out in my head. Creating and dwelling on my own worst case scenarios, I drum up all kinds of pointless things to worry about. Caught up in my delusional nightmares, I eat the bread of anxious toil.

Paul doesn’t shrug off such negative thinking patterns. He gets to the root of the issue; worrying is a sin. In Ephesians 4:17 Paul warns the Ephesian people that they must no longer walk in the futility of their minds.

 Futility: The quality of having no useful result; uselessness. 

I’d expect futility of the mind from the gentiles; they lived apart from Christ. Paul blames their negative thinking on their darkened hearts, their alienation from the life of God, their ignorance, and heard-heartedness. But like the Jews Paul addressed, I’m without excuse. I live in a different reality. Paul writes:

“But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus…Ephesians 4:21-22

My creatively futile, anxious, worrisome thinking was nailed to the cross. I have been saved from the death and punishment I deserve. This magnificent grace should tangibly shape every one of my thoughts. If I’ve “learned Christ,” I must no longer walk as the gentiles do, in the futility of my mind. The reality of Christ’s death and forgiveness is powerful enough to put all my fears to rest.

Like the Ephesians, I’m called to be an active participant in living the new life in Christ. I am called to:

Put off the old self: which belonged to my former way of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (Eph. 4:22). Doubt, fear, and anxiety are signposts reminding me I’ve returned to my “old self’s” sin patterns.

-Be renewed in the spirit of my mind: (Eph. 4:23) asking the Holy Spirit to convict me when I’m stepping away from faith and into sin and doubt. I cling to Him for the peace and comfort I need when my faith is weak. Instead of longing for ease and comfort in life, I long for the things of God and for His Kingdom to come.

Put on the new self: created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:24)

Learning Christ changes my identity from a worrier to a trusting daughter of the King. It is when my “old self” is cast aside and I am renewed in the spirit of my mind, that I can take on my new identity and walk by faith. And in faith, there’s no need to play pretend.

Unless of course, I’m playing superhero with Jude.

Lindsey Carlson Bio PicLindsey Carlson lives in Houston, Texas with her college sweetheart Kyle. She is the wife of a worship-pastor and mother to four young children. “Normal” days are filled with homeschool, endless dishes, games, books, mis-matched socks, and writing whenever sleeping children permit. Lindsey writes about living the new song of the gospel at Worship Rejoices

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4 Comments to “Stop Pretending: Put On The New Identity”

  1. Christina says:

    I am a pretender too. Always forgetting who I really am, I fret, worry, and labor in vain. I love how you point me to Christ and who I am because of Him. Loved this post!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Christina. Praying for the pretending to point us to Jesus!

  3. Kimberly says:

    Great stuff!!! I have been listening to Graham Cooke talk about this. I love it!! We and our situations are already in Chrsit!

  4. […] I’ve beat my own record. I can do it in one second. It isn’t healthy, really. Nor is it faith-laced. Today I’m examining the nature of pretending, playing mind games. I hope you’ll join me over on Women of God Magazine and Stop Pretending.  […]