Tag Archive: identity


i would love to hear some thorts on this topic because i think it is a highly complicated, tricky one and imagine different people will have different responses and i would love to hear a bunch of them in a friendly it’s-okay-that-it-think-differently-than-you-i’ll-try-not-verbally-punch-you-in-the-face kind of way… so please read, consider, discuss and share…

or maybe it is a number of topics but it all was birthed out of a blog post i read today relating to calling someone’s baby “ugly” and how you should never do that and also on the topic of how truthful is too truthful if there is such a thing? and maybe the premise of, ‘if you don’t have anything good to say then point wildly in the opposite direction, shout “LOOK, A DISTRACTION!” and, as the person looks, make a run for it in the other direction.’

this is probably the worst picture i have of myself… it was taken at a missions trip we did to Umtata a whole bunch of years ago when i was still at Claremont Baptist and it is the worst fat face picture i own of myself. to let you in on a little secret, i don’t have any major identity issues, i love myself and at times possibly too much. i have been known [well not ‘known’, cos i do it when it’s just me] to stand in front of a mirror and just appreciate how good i look. i mean, to me, cos i’m not delusional, i know i’m not worldly hot man [GQ are not gonna stick me in their top 100 any time soon, no matter how many emails i send them. i don’t. hardly ever.] but i appreciate the way God made me and how i helped Him with the details as i’ve grown up. i think it’s healthy and good. and i know that when i can look in the mirror and really enjoy what i see that it usually coincides with me being in a really good place in other areas of my life so i definitely think the two are linked.

but this was a time when my face got fat [which means the rest of me was probably in the same region as well] and i keep it to remind me that it is a look i don’t enjoy and that while my body shape may never quite get to where i would like it to be, that i need to be some kind of responsible in what i eat and how i exercise so that i don’t head to that place again any time soon… so it is a motivational picture for me.

and the point? well if i knew that i was looking like ‘fat-face brett’ and you told me i looked good, that would not be a positive thing for me. in fact, it would possibly make me doubt the sincerity of anything else you said after that.

herein lies my dilemma. because i think most babies are ugly. i have never told anyone their baby is ugly to the best of my knowledge, but have been aware of the global pressure of needing to tell each new parent that their baby is the cutest i have ever seen [and it has been of great breathe-in relief that a bunch of my close friends and my sister Dawn and her husband Glen have produced great looking babies so as to buck the general trend and so i have been able to be more openly honest]. i think my general go-to place would be that if i saw a baby that in my opinion was ugly i would say nothing rather than lie to the extreme or damn with the faint praise of “well done, it has all the correct bits.”

but i don’t want you to be distracted by babies, because that it not the point of this – it extends to hair-cuts/styles and other personal preference topics like that… and herein lies my dilemma.

i don’t think i fully understand how me not liking a hairstyle [band, movie, bedroom paint colour etc] you like has to be a bad thing for you. i do get it if i add a personal insult to my comment – “Ew, how can you like Twilight, you must be a moron!” But for me to think/say, “I don’t particularly dig that hairstyle,” should not envoke quite as much rage/sadness/lowering of self image as i think it sometimes does.

i think i would hold to ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ in terms of offering comment, but if you ask me for a comment then that should free me up to be honest and hold to a great biblical principle of ‘speaking the truth in love’, surely?

this is probably a lot of non-issue happening right here but i imagine there might be some usual pondering possibilities. most ugly babies i know grow up to be really decent or even good-looking people – i don’t think there is the mathematical equation that UGLY BABY = UGLY PERSON – and so why should it matter, right? and why does it matter if you don’t like a hairstyle that i have that i particularly like? i like it, that’s the point – if you liked it then you would probly get yours done this way too and then mine would not be as cool any more.

what do you think? is it a cardinal sin to call someone’s baby ‘ugly’? what should my response be if you ask me about your new hairstyle and it kinda looks to me like a Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration?

and do you keep your own fat faced picture, not to dwell on it, but to remind yourself that with some focus on better eating habits and working some exercise into your regular schedule there can be more days when you look more like your version of this:

so back in new year’s times i met a guy called gabe at an event i was mc’ing and it wasn’t the greatest of meetings – we had a difference of opinion over some or other thing, i blogged about it without using his name (altho everyone who had been at the event knew who i was talking about) and he (and more particularly his friends) didn’t like that i did that so much (some of his friends got quite pissed off with me telling me what a solid follower of Jesus he was and how i didn’t know him and how could i say stuff and blah blah blah)…

turns out funnily enuff that despite the event being on the other side of the country, Gabe is from nearby to where i live and so when i finally was able to get hold of him, he very graciously agreed to meet (slash take me out for pizza) and we met and chatted and got to know each other better and dealt with the new year’s vibe and put it behind us… which was pretty cool.

anyways, i was invited a long time ago to speak at the Rondebosch/Rustenburg schools Christian Union camp which i did this last weekend, with the beautiful Val joining me in a really fun Relationships workshop and we had a complete vibe at the camp…

turns out, the other speaker on camp, was none other than mister Gabe himself – i had already gone to hang out with him in Jan at a camp he led worship at for one nite and so i’d seen him in ministry mode, but it was cool getting to see him ministering in another way…

and i learnt stuff… not necessarily new stuff i didn’t know, but in both of his talks there was at least one key thing that he unpacked differently to how i’d heard or seen it before and so it really was a growing situation for me which was really great – revelationary stuff…

the one was about Jesus being baptised in Matthew 3 (see title) which ends with “As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3.16-17]

and then Jesus heads out to the desert to fast and pray and eventually be tempted by the devil…

actually, as i’m writing this i remember two things that Gabe brought out of this passage…

[1] the first is to note how many miracles Jesus had done up to that point, how many great preaches He had done, how many of His acts of spending time with the people in society – women, children, tax collectors, lepers, samaritans – that no one liked or spent time with, and the answer is none. Jesus had not done any of His public ministry yet and He receives complete affirmation from God. God’s pleasure and love is a result of God, not of Jesus achieving or earning it. That is a pretty hectic picture of grace.

[2] and the second is that when the devil comes to tempt Jesus, he starts with the questioning phrase, “If you are the Son of God…” in the same way that he met Adam and Eve in the garden and questioned what God had said to them. But we’ve just witnessed it in Matthew 3 as did Jesus – heaven opened and God boomed out in a loud voice “You are the Son of God” – Jesus has heard that He is the Son of God, from His Father and so when the devil comes with his little “if you are the Son of God” He is able to stomp all over it and point back to what just happened. Because Jesus has His identity firmly wrapped up in God and who the Father says He is, the temptations and accusations of the devil fall completely flat.

So stop doing stuff to try and earn God’s love – you already have it [do stuff as a result of incredible gratitude and response to the love you have received – Christ’s love compels me…]

And find your identity in God, stop being sidetracked by the lying voice of the devil… if you follow Jesus, you have been made into a child of a king, live in that status…

Just Another Blog in the Wall

so i’ve been wanting to start a blog for a long time now. and now i have. i use Facebook for a lot of note blogging but wanted a place to just stick my uncensored, well maybe less censored thorts, and so here it is. now the question is who to let know about it, or to just simply blog here and if people discover it then they do.

to be me or not to be me, why is it that so many people struggle with that question when it comes to life, and too often choose the mask more travelled, or worn or something?

is your me really that scary? that bad? that undesirable? i seriously doubt it.

for God so loves.

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