By Jenn Rozendal
CBN.com Staff Writer
-- In my endless quest for adventure, I decided to try my hand at
scuba diving this weekend. It was one of those free introductory lessons
guaranteed to get you hooked so you’ll spend the hundreds of dollars
necessary to become a “diver” and earn the right to have a “SCUBA” bumper
sticker affixed to your rear window. And I’m not too proud to say,
it’s just about worked on me.
We entered the dive shop, bathing suits and towels in hand, and were greeted
by our dive instructor. She was all of about 20, with the mindset to match.
A student at a local university, she portrayed what one would expect of a
girl fresh out of high school, trying to figure out her life purpose. Making
conversation, I asked what she was majoring in. She responded by launching
into a ten minute story of how she wanted to be a biology major but biology
in college required that she learn the names of
the parts she dissected, which was more knowledge than she felt she was capable
of. Amidst that information, she shared the story of how she had met her
boyfriend, or “other half” as she called him, listed all of the
diving trips (in detail) she had participated in the last year, and the nuances
of when and how she fell in love with scuba diving.
Now both my partner-in-adventure and I have a good bit of experience working
with youth and were both Communication majors in college, so understanding
the verbage of enthusiastic adolescent communication is not foreign to either
of us. However, this was not the setting we expected to run across it and
all we could do was sit and watch the introductory video she had started
for us amidst her chatter and try to control our laughter at the situation.
I’m sure curious thoughts of what I had gotten him into this time were
flooding my friends’ mind, and we hadn’t even gotten to the actual
diving part yet.
Once the video ended, we made our way to the heated indoor pool for our
lesson and that was when the transformation occurred.
The change that happened somewhere between the dryness of the dive shop
and the humidity of the pool room was profound. It was as if she was a completely
different person -- confident, self assured, and calm once in “uniform”.
Now I can understand to a certain degree the change that occurs in my attitude
when I am taking part in an activity I find exciting. Perhaps it was the
adrenaline rush associated with being able to breathe underwater, or maybe
it was just the really cool equipment strapped to my back, but I definitely
felt “cooler” when I was dressed in all that scuba gear.
But for our instructor, it appeared to be more than just an “I’m
passionate about what I am doing” thing … it was as if “scuba
diver” was who she was. It was her entire identity.
It strikes me that this is so often what we do in life, whether recreational
or professional. We strive to be known as “John the kayaker”,
or “James the doctor”, and allow those characteristics to control
who we are, our societal status if you will, rather than choosing to embrace
the gift of “Matt a child of God” as our one true identity, allowing
the likeness of Christ to be our foremost characteristic.
Romans 12:2 says,“Do not be conformed to this
age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern
what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
There is nothing wrong with taking part in activities we enjoy and striving
to do our best. The wrong comes when we allow those activities to dictate
who we are and take top priority in our lives.
We are all ambassadors of Christ. That is our one true identity. Ambassadors
make up a team devoted to doing the will of God, and God uses us each in
unique ways, through unique circumstances. The challenge is to keep ourselves
from getting caught up in the circumstances and instead set our sights on
the bigger picture.
Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on toward the goal to win the
prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
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