Less than one percent. That was it. I couldn’t understand it, but facts never lie. From the time I was a little girl, I was saturated with the understanding that my Grandparents migrated from Norway. My parents owned the leather trunk my ancestors brought over, made krumkake, dangled red flags with indigo blue and white lined crosses, to prove it. I could even recite a Norwegian prayer, the same one my Norwegian Grandmother prayed on holidays.
About a year ago, my whole identity shifted. For a present I was given Ancestry.com’s dna test; a plastic container you spit in, send in, then a few weeks later receive a link giving you your entire genetic history, based on your DNA.
I scanned the list for “Norwegian”. What I found was, “< 1%”....basically nothing. How could that be?
In scripture I wonder if the disciples had the same identity crisis I did. Before Jesus, their identity centered around who they had always sailed the seas, conversed, and ate with.
But then, Jesus came and revealed a whole new identity apart from everything they knew.
They walked in faith and obedience, while hearing Jesus teach, witnessing His miraculous power and healing.
Still, when Jesus was taken and crucified, the disciples seemed to shrink back in question, returning to salty water drying out their skin, the stench of fish, like those gathered in the days before Jesus instructed them, “Come follow me”. (John 21:3)
And I wonder, was resting in their old identity easier than embracing their new? Was living their lives balancing on the wooden planks of the boat, more comfortable and less controversial than rising to their new, God-given identities?
As I opened up the map of my DNA that day, I not only was taken back, but discovered something I had never known before. I was nearly 10% Irish and almost 10% Finnish. I honestly knew nothing about either. I got online, researched and had to map out what it looked like to be the unique combination God had created me to be.
And whether we are new Christians, or have been believers for decades, God has given us a DNA of unique characteristics and gifts to use as He desires and pleases.
Living as Missional Women means we not only get to navigate our God-given identies, by searching scripture and asking God to reveal them to us, we also get to walk by faith and grace, using those gifts to draw others to Him.
Jesus waits for the disciples as they float in their oblivion, up all night, catching nothing, wallowing in regret through an evening of darkness. (John 21:4)
And I wonder if after we have tasted our new identities, can we sometimes just want to return to what we originally knew….or does our old, carnal selves taste bitter after we have heard His gentle whisper…looked upon His face?
Morning came. A figure from the shore instructs the disciples to throw their net to the other side. (John 21:5-6) Fish fill the boat rocking from the tide. Peter recognizes The One in whom His identity resides…..
“It is the Lord.” He puts on his outer garment and plunges into the sea. (John 21:7)
And can’t you just imagine the aching and longing to be reconciled with The One who calls Peter to his full, God-given identity….The Rock of the Church (Matt. 16:18), the Feeder of the Sheep (John 21:17), the servant of Christ who later model’s Christ through healing (Acts 9:32-43) and teaching? (Acts 2:14)
In the world of so many influences trying to shape our identity, I am so grateful, Christ alone defines our identity. God alone has the authority to tell us who we are.
Let’s rest, eat from scripture, and sit at His feet, while He calls us higher into our true, God-given identity. His blood runs through our veins, and I know I am grateful….that DNA never lies.
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
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