“You are a toy!”

Toy Story is the best movie on identity I’ve ever seen

A story helps you make sense of your life. Your own life is a story, with arcs and character development and morals and plot points and premises and climaxes and resolutions. Because you do not know what each page will bring, others tell you stories to help you make sense of your own, as it’s being written. That means that every storyteller has his or her own morals and points of view and plot points and resolutions—all designed to help you make sense of your life.

Right now, our culture is wrestling with the question, “Who am I?” We’re trying to make sense of our identity. With so many options for defining yourself, so many ways to self-express, we are more confused than ever. This has led storytellers to tell stories dealing with identity, to help us make sense of our own search for who we are.

Over in that house is a kid who thinks you are the greatest, and it’s not because you’re a Space Ranger, pal, it’s because you’re a toy! You are his toy! (Woody)

The above quote from Toy Story is from this scene. Buzz has just realized that he’s not the real Buzz Lightyear, but only a toy. His identity as Space Ranger, Universe Protection Unit, has been shattered. And because he’s been so wrapped up in his ability to fly, shoot lasers, and defeat the Emperor Zurg—and now he knows he can’t—his entire sense of self-worth is gone. No longer does Buzz know who he is.

Pointing to the signature on the bottom of his foot, Woody reminds Buzz that his identity is not because he’s a Space Ranger, but because he belongs to a kid named Andy. This becomes Buzz’s new sense of self-worth, the foundation of a new identity, one not based in his abilities. Who is Buzz? He belongs to Andy.

We tend to find our identities in false places: in our abilities, in the approval of others, in our sexualities, in our religions, in our families. These identities are shaky, as they depend on fluctuating relationships, feelings and whims—things that are always changing. In the end they fail, and we completely lose our sense of worth, and who we are in the process. The Bible teaches us something deeper, a more foundational truth that forms the basis of our true identity. Who are we truly? We are loved by God. We belong to him.

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people (Psalm 100:3)

Coming to know Jesus is a lot like Buzz realizing that he belongs to Andy. All those shaky identities, all those abilities and relationships on which you build your life—none can compare to the solid sense of belonging found in Jesus. In him you have an identity that’s far better than any other. He puts his signature on you.

This helps you make sense of your life.

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