Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Unsweetened iced tea.
That’s what the quiz said my personality resembled. Not sweet tea or peach tea or even a little wild raspberry tea or health-conscious green tea.
During our family trip to Pennsylvania, we spent a morning at the Turkey Hill Experience where my kids learned how to make ice cream, created their own flavors, starred in their own ice cram commercials, sampled some of the delicious treats, and more. It was a great family day.
Before we left, though, my oldest daughter discovered a touch screen display with a little personality quiz.
What flavor of tea are you?
So, I gave it a little try, just for fun. After a few questions about what I liked to do in my free time, how I handled conflict and what I was like around my friends, it made its deep psychological assessment of my character:
Unsweetened iced tea.
Underneath that was a paragraph about how I’m blunt and can hurt people’s feelings, but I get the job done no matter what the cost. I sounded a little like Donald Trump.
I turned to my husband with a questioning look and he shrugged it off. “Nah, that’s not you.”
Silly machine, I thought. It’s just a foolish test that probably isn’t ever right about anybody.
So, of course I made my daughter take it just to prove my point.
She read through the questions and gave her own answers, and then it popped up with her flavor personality.
The read-out said she is smart, creative and a kind and compassionate friend. They even recommended she pursue a career in making greeting cards.
That is so her.
If I had to write up my own assessment of this child, that is exactly what I would say about her, and this machine figured her out with only about five questions.
It seems like it should be so much easier to ignore the accusations and judgments of just-for-fun personality games or even those of other people.
So what if they think we’re unsweetened iced tea? Does it really matter what they think? Should I care about what a machine says based on my answers to a few multiple choice questions?
It’s not rational or logical, but it did matter to me a little. Unsweetened iced tea….that’s who I used to be.
Sixteen years ago, I was bitter and hurtful, strong, unrelenting, and essentially unconcerned about who got knocked over or bruised when I focused on accomplishing tasks and reaching goals.
Maybe I was a miniature Donald Trump without the hair-do or bank account.
God took that teenage mess of a girl, who seemed so in control and together, and broke her in ways she needed to be broken. He shattered pride and the hardness I had built in my relationships with people. He reached in and kneaded my heart until it became soft and pliable in His hands.
He taught me how to receive grace…and then how to give it.
Yes, He re-formed me.
Maybe in seasons of pressure or stress, I still have that capacity to revert to who I used to be. Maybe my tongue can still slash through people like the sharpest of weapons.
But today I am thinking as I cut through the butter with the tines of the fork and smash it to the bottom of the bowl, crack open the eggs, and watch the sugar pour in grain upon grain. I mix with the spoon at first and then finally reach in with my hands to do the work needed.
And as the dough pulls together, I realize—hadn’t God done this to me?
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3 NIV).
That means seeing the truth about me—not who I was, not who others say I am, or how I measure up on personality quizzes. It means looking deep and seeing “this is how God has made me and this is who I am in Christ”—no better or worse than that.
If God’s grace did this, smashing and breaking me until I could be pulled together again into something He could use, then why still think of myself in that old way? Why hold myself to labels from the past and an identity formed oh-so-long-ago before grace bruised me and healed me in the way that grace does?
Some machine still saw me as unsweetened iced tea.
But God’s sweet grace had poured into my soul and I’m not the same.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King