When I was growing up, Mom almost never used a potholder to move hot pans from the oven. She typically just folded up a dishcloth, with the only exception being when a potholder was actually more accessible than the towel. As a teenager, that practice annoyed me. The potholder was made to be more protective than a towel. It was thicker, and some of them could even cover the hand entirely! Why use a towel when the perfect “tool” was accessible?
I bet you are already guessing what comes next. Early Saturday afternoon as we were putting the final touches on the Thanksgiving dinner we were sharing with Doug’s side of the family, I opened the oven to check on the rolls. Finding them ready to pull out, I reached for…a dishtowel.
“Don’t you two own any potholders?” my mother-in-law asked, laughing.
I stopped, pan in hand, and responded, “Of course we do. I’m just turning into my mom. And I can’t say that I’m ashamed of it, either.”
There are many ways Mom and I are different. There are many things that I will never do like she does. I doubt I’ll ever be the hostess she is, and I know I’ll never have the musical skills she does. I will probably always need a recipe. I am more of a perfectionist than she is, and a bit less social. I tend to do things by the book, and she can make it up as she goes along. Those are things that will always distinguish us.
In other things I will be different from her because I learned at a different phase of life. There are some things she learned as an adult, but taught me while I was still a child. We will always approach those things differently.
But I often catch myself talking like my mom. I hear phrases, tones, and ideas come from my mouth that remind me so much of her. Sometimes I catch myself doing something the way she has always done it. I even write because of what she instilled in me. Sometimes it takes me off guard, but other times I just grin, reminded that I am, after all, my mother’s daughter.
It has been 17 years since I’ve lived at home. Nearly half of my life has been spent living with other people and under other influences. But, I admire my mother. I respect her and her thoughts, opinions, and choices. Even if I didn’t love her and desire to live out the things she has taught me over the years, the truth is that I am commanded by God to honor her. The resulting combination of that command and my own admiration is a life that reflects her nature, character, and personality, even without being under her immediate and direct influence these past 17 years.
Our personalities never develop in a vacuum. Who we are is a combination of genetics, mimicry, and, for believers, an increasing likeness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We rarely develop strictly by choice, yet much of our personality is formed based on who we choose to honor most without our admiration and respect.
Do you ever take an honest evaluation of who your personality resembles? Maybe it’s a parent. Very few of us have refrained from saying that we’d never do ___________ like one of our parents. Then when we begin acting just like that parent, we refuse to acknowledge it. But, what would it hurt to admit? They are our parents! God intended that we learn from them!
But, there are other times when we need to evaluate who we resemble so that we can make changes. There are things we need to not become because they are contrary to the children of God we are supposed to be. The bottom line is this: no matter who else we resemble, we should never resemble anyone to the extent that we cease resembling the Holy Spirit.
Who do you resemble? I challenge you to evaluate your resemblances. I challenge you to compare them to who God wants you to be. And then I challenge you to honor, respect, and admire most those who will help you look more and more like Christ.
For me, part of that will mean that I continue to resemble my Mom in many ways. And that is definitely nothing to be ashamed of.