Like most girls, I’m a sucker for a great romantic comedy and growing up, the king and queen of romantic comedies were Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. It all started with Pretty Woman but there were several pairings that followed. One of my favorites is Runaway Bride (1999). Julia Roberts plays Maggie, a woman who has left three men at the alter and is now engaged to her fourth. Gere plays Ike, an op-ed columnist from New York City who loses his job after writing about “the runaway bride” without checking his facts. Ike travels to the small town where Maggie lives in an effort to redeem himself by doing the research he ought to have done in the first place. Here’s your spoiler alert. In rather predictable fashion, Maggie leaves fiancé number four at the alter and falls in love with Ike. Through his research, Ike had noticed something interesting about Maggie. With each fiancé, she had different interests, different styles, and even ordered different eggs at the local diner – the same eggs ordered by each fiancé. When Maggie leaves him at the alter, he confronts her with this fact and she realizes that he is right – she does not know who she is! She doesn’t even know what kind of eggs she prefers! She has been unable to complete the walk down the aisle not because of the person she was walking towards, but because of her lack of knowing herself! Maggie does her own “research” and returns to Ike’s apartment in New York. She looks at Ike and says, “Benedict”. He replies, “Arnold?” And she says, “No, I love Eggs Benedict. I hate every other kind. I hate big weddings with everybody staring. I’d like to get married on a weekday while everybody’s at work. And when I ride off into the sunset, I want my own horse.” You can probably guess what happens next!
How often I’ve been just like Maggie! Instead of being true to myself, to the identity God has given me, so often I have tried to be whatever I believed others wanted me to be. Maybe I didn’t really know myself. Maybe I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted for being who I really am. Regardless of the reason, I know that I was unhappy. Living life trying to be what I believed others wanted me to be left me confused, uncertain, and sad. Maggie couldn’t go through with a wedding because she knew that the person she would be marrying didn’t really know her. And at some level, she knew that she didn’t know herself either. She was not truly known. And that is where God steps in and meets us. He longs more than anything else for us to know Him in the same way that He knows us. And He knows us well because He created us! And because He created us in His image, the more we know Him, the more we know ourselves. It’s an amazing thing!! Scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In our busyness, we lose sight of God and we lose sight of ourselves. God longs for us to be still, to calm down, and to accept ourselves in the same deep way that He accepts us. Claiming the identity God has given us cuts through the confusion, insecurity, and sadness of trying to be someone else.