by Rev. Lillian Daniel (UCC, Glen Ellyn, IL)
Are you an "innie" or an "outie"?
2 Corinthians 4:16
"Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day."
Reflection by Lillian Daniel
When I was a kid, this was a pressing question: Are you an "innie" or an "outie"? The question referred to our belly buttons, of course. An "innie" belly button had an indentation and an "outie" belly button protruded. To answer the question we would all show off our bellies, poking them out to display the evidence. Ah, for the good old days when poking out one's belly seemed like a good idea at the time.
But in Paul's letter, he refers to us having two natures, an inner and an outer nature. The outer nature is what we present to the world, our bodies and what we do with them. All that gets older and eventually passes away.
Our inner nature, which is who we really are, is different. It changes, and grows and gets renewed. It can be vibrant even when the outer nature is failing.
Our outer nature is a battery with a limited shelf life. Our inner nature is a naturally renewable energy source, recharged by God every day, if we are open to it and paying attention.
So today, let the old childhood question have a grown-up meaning. Are you an "innie" or an "outie"? Are you concerned with your physical body and everyone else's? Are you preoccupied with status, appearances or the social impression you make on the world?
Then today you are being an "outie."
But an "innie" cares about the deeper person within, the child of God, the image of God in every one of us. The "innie" looks beyond the superficial and into the soul.
The "outie" will eventually get disappointed, but the "innie" can change and grow forever.
What a miracle.
In a superficial culture of "outies," I want to be an "innie."
Christ, giver of new life, create miracles with my inner nature so that I can put my outer nature in its proper place.