Before Christmas, many things I wanted to upgrade or try for the first time went on sale. It takes a strong will to resist a good sale, and I succumbed to purchasing two: upgrading from a yearly subscription to a lifetime membership on an editing software I use, and taking advantage of a special offer on two DNA testing kits. For the latter, my husband and I shipped off sealed containers of (an insane amount of) our saliva and waited.
On Christmas Eve, I received an email that my results were ready. I abandoned all holiday preparations and dove into a genealogy rabbit hole. First, I read the weightier reports: my dad and grandmother both had colorectal cancer, but I don’t have either of the two genetic variants they tested. The tests didn’t detect variants for a host of other conditions either, although they found one associated with age-related macular degeneration and another for a condition characterized by too much iron absorption. The reports said, however, I’m not at increased risk.
I found less serious, quirkier results in the Traits tab, divided into physical features, taste and smell, and weird and wonderful. It confirmed things I already know: there’s a 63% chance I don’t have dimples (I don’t), a 52% chance I have blue eyes (I do), and a 65% chance my ring finger is longer than my index finger (it is). I have higher odds of disliking cilantro (I eat it, but it smells like stinkbugs), am less likely to be able to match a musical pitch (I didn’t need science to confirm this disappointing fact), and am less likely to have thick hair (sad, but true).
Five years ago, I developed an interest in my ancestry and spent hours researching it with help at a genealogy center and later on my own at home. If my results are accurate, I traced my family tree back hundreds of years. I became tangled in its branches, trying to verify relationships with leaders, entertainers, or authors, as if their accomplishments could enhance my own.
I’m not alone in my quest for information about myself and my family. Many of us look for answers about who we are and what makes us tick. We study the results of DNA testing and build ancestry charts. We take online quizzes and interest inventories. We interpret our behavior and personality through the lens of Enneagram numbers or Myers-Briggs types. But tests, even the scientific ones, don’t reveal the complexity of a human being.
According to my DNA, there’s a 72% chance I don’t have a widow’s peak and a 62% chance I don’t have stretch marks, yet I have both. Genetically speaking, I’m more likely to prefer salty, and yet I prefer sweet. These and other unpredictable results comfort me. They remind me I’m a unique individual, not pre-programmed only to look and act in certain ways.
If we let them, what our results say about us can remove our sense of responsibility or box us in, restricting what we attempt to do. (My DNA or personality type is behind my behavior — not my own choices.) Conversely, the Bible expands our possibilities and challenges our thinking by telling us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). The Holy Spirit within empowers us beyond what we can accomplish on our own.
It’s easy to become distracted by potential connections with people we’ll never know (I’ve done it) and ignore our truest lineage, the miracle at the core of our existences: we’re children of God (1 John 3:1-2 NKJV) and daughters of the King. Jesus calls us His sisters:
“For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters…”
Hebrews 2:11 CSB
Some of us descend from the earthly high and mighty. Others from beggars and thieves. Many are from a mixture of both. But the legacies and DNA of our ancestors don’t define us. Although we can’t trace our relationship to Him on a family tree or through DNA testing, it’s Jesus Christ, our elder brother, whom we should seek to emulate and whose traits and characteristics we should display in our lives and interactions. Let our hope rest in Him.
100 life-line Scriptures you need for any struggle you face. That’s what you’ll find in 100 Days of Strength in Any Struggle. The book is a game-changer! You’ll love the real-life stories of struggle (and hope!) from women just like you, powerful daily verses to anchor your soul to God’s truth, journaling space to process what is speaking to you, and a place to record how God is personally strengthening you!
Invest in your walk with Jesus and get the daily shift in perspective you need to stay strong in any struggle or storm. Only 5 days left to pre-order, and we want YOU to be one of the first to enjoy this incredible book. Let us know in the comments if you’ve reserved your copy!