At the beginning of this year, God made it really clear that he wanted me to quit my job. (Actually, let’s be honest. He made it clear way before that. But after dragging my feet and trying to ignore him, to the point of becoming miserable, I finally obeyed in February.) That’s better. It feels good to be completely truthful! Quitting was the easy part. The identity crisis that followed? Not so much. I’ve always worked outside the home in addition to running my own business and loved the satisfaction I got from constantly working. I was on staff at a church! I was contributing – doing important stuff! And then suddenly I wasn’t.
I quickly found myself in the middle of an identity crisis. Like, walking around scratching my head and mumbling, “I don’t know who I am anymore,” crisis. Then one morning I was reading The Word in an attempt to pull myself out of the funk, and God reminded me of something: I might not know what he’s doing in my life right now, but there’s one thing I do know. I am his. Period. And he wants me to find my identity in him.
How many times have you tried to write a profile for yourself on social media and gotten completely stumped? I’m actually embarrassed at the amount of time I’ve spent trying to write them. I can talk about just about anything, but when I try to talk about me, I go blank. It’s like that awkward moment when someone looks at you and says, “So, what do you do?” and your brain fails you, and all you can think of is what you had for breakfast that morning. “Umm… I make really good pancakes?” That’s how I feel trying to write a profile on social media. So I start reaching. I just looked at some of my profiles and they say stuff like this: photographer, blogger, boy mom, married to Anderson, thrifting junkie. My profiles are all about what I do, because my identity is so often wrapped up in that. I want to make sure people know that I DO STUFF! I’m contributing to the world. And I’m creative, dang it! How messed up is that? Also, I call myself a junkie? What the heck? Intervention time?!
I’m not saying the stuff I do isn’t important. It is! God wired me to be passionate about telling stories, but he knew I wouldn’t be great with words, so he gave me a talent behind the lens. I tell stories through images, because he gave me a gift to do that. And I’m proud of it! And no. None of my social media profiles say simply “Jesus Freak,” because I own a business, and that’s not really a qualification for what I do. Would you hire a photographer if that was their only credential?!
But. God is teaching me that what I do is not who I am.
My identity is simply this:
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found was blind; but now I see .”
God in his infinite mercy and unending grace reached down into the mud and the mire and rescued me from a life of selfish ambition – from a life that says, “It’s all about what you do. You have to achieve certain things in order for your life to matter.” Because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, my identity isn’t based on how awesome my kid is (or isn’t!) or the amazing things he accomplishes (or doesn’t) in VPK this year. :) It’s not about whether or not my business succeeds or my house is super clean or my kid’s birthday party is Pinterest-worthy. Because that stuff is all based on what I do or don’t do – my performance. How exhausting!
Our pastor reminds us of this a lot – it makes me think maybe I’m not the only one in crisis: My identity is based on what Jesus says about me. And it’s not about my performance. It’s about his performance on the cross.
When I’m gone one day, the only thing that will really matter is what I did with Jesus Christ. My purpose in life is to know him and to make him known. And the more I get to know him, the more I can’t help but tell people about what he’s done for me!
Having a relationship with Jesus means I have joy, even in the face of terrible circumstances like a health crisis or a job loss. It doesn’t mean I’m happy during those times – that would actually be kind of creepy! But it means I have assurance that everything I go through in this life is for God’s glory and my good. To make me more like Jesus. And he is ALWAYS faithful!
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
It’s no coincidence that my family started attending The Church of Eleven22 right before I quit my job. It’s like God knew what was coming! And it’s also not a coincidence that Pastor Joby was starting a series in Exodus at that time, or that the first sermon I heard him preach was about Moses. Because that led me to study the life of Moses on my own this year, and one of the things that stood out to me (in fact I still think about it daily) is how God told Moses, through the burning bush, to lay down his shepard’s staff. Remember that part of the story? It’s in Exodus 4. I always read that and thought God was just showing Moses how powerful he was by turning his staff into a snake. I mean, pretty impressive! But I also think when God told Moses to throw his staff on the ground, it was a picture of Moses laying down his identity. The staff represented who Moses was. He was a shepard, and people knew it because he carried a staff. And he was actually a shepard, because he had disobeyed God when he was young and ended up working in the fields for many years. But when God told him to lay down his identity (even his past sin and shame), he obeyed. Well, first he made excuses. But then he obeyed! I get Moses. :)
When my brother and I were teenagers my dad always said the same thing to us as we headed out the front door: “Remember who you are. And remember whose you are.” You know what that means? You are loved and valued. And you are a child of the King. Act like it.
And here’s all you need to know about me:
I once was blind. But now I see. I’m still a hot mess. But even on my worst day, when God looks at me, he sees the cross; not my sin.
Our church recently started a blog #weare22 as a way to share individual stories about the people of Eleven22. I love it because it’s easy to get lost in the masses at a large church, and I love it because God uses each of our stories to impact someone! This is my current story. What God is doing in my life right now! If you’d like to read a little more about what he has done for me, you can click here and read past posts.