Identity Crisis

lyndsay almeida1blog

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.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

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.

I’m Lyndsay.

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.

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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.

  • October 19, 2015 - 3:11 pm

    Carol Lehe Sauls - Love all your blogs! Don't stop writing them or taking pictures!ReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2015 - 11:15 am

    laura - love.this. such an inspiring message for all of us who feel lost – but realizing we’re found is all that is needed. big hugs!ReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2015 - 3:21 pm

    Caitlyn Neff - I love this! Such a wonderful reminder that we are not our accomplishments/failures! Thanks for sharing!!ReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2015 - 11:33 am

    Annie Farrar - I’m struggling with this right now too. I’m a DO-ER. An achiever. a list maker and a list marker offer. And having no ‘job’ for 2+ years I still haven’t found that peace. I still walk around scratching my head. It’s hard for me. It’s hard to not have that ‘title’ or those job tasks. I know i’m right where I’m supposed to be because I do feel like He placed me in this role, for right now, but it’s hard for me. ever day is hard. every day I feel like i’m searching…and get glimpses of the good stuff…but I can’t quite hold on to it. It’s an every day search to find that spot and STAY in it. Because it’s so easy for me to go into the funk spot and sit there. But as my dad often reminds me…though i walk THROUGH the valley…we don’t set up camp there in the valley…we have to walk through it. one foot in front of the other. thanks for this friend. i love you and your heart. you are Jesus to me in so many ways!ReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2015 - 1:38 pm

    Georgee - Oh my word did you just make me emotional or what!!

    Act like it, indeed. I have been so very focused on myself and my business these last few months, thank you for the kick in the butt. All my stressing recently shouldn’t be my focus at all. I need to start focusing on what He is doing through me. I am not my business or my failures or my successes. I’m simply the daughter of the King <3.

    I didn't know how much I needed this until I read it. He certainly knows what He's doing, doesn't he?

    "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." Pretty much the best sentence I've ever read, ironically. It really truly resonates with me!

    Thanks so so so much for sharing,
    Georgee xReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2015 - 8:21 pm

    momma - Lyndsay this is wonderful!! I remember in my thirties 100 yrs ago. someone asked me who are you and what do you do? I felt ashamed saying I am a pastors wife and stay at home mom. later I realized after Jesus spanked me with His word that I am a Christian, a wife a mom and a pastors wife!! what a joy and relief to know who you are and your purpose for living!! Hi Im Peggy Sue a Christian, who loves Jesus and Loves to tell people about my Jesus . I am a wife of 36 yrs a mom , and a grandma oh and a pastors wife :) love youReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2015 - 10:55 am

    Suzie Fontes - You are a treasure. Thank you for being the You He has directed you to be.ReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2015 - 1:05 pm

    Alicia Knopps - You have no idea how much I needed to read this! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • July 21, 2016 - 12:29 pm

    cass miller - Oh sister, in so so so many ways I feel like I could have written this myself. I love that connection you made about Moses and his staff. I have never thought about it like that, and immediately got chills upon hearing that truth. That is so what God needed me to learn right now, I am in a major process once again of changing directions for His will.

    I think you’re incredible, and you have taught me so much about faith in the several years I’ve followed you. Prayers for you in this time, I know He will do wonderful things with you!ReplyCancel

    • September 9, 2016 - 12:30 pm

      Lyndsay - Thank you so much for saying this Cass. I think we all struggle with it! I’m praying for you today!! :)ReplyCancel

  • September 13, 2016 - 10:00 am

    Faithful in the Waiting » Lyndsay Almeida - […] is a totally valid question for this stage! I’m about to lose my mind up in here. I talked in this post about how I never planned to be a “stay at home” anything. I like working, but God told […]ReplyCancel

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