If someone asked you to describe yourself, what are some words or phrases you would give?
Some of us would describe our personalities or characteristics: Fun! Serious. Outgoing. Loud. Loyal. Sensitive. Introverted. Private. Easy going. Open minded. Passionate. Hard working.
Some of us would describe our roles and responsibilities: Wife. Husband. Mother. Father. Provider. Daughter. Son. Teacher. Accountant. Manager. Business Owner. Caretaker. Nurse.
Some of us would describe our hobbies or interests: Bookworm. Activist. Animal lover. Movie buff. Foodie. DIYer. Traveler.
We use our work, our works, and our traits to define who we are. These things set us apart, help us carve out our own unique place in the world, and allow us to distinguish ourselves from others.
I am a wife and mother. I am hard-working and loud but loyal. I love books and music. I am passionate about serving others.
But what happens when we are separated from these words that define us? What if I cease to be a wife? What if my voice or my vision or hearing were taken from me? How would that redefine me, change me? Would I even recognize myself?
I’m going to have a moment of honesty here, and maybe you’ll see yourself in my words: since starting a family nearly 7 years ago, I have lost a lot of myself to my children. As my career has become more defined and my skill set more refined, I have lost part of myself to my work. Motherhood and my profession tend to own my time, energy, creativity, and focus beyond anything I do. I allow them to define me, but in reality, these things could be very abruptly taken from me. Then what?
The world seeks to help us “find ourselves” and define ourselves. “Take this quiz to determine your parenting style.” “Are you a needy friend? Take our quiz!” “Which sitcom character are you most like?” “Do you have anxiety?” “Stop being a doormat.” “Take charge of your relationship.” Sure, these can be interesting, insightful, even silly! But the ultimate goal is a reflection inward to help us justify behaviors or actions that we use to define ourselves.
Do you know how Christ defines you? Do you know who God says you are, no matter your circumstances or earthly role?
Free. Saved. Beloved. Children. Daughters and sons of the King. Branches of the true vine. Friend. Justified. Redeemed. Heir. Saint. Sanctified. Redeemed. A temple. Made new. Fearfully and wonderfully made. The Apple of His Eye.
I hope, as my children grow and my career evolves, that I continue to find joy and growth in each phase, but stop allowing my circumstances to define me. That I can see within myself the richness and depth in which God has created me. I can always find my identity in Christ. There is never a place or moment where He is absent from me, where His grace and mercy do not extend, where His love cannot cover my lack. In the chaos of raising young children and making my mark on the world, I pray that my mark is a legacy of Chris, that my children see Jesus woven in the fabric of our family, that they don’t remember mommy as loud or stubborn, but that I loved Jesus and defined myself by His word, not by the world.