Four months ago, I met with wise counsel in a coffee shop. She sat with me for three or four hours. I hadn’t had anyone spend that much focused one-on-one time with me, be so patient and gentle, listen so intently, or ask such thoughtful, deep questions of me for a long time.
I needed somebody to listen, hear the whole story, help me filter, discern without judgement or bias. I needed someone to process with me, and I needed it to happen organically, without feeling like we were under some sort of time crunch. So I scheduled more time than I thought necessary, and we filled it all. Obviously, I needed that wise counsel.
The words we shared with one another that day will always remain confidential. But there’s one thing from our conversation I would like to share with you today.
She asked me to spend some time thinking about my identity. Beyond wife, mom, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt, blogger, speech therapist, former nonprofit board member, and all the other roles I’ve played in my life…
Who am I?
Strip away the roles, titles, and responsibilities. Strip away the masks and dreams of what could be. What remains of my identity? What words best describe the core of who I am?
I love questions of identity, so this really got me thinking. Add to that, I’ve spent nearly two years in an awkward in-between, more than ready to embrace and live out my true identity. So what would I say? How would I answer this question? Who am I? Who am I, really?
Here are the words that come to mind…
Observer of people and life.
A little obsessive.
Can be quiet.
Can be really talkative if the stars align (setting + personality match + subject matter).
Child of God.
So what’s the point? Why identify your identity?
1) We need to keep our identity grounded in what’s truly significant. Our worth comes NOT from what we do, how much we accomplish, how many kids we have, or how big our houses or bank accounts are. Our identity is what remains when all the things of this world are stripped away. What remains at the end of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? You. What remains at the end of a beautiful, marvelous, spectacular, very good day? You. Our worth is best judged based on our identity rather than our circumstances. As they say, you’re so much more than what’s happened to you.
2) Our lives should, ideally, reflect the whole of our identities. God created you for a reason, to fulfill a specific purpose during your time here on earth. All the intricate little parts of you come together to create all of you. So does your day to day life reflect your true identity? Do you feel like you’ve been wearing a mask, trying to please, living a life others created for you, hoped for you? Was your identity trampled on somewhere along the way, have you stuffed it away in hidden places nobody knows but you? Are the most authentic parts of your identity yet to be tapped? Are you desperate to embrace your identity rather than reject or half-heartedly live it out?
Let me share one great example of how identity recently showed up in my life…
This week I’ve been reflecting, yet again, on my trip to Haiti with Compassion International. In all my deep thought, I realized something important. One of the reasons I loved Haiti so much was that the trip was 100% in line with my identity. Every aspect of my identity was tapped during that trip. I didn’t have to work hard. I didn’t wear any masks. I was at peace. And I was filled to the brim with joy of another kind. Because I was living out my true identity. Who I am flowed out naturally during that week in Haiti. I didn’t have to reach out, grab onto, or construct some false, half-hearted identity. To have that opportunity, to live 100% in line with my identity was a beautiful experience. So from that point forward, I committed to living differently, fully in my identity. The best way to express gratitude to God for creating us in the first place, is to whole-heartedly embrace our unique identities and live accordingly.
So I wonder…
What’s your true identity?
Who are you?
Who are you, really?
Our identity is what remains when all the things of this world are stripped away.
Take time for you. Give yourself a gift.
Identify your identity.
Grab a pen, sit down on a comfy chair, and take a few minutes to identify all the things that make you, you.
Then, be intentional about living your life in a way that taps into every bit of that identity.
Because this world needs ALL of you.