Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Identity crisis {Christ is}

I have to come clean. The first few weeks of January were a beast. A proverbial punch to my gut. A windy blizzard to my internal workings. A marathon of thoughts running themselves ragged between my head and my heart.

To put it briefly, I've had a slight identity crisis.

Note: This is not the obligatory midlife crisis, when some people might insist upon buying themselves a corvette or getting injected with Botox. I was sincerely confused about labels that identified me.

Let's start at the beginning. Here are a few of the "identities" I've been associated with in my life, either by others or myself:

coach
jock
smart
bookworm
English teacher
preppy
quiet
Christian
straight-A student
All American
athletic
goody two-shoes
"track star"
teacher's pet
PE teacher
nerd

Over time, as the direction of my life changed and I became a real adult, a few of those identities stayed the same, and I added happy new ones like "Mommy." However, other identifiers morphed in my mind into these:

unsure
failure
loser
inadequate

And when I resigned from my coaching job, and later decided not to return to teaching next year, I dealt with an identity crisis involving the removal or replacement of some "good" identifiers above. I will no longer be "Coach" or the Health and PE teacher, and although I have disliked being pigeon-holed by those titles and the many others I've accumulated through the years, there was something comfortable about them, and that made it difficult to relinquish my grasp on them.

The following words attacked my fragile identity: 

quitter
unemployed
drifter
wanderer
a woman without a plan
nothing.

To say it's been difficult to transition to a period in life when I don't have a specific and known mission or clear-cut word to identify my role...that's quite an understatement. I like to know who I am. I like to know what I'm good at, what my purpose is, and why God put me here.

My resignation messed with my beliefs about who I was. But it shouldn't have.

I recently "re-remembered" (because I so often have to be retaught) something I learned in college from Lifetime Ministries: Christ is my identity. And because he is my identity, I am...

justified and redeemed (John 3;16)
holy, set apart (1 Corinthians 1:2)
a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
liberated (Galatians 5:1)
blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)
forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
given new life! (Galatians 2:5)

And, of course, the (adopted) daughter of a King.

In many ways, adoption has played a major role in changing my understanding of identity. Sure, it's been a journey to understanding, just like anything else, but when I truly understood what it meant to be adopted---for Brody to be our son, for Sweet C to become our daughter, and for myself to be the daughter of a king (THE king of the universe)---I finally allowed myself to just be.

Because it's more than enough to be the daughter of a King, and it's more than enough to be discovering His purpose in my life and the path he has me on. He has clearly called me to something beyond myself and the silly identifiers by which I've restricted myself, and I'm thrilled to see where this path leads, even if I only know the first step for now. (Just so you know, so far, the first step has been "LET IT GO. Say no to this great job and these great people. I have something for you." And so far, he has shown up at every point of doubt in this decision to reassure me that this is right. EVERY POINT.)

It's been a life-changing 2014 so far. And it's only just begun.