For years, I knew exactly who I was. I claimed sister, daughter, teacher and mom as my identity and the security these names gave me lasted until recently. I understand we travel through different seasons of life. But four or so years ago, things changed at such a rapid pace, I couldn’t keep up.
The first change came when my mom passed away. To say I was devastated is an understatement. I claimed motherless daughter as a new piece of my identity and carried the weight of those words as a burden. This was just the beginning of the journey God invited me into as He redefines and repurposes me.
Retirement came on the heels of losing my mom and I felt lost. I proudly carried the title teacher for thirty years and as fast as I earned that name, it seemed to disappear. I let the loss of who I was identify me and my insides began to crumble.
God constantly reworks our identities as we follow Him on the path to becoming. He redefines and repurposes us in a dance of new life. One invitation is all it takes to enter into the gentle rhythm that reminds us of our identity in Him.
This past year, I am learning again who God says I am. There is a place of deep rooted knowing and the pruning begins when I stop naming myself as a burden and begin to embrace the reflection God sees. It starts with a daily awakening that begins with remembering that God chose me and named me even before I was born. The work is hard and somedays I’ll admit all I see is the nameless face staring back at me in the mirror.
Just last week, after thinking I was making progress, I learned again that I need to turn back daily to God’s truth about my identity. The one that I claim many times is one that feels the need to prove my worth to receive the gift of love and acceptance. I had to ask myself if this is where I wanted to stop or did I believe God knew best.
Truth telling is easy when it comes to other people. When I try it on myself, a different story emerges. But immersing yourself in community that walks you through the truth in love and grace works wonders, when all you see and hear is what is echoing in your head.
May I invite you to take one step with me today? Are you willing to claim who God knows you are instead of who you think you are? What will your first step look like?
For me, it is remembering not to be afraid to be a beginner. My season of loss changed my identity on the outside. But God and who He says I am has never changed on the inside.
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – Luke 6:35-36, MSG
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It is okay to admit you are beginner. When life circumstances alter drastically, you can still rest in knowing that who God says you are will never change.
Emily P. Freeman says it best:
We want our circumstances to change, to start again, to be brand new.
But when they change, we often don’t give ourselves permission to be new within them.
Instead, we want to rush ahead to mastery. We think we ought to know how to navigate the
newness, especially if it’s something we wanted, something we prayed for, waited for, asked
for, or planned. The Next Right Thing podcast
Be a beginner for as long as you need and know this is exactly where you should be.
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