Last night I went to a Women’s Event at Sojourn. It was, as most things are these days, really good, really troubling, really uncomfortable and really encouraging. I met the co-leader for the southern Indiana community group, and she was incredibly sweet, funny and friendly. Met a LOT of pregnant women. Holy cow, there are a lot of pregnant women at our church. Out of about 75 women present, nine were expecting and two or three had babies less than two months old. (Note to self: don’t drink the water at church…)
On a somewhat related note, I think the spiritual hair clog is finally loose and on its way out of my system. Things are still a bit … gunky. My capacity to love is still at a lower-than-it-oughta-be level, but it’s improving. The living water is starting to run clearer. 🙂
I’ve been a little frustrated about something specific lately, for a good while actually, and I think I’ve kind of worked it out over the last day or two.
We all look for our identity in the wrong places. We will always find it in Christ, but that’s always the last place we look. We like to joke about “finding things in the last place I looked” because it’s an easy punchline and setup. You’d be kind of stupid to keep looking other places once you found it. Except, for Christians, most of us do keep looking for our identity after we’ve found it.
Initially, when we become followers of Christ, we find our identity in Him. But usually, I think, we take up the search again. Because it seems like it can’t be that simple. So we look for our identity in the same places other people look for it, but we try to “Christianize” the search. We look for it in our relationship roles, but we call it “trying to be a Christian wife/husband/parent” or “trying to be a Proverbs 31 woman.”
I did that–can’t tell you how marvelously trying to find my sense of self in my marriage worked out. Yes, that was a statement THICK with sarcasm.
Once that failed spectacularly, I moved on to the other place that people try to find their identity: work. I’ve just now understand my frustration with myself each time I get fired up about doing something other than whatever it is I’m currently doing.
Your work is your work. It’s important for the same reason that your relationships are important: because it shows the world something about the glory of God. God is relational. So as His image-bearers, we’re relational. God is a worker (as anyone whose even gotten as far as the first chapter of Genesis can tell you). So as His image-bearers, we’re workers. But neither of those things define our identity.
I get frustrated because I’d like to be able to put my identity on a business card and not have to think about it anymore. “Okay, God, that’s who I am,” and just focus on fulfilling the obligations of that business card identity. But my real identity is so much simpler and more all-encompassing than that. My identity is to live out the life of Christ wherever I am and whatever I’m doing.
Paul worked as a tent-maker the entire time he was an apostle. What was his identity? It wasn’t a tent-maker, and it actually wasn’t an apostle, either. He was a sinner saved by grace to new life in Christ. That’s an identity that requires infinite flexibility and creativity and confidence and grace and a whole host of traits and abilities that just won’t fit neatly onto a resume.
Whatever work God lays before me, the work itself isn’t the important thing. I think as long as I can keep that in mind, my perspective will allow me to accept with grace whatever curve balls get thrown at me.