I've had an identity crisis my whole life.
Different times I thought I was an actor, therapist, academician, businessperson, comedian – but I was an enigma, even to myself. I achieved mostly confusion.
I wasn’t enough of any of these things to be one of them. An aversion to commitment only served to spin me around in circles. I was jealous of those who could say “I’m a teacher.” “I’m a salesperson.” “I’m a musician.” They knew. I wanted to know. But I couldn’t settle on one thing. I didn’t make any of them happen.
I have the unique gift of reading most people really well, but I’m a complete dolt about myself. All my powers of discernment – seeing who a person is and what they’re all about – stop at me. Ultimately, I have no idea what I want or what I’m doing in the world, nor do I know how I come across, who people think I am. I just do my little life, twirl in circles, and watch one year become the next, and the next, and the next. I’m in my head all the time.
Over time, I’ve become a wife, a mother, a blogger, and other things. But I don’t feel like any of those things. I feel like these are just placeholders while my real self forms. I can prove that I have a husband and children and a blog, but those identifiers are too much, yet not enough. I’m just… me.
I believe in God, and I believe that through our lives, God works to mold and form us into the person he created. We can make our own decisions and become a criminal, a liar, and a thief, but he can use even those roles to point us to him. Who we are is from him.
When I start focusing only on my own abilities, God pulls me in. He shows me with a word, a nudge, or even a setback, that I am here for him, for his glory. I don’t always show my holiness, and he is always there to remind me of what I possess. His image. Who I am, and whose I am.
In high school, my best friend’s mother said that to her when she’d exit the house: “Remember who you are, and whose you are!!” My friend played embarrassment when her mother said it in front of me, and I remember smiling about the cute phrase. I wasn’t much of a God-fearing teen, but I appreciated it. As we peeled out of their driveway, those words settled in and I like to think that they kept us from doing things that we might have done if we hadn’t heard them.
Now, when my kids go somewhere without me, I say it to them.
God made each one of us in his image. He knows who we need to be to bring him glory. If we allow him into our lives, he can – will – show us who we can be with his help. With God working in us, we are even more than we thought, more than we can become on our own. We are his children, able to do amazing things that we haven’t dreamed of doing.
Knowing who I am in God’s eyes doesn’t always take away my struggle to find my own personal identifiers. I still want my own seat at the table. It’s hard to give that up, even though it has held me back from settling in, just being his, and working alongside him instead of under and around him. We all want something we don’t have. What I am working on is to just be. To not worry about or yearn for a name, a title.
After all, I already have one.