So during the month of June we’re supposed to write about identity, but right now so much of my identity is changing and flexing and morphing. What do I do with that?
Bear with me while I process.
See, I think we put our identity in so many things. Yes, we’re told to put our identity in Jesus—He is all we need—and I believe that, but I’m not naïve. I know—I KNOW—I put my identity in other things, too.
I need an identity reality check.
I’m a mom. It would be silly to say, “I’m not a mom. I’m just a Jesus girl,” because the truth is, I AM a mom. It’s not my entire identity, but it is a part of my identity. But the thing is, my identity as a mom is changing quickly these days. My girls are growing up and away and out. On a day-to-day basis, the part of me that answers to “Mom” is becoming smaller and smaller. Shrinking before my very eyes. If I made being “Mom” the biggest part of my identity, I would find myself shrinking every day, too.
I’m a wife. I never forget that a huge part of me belongs to my husband, and that I have influence on him and he on me. But I don’t go to work with my husband. (In fact, he tells me that many people he works with don’t even believe I exist because I don’t get to interact with them very often.) As my husband’s wife, my identity is sometimes not even known to some people. If I made being my husband’s wife my identity, I would feel quite empty sometimes.
I’m a professor. I often think about my job or my students or my college because it’s a big part of who I am. And yet, my job is granted to me on a year-by-year basis, and there are no guarantees that next year I will be able to call myself “Professor.” It’s a tenuous gig at best.
I’m a daughter. A sister. A friend. But those roles change over time, as well. Those identities are determined somewhat by time and compatibility and distance.
I can’t deny these different identities. They make up who I am. But they are not all of who I am, nor are they guaranteed to last.
When we say that our identity is in Christ, what does that mean? I’ve been mulling that over this month, and here’s what I’ve come up with.
It means forever.
It means the one role that I have that cannot be changed, moved, shaken, or taken from me.
It means that the one person I rely on to fully satisfy me, to be fully consistent in my life, is the One who has said, “I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.”
It means that my life here on earth is temporary, but my life with Jesus is forever. As the apostle Paul put it, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
Your real life.
Your real identity.
Mom, your real life is not to be found in your kids—trust me, they will be gone before you know it.
Your real life is not to be found in your husband—his life is temporary, too.
Your real life is not to be found in your job—that could also be gone tomorrow.
Your real life is to be found in Christ alone who is eternal, unmoveable, unshakeable.
So when I struggle with my identity, which is more often than I care to admit, what I’m really struggling with is the reality of this temporal life. I want to matter in this life (which is temporary) to the people in my life (who are also temporary). When I struggle with my identity, it’s a struggle with wanting to matter to someone or something that doesn’t last.
What I really need to do is to look no further than the real life that can be found in Jesus alone. To let His identity—His faithful, unfailing, never ending identity—inform all of my other roles.
Because, the reality is, I will be His child forever.