I’m buying a dangerous sports car and getting a fire-spitting dragon tattoo! Well maybe not…
Maybe in your mind when you think of “identity crisis” this is what you picture - a drastic move masking an internal struggle... and perhaps that’s somewhat accurate. But the type of identity crisis that seems to be far more common is the one where you find yourself quietly drudging through confusing waters of an unexpected season - a job was lost, you still haven’t found “the one”, or someone dear to you tragically passed away. Maybe even more common - you find yourself in a secluded place, fighting through the disappointment of how life is turning out. Your marriage isn’t as strong as you’d hoped it would be, you feel like you’re failing as a parent, you haven’t hit the level of success that was promised… and the list goes on. All of these swelling unknowns have left you in a place questioning …Is this really who I am?
The idea of identity, on the surface, seems as if it should be simple and concrete. So, what makes it so difficult to stand firm in? Is it just elusive and ever changing?
When I came into my own as a woman growing up, out from under my parent’s roof there was nothing I couldn’t do. I had a green level of responsibility that gave me the sense of full arrival into adulthood – I was Tessa the adult. Shortly there after I met my love, my one and only - my husband, Kyle. I was Tessa the adult, married to Kyle. Plans for the future ensued as we stepped into new roles of ministry and leadership. I then became Tessa the adult, married to Kyle, the devoted pastor’s wife. A few years later I took on a massive new identity - I became a mother. So now I was Tessa the adult, married to Kyle, devoted Pastor’s wife, mother of one… no wait, mother of two! I even began to try on a few “a la carte” identities such as homemaker, stylist, baby whisperer, designer, chef extraordinaire, health enthusiast, etc. As the list grew all my mounting identities began to clash with one another. I was Tessa the adult, married to Kyle, wishing I could devote more time to being a pastor’s wife, descent homemaker, drive-thru chef, guilt ridden mother of two, below average health enthusiast, baby-whisperer-wanna-be, and toddler puke covered stylist.
(…deep breath!) Is this really who I am? Not exactly the vision of beauty and grace I’d hoped for.
Different expectations pulling and prodding, forcing themselves into the driver’s seat… From one transition to the next my identity was forced to modify…And being jerked onto the crazy train of identity isn’t my idea of a fun ride!
Falsely, these are the slots the world tells us to place our identity in – and this couldn’t be further from where it belongs. Here’s the crazy thing…. When searching for true identity we won’t actually find the answer to the quest by asking “Who am I?” This question will merely leave us with lingering hearts of emptiness and hands filled beyond capacity.
So here it is… We will only find the answer of identity by asking God who HE is.
It’s in this realization that our eyes can be lifted off of ourselves and onto Jesus. It’s here in this question that our hearts find rest... completeness, purpose, clear distinct identity fully uncovered in His presence. Like rushing water washing over us; His answer calls out through His Word … And then like a stake driven into deep earth we see, in fullness, who we are….the restless wonder fully satisfied in an all-embracing understanding. Breathing in and breathing out identity. We are His.
This reality doesn’t change even when our seasons of life do. Who we are in light of who HE IS remains throughout it all.
But yet…. we are so easily swayed by the voices of the world telling us who we need to be. Those voices will never truthfully reveal our identity.
There is only One Voice that holds that knowledge. It is the Voice that spoke and breath entered our lungs (Gen 1:27). It’s the Voice that calms the raging seas (Matt 8:26). It’s the Voice that calls the lame to walk, blind to see and dead to rise (Matt 11:5). It is the Voice that declared “It is finished” as He absorbed all of our failures, short-comings, and guilt on the Cross (John 19:30). It is the Voice that looks upon you and me, wretched sinners and proclaims us righteous children of God (Gal 3:26). This is the Voice that brings clarity to who we really are – a chosen people adopted in as sons and daughters.
This is who I am. In this reality my purpose is made clear; to pursue Christ to make him known and to bring glory to His name in all that I do.
In each changing season may the steadfastness of who the Lord is anchor our hearts and our minds.
So who am I really?
I am Tessa – His alone.
I am no expert on any topic. I am writing just to share in my journey of learning to abide in my Maker.