In my 40 years of life, I distinctly remember two big identity crises. The first is hands down classified as #firstworldproblems. The second falls into the category of a formative movement of God in my heart and soul. Both impacted the way I viewed and answered the questions of “who are you?” and “what do you do?”
I sat in the salon chair with my trusted hair stylist and friend ready for a change. This was a spur of the moment decision though I’m one to typically contemplate change for days before moving forward. After years of being the blonde sister in a family of red heads and after years of not so friendly stylists frying my blonde hair, I gave the go ahead to mix up a different color. With out disparaging the immense talent of this stylist-friend, something went way wrong that afternoon. I ended up neither blonde nor red. Thus began several months of color correction and self reflection. I remember looking in the mirror with a head full of color that just wasn’t me and vain tears realizing that I was smack in the middle of a hair identity crisis.
Fast forward several years (don’t worry, my hair situation was now under control) to where I sat in a new home, a new state, and a new season. With my laptop popped open and my fingers primed to begin a new book writing adventure, I searched my heart and motivations. And in that searching and in conversations with the Lord, I heard a clear directive. He asked me to step away from writing. I heard Him whisper to my heart to shut it down and shelve the book. At first, I literally sighed with relief. I could feel the stress lines on my forehead relax. But, when time rolled around for all the new people in our new city to ask this new girl the proverbial question of “what do you do?” I realized this could very well lead to another identity crisis. This time it was linked not to just being known as “the blonde” in my hair crisis but something deeper. Am I being benched from my calling? Am I not worthy of this gift of writing and teaching that I so dearly love? Who am I if I’m not operating in this calling?
Have you run into a crisis of identity before? These seasons can lead us down roads of all the self things: self actualization, self esteem, self focus, self elevation. Or, the perceived crisis can lead us down a holy, productive, growth movement toward our soul-knowledge and rootedness in God’s love for who we are not just what He’s called us to.
The word “calling” often denotes an action, a doing, or a physical movement in our gifts and talents. Yes, that is our calling because our God is not stagnant yet always moving. But in my time God directed rest in my work, a deeper understanding formed in my soul. What if I’m called to LIVE and not just to do? Within that season of resting and searching, the Lord invited me into His presence to soak in identity on His terms. And in that journey, I shored up a foundational life principal that I am loved, deeply loved and I am to first operate at all times within this God-love. But my loving God didn’t stop there, we went even deeper toward the truth that I am accepted and approved. My calling can’t—must not—be wrapped up in the invitation of others but the voice of God calling me into His presence to not just do but LIVE. And in His kindness, God reminded of the unique gifts He wove into my nature to offer those around me as my way of expressing His love, goodness, mercy, and glory.
But all of these revelations of identity and holy love must be punctuated and centered around who Jesus is. Because when I loose sight of that, I loose sight of the why and how and meaning of this calling of mine. Will you sit in this Truth for a moment?
Though He was in the form of God, He chose not to cling to equality with God; But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new; a servant in form and a man indeed. The very likeness of humanity, He humbled Himself, obedient to death—a merciless death on the cross! So God raised Him up to the highest place and gave Him the name above all. So when His name is called, every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and below. And every tongue will confess “Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord,” to the glory of God our Father! (Philippians 2:6-9 The Voice translation)
It’s now two years since that pivotal identity crisis and in retrospect, the tears, the questions and even the sighs of relief deep in my soul from knowing God’s goodness, all of it was not in vain. It was not wasted. Over and over I prayer journaled through my doubts, dreams, knowledge of His big-ness and His love …
Let these prompts spur on your own meaningful conversation with your Jesus.
- Lord, I’m going to sit here in this season of your closed door. How do you want me to grow?
- Father I thank You for the cross, that the sin welling up in me is rooted out in this season. I’m living in freedom…
- What unique gifts have you woven that I can spin out into the world for Your renown?
- Can I just sit right here and be the object of your affection?
Might I invite you to live in your calling rather than do your calling? Live fully in your identity as one loved by the King of the universe. Live gloriously as a daughter accepted and approved so much so that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose in victory over death because He had YOU, yes you in mind. And live in the exhilarating knowledge that you are His unique gift to the world to reflect the glory of Jesus. The world needs to see you live this out and point toward Him. Yes, amen!