“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
While attending a women’s church retreat this past weekend I was challenged to ask myself, “What is my identity?” To be honest, I thought it was a simple question. Mentally I answered… “a wife, mother, and writer.” Done. I silently checked off each priority in my life.
The speaker, Gwynne Johnson, paused for a moment, a smile on her sweet face, then she dropped the next statement which caused me to catch my breath. “Your identity shouldn’t come from who you are or what you do.” Ummm. What? But, this is who God created me to be.
Let’s be honest for a minute. I was starting to wonder if I was at the wrong retreat. I’m a wife, a mother, and a writer. How can those things not be my identity? When someone asks me who I am or what I do, this is what I answer. Now, I’m being told that I’m doing something wrong. My spirit was a bit unsettled and not in a good way.
She invited Ramonda Lunsford to share her story of how she found her identity in Christ. Her story spoke to my heart. The Lunsford family served as missionaries in Africa for many years. I’m not sure the exact number, but I do know all four of their kids were raised on the mission field. Ramonda shared how they had to return home to take care of her mother-in-law, then while home her husband was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was during this time, they realized they could not return to Africa as planned. With great faith, they accepted that this part of life was over.
Ramonda shared that for the first time, when someone asked what she did, she couldn’t answer she was a missionary in Africa and she felt lost. She didn’t have an identity anymore. Her children were grown, so she couldn’t even say she was a mother to her young children. She struggled with this new stage in her life. Who was she?
God had a very important lesson for her and it was the same one that He would use to open my own eyes. This one quote from her was like an arrow piercing the carefully constructed bubble I had used to protect my false identity.
“Labels are comfortable, but they are not our identity in Christ. We must strip away our titles to the get to the root of who we are.” Ramonda Lunsford
If I strip away my titles, wife, mother, writer… that just leaves me. Who am I?
I was left bare, exposed, and alone with God. You see He doesn’t want us to hide behind labels.
“Our identity is in Christ. Until we truly grasp that we can’t embrace our calling.” Gwynne Johnson
My calling is to be a wife, mother, and writer, but my identity is to be a child of God. My identity will never change. I must follow him and seek to be His daughter through fellowship with Him, so I can fulfill my calling. It’s only through God’s immense grace that I’m able to be the person He called me to be: a wife, mother, and writer.