Hope-Filled Mama

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Tag: identity

The Path of Trusting

I have spent my life striving to please others, wearing myself out in the process. I find it’s easier to serve others than to take the time to understand myself and be still before God, waiting and listening for what He wants me to do. I will find things to do, and convince myself they need to be done, before I will take the time to care for myself. I do this because I am fearful, fearful that God will not meet me, not speak to me – or that maybe He will speak to me and reveal a word, or a path I would rather not travel.

By Evelyn Simak, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

This year my small group has been reading a book called The Cure, and I resonated with the man in the book who similarly spent much of his life trying to please God. In the book, the man becomes so disillusioned and filled with pain, he decides to leave the path of pleasing God, and instead chooses the path of trusting God, which leads him to the room of Grace. In the room of Grace, he discovers that God loves him as he is. God has formed him exactly the way He wanted, to be there at that exact time, at that exact place, with his exact personality traits.

When I hear these words, they ring true to my soul. This is what I long for. Not striving, just being. My word for the year is grace. Not only grace for others, but also grace for myself. If I can believe and trust that God has created me uniquely and wonderfully, to do my own unique work, and to trust in His timing, that seems too good to be true. But it is His truth. And I need to humbly trust in that truth.

In The Cure, when the man chooses to believe he is loved, complete and righteous already in the eyes of God, his efforts turn from sinning less, to loving more. As he loves more, God heals his wounds, matures him, and releases him to his destiny – a destiny to be revealed in God’s timing.

In my life, God has brought me to a crossroads so that I might choose to trust in how He has created me. Not to be like any other, only to be me – a good enough wife, an imperfect mother, a forgetful friend, and unbelieving believer. Choosing to embrace my identity, and stopping to listen to God’s truth will continue my healing, maturing me so that I can be released to love others. In loving others, I will bring His grace to those who are broken, helping them to heal, and to reveal His glory.

Some of the ways in which I am choosing to live in my identity now, is to put down my phone and be present to the people around me. Choosing to enjoy my children in their noisy imperfect chaos, allows me to not miss fleeting moments of sweet connection. When I find myself complaining or ungrateful, I try to remember all the good blessings I have in my life. Instead of being frustrated in traffic, I try to remember to be grateful that I have a car with gas in it, that can drive on good roads.

I am also learning to say no. My first impulse is to always say yes when asked to do something. I am now trying to be more reflective about what it is I want to do, saying yes out of a true yes, rather than a sense of obligation. Taking care of myself will allow me to better love those around me.

I’ve spent a long time discouraged about my brokenness — working and working on understanding and healing myself, waiting to be released into my calling. But I’m coming to understand that I will always be broken, but my wounds will identify me less and less each day. In my brokenness, I am already made righteous. I need to walk forward in that truth, living fully in what is already in front of me, and waiting with hope for the future.

 

Ex-MLB pitcher Dave Dravecky gives an excellent talk on how The Cure changed his perspective and life.

 

Finding Me

Cheerleader. Fun. Engineer. Although seemingly contradictory, these are some of the labels I was known by during my younger years. Each label has positive associations for me — and also negative.

When I found Christ in 2000, I felt like I needed to strip myself of those labels because I was finding my worth through them. I wanted to disassociate myself from my old ways, and live a new life in Christ. And so I began a long journey of stripping away the old.

Copyright: 36clicks / 123RF Stock Photo

Previously, I had always introduced myself by quickly identifying myself as an engineer. I wanted people to know I was smart and capable. In my new life, I decided to withhold that information when meeting new people, and be judged based on my character instead.

I also decided to eliminate the fun, cheerleader part of me. Before, I had been a loud talker, bar-hopper, and a center-of-attention-seeker. I decided to take myself out of that lifestyle. As you might imagine, many positives changes came from that decision. I rediscovered my introverted side that defined my early childhood, and found great healing from spending time alone. I took time to find healthy and long-lasting friends and relationships, which resulted in a marriage, and the new labels of wife and mom.

Becoming a mother held great joy and satisfaction for me. I had waited a longer time than normal to get married and have kids. Because my husband and I were older when we got married, we were concerned about fertility. We adopted a year after our wedding and were blessed to give birth to two more children after that. But becoming a mother so quickly, to three, also slowed down my journey to finding my true soul-satisfying identity. With three high-energy kids, I had little time to ponder, reflect, and discover.

As a stay-at-home mom, I have struggled during the years that seem to be all about serving my family. While I love being a mom, I also struggle with the all-consuming responsibilities of being a mom. With the help of therapy, I have learned that both things can be true, and that can be okay. God has given me a gift in being known as a mom, and yet there is still more to my identity than that.

Now that my third child has started Kindergarten, I’m starting to have more time and space in my days. Consistently, I’m faced with the challenge of slowing down and taking the time I need to do this. I have to take my eyes off of the world and seek His Kingdom first. In practical terms, this means turning off my phone, having a messy house, and keeping our activities to a minimum. I have to confess I fail more often than I succeed.

But when I do slow down, take time to reflect, and give God an opportunity to speak, I find a peace and contentment that is elusive when I don’t. When I’m feeling frustrated, if I can instead respond in thankfulness for all that I do have and is going right, I am humbled by His goodness to me. In doing so, I am finding more about who He made me to be. And I’m learning is that it’s more about the journey than the results.

“What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become.”  – Dallas Willard

This post first appeared on The River blog Estuaries on October 17, 2017.

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