I’m an unmarried woman with no children. For years, I have seen friends and acquaintances lose their identities in their spouse or children.
How could they? I’d often think. It would seriously annoy me, as I knew that our identities are in Christ.
And then I realized last week that I, too, wasn’t finding my identity in Christ. For the past three and a half years, although not a super long time, I’ve found my identity in being the Director of Marketing & Communications for The Rescue Mission, a ministry that serves the homeless.
It’s actually been time to leave The Rescue Mission for months. Maybe even a year. I love The Rescue Mission with all my heart, but for various reasons, I had become miserable. Still, I couldn’t leave. What would people think? I appear on local news channels for my job, representing The Rescue Mission. I’ve given up holidays with my family to work, even though I didn’t always have to. When things started to get messy, my health took a nosedive, and I had three different doctors, including a psychiatrist, tell me to quit my job.
But I just couldn’t. I realized last week why – my identity was in my job. Let me tell you, be it your job, your child, your spouse, or whatever, finding your identity in anything other than Christ will set you up for disappointment.
I’ve always SAID my identity was in Christ, but I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever actually lived that way. In the past I’ve found my identity in jobs, boyfriends, mission trips, friends, and even church. And every single one of them let me down.
Having your identity in Christ doesn’t mean you won’t get hurt by others. What it means is that when you DO get hurt (and you will), you are going to be OK. You are not who your boss says you are. You are not who your ex-spouse says you are. You are not who that stranger on Facebook says you are. You are who God says you are. You are a child of God. Always.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His light.”
1 Peter 2:9
Christ is the only one who can pull you out of darkness into light. So why put your identity anywhere else?
A week ago I accepted a new job and turned in my resignation from The Rescue Mission. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it’s been one I’ve been wrestling with for quite awhile. But it’s OK. I can leave The Rescue Mission and still be Natalie. I’m actually hoping I can be a better version of Natalie.
My new job has very similar duties to what I was doing at The Rescue Mission, but it will be for a secular organization. (In all honesty, I will likely never work for a ministry again, but that’s another blog post, maybe even book, for another day in the distant future.) I am beyond excited about this next adventure in my life, and I plan to be the best Marketing Communications Specialist my new employer has ever seen. But it will NOT be my identity. If it is, I’ll surely end up burnt out. I’ll definitely end up disappointed.
And I’m tired of being disappointed.
Although I’ve always been quick in my mind to notice others whose identities are in the wrong thing, I’ve also struggled with it myself for as long as I can remember. I have to make a change.
My identity is not Natalie, Director of Marketing & Communications of The Rescue Mission.
It’s not Natalie, mission-trip-taker.
It’s not Natalie, cookie maker.
I’ll still be some of those things, but they will not define me. It’s time to be Natalie, child of God.
I’m working on writing and publishing my first book! I’ve created an author page on Facebook, and I hope you’ll “Like” it and come on this crazy journey with me! Click below to visit the page.