As I tried to define myself and build who I am on where I found myself in life, I was searching for value and meaning in the positions I held. The problem was that I wasn’t always successful at those roles. I wasn’t always an “amazing wife and mom.” How could standing in this role but not excelling at it give me value? I couldn’t achieve success because the role seemed to carry with it a definition that I couldn’t fit: don’t yell at the kids, keep the house neat and clean, always put others before yourself, hold it all together, don’t let anyone see that it’s overwhelming. I didn’t want to be limited to the roles I play. Though my various roles and responsibilities were important to me, I still felt lost because of my inability to fill them in a way of value.
To further the problem, the roles I filled were constantly changing. I was only a college student for four years. I was only a newly married young woman until we turned into a seasoned married couple. I was only an insurance accountant until I became a new mom. I was only in a small family until I turned around and had five kids. I will continue to be a mom, but I will only be a mom with young kids in the home until I am a mom with teenagers and then an empty nester.
Eventually I came to realize that all of these things are not who I am but what I am. What I was really questioning was not so much what I liked and didn’t like—although I wondered about that as well. I realized that all along my heart’s question was based in value and purpose. If my value comes from the positions and roles I fill, and they are constantly changing, then I will never find lasting value. I asked, “Do my life and my actions have meaning? What things about me don’t change? What is solid? Where is my foundation? Who am I?”
I am not the first person to struggle with my identity and value. It has been a question from long ago. In Exodus, Moses asks this very question. He asks, “Who am I that you would use me?” (Exodus 3:11) “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses is questioning his value. He certainly knew his positions, his history, and his roles. He was born an Israelite and raised a prince. He had lost those standings and was currently a shepherd. He was in hiding. He was a man slow of speech. He was not confident. However, God’s answer did not focus on Moses’s abilities or roles. Instead, he said that Moses was somebody, he had value, because God was with him.
Take a look at Exodus 3:11–12. “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘But I will be with you.’” In his insecurity, Moses learns from God that his value is in his connection to God. In the same way, when I felt lost, when I didn’t know my value, God reminded me of the very same thing as He began to build a foundation and make me ready to hear who he said I was.
During this time, I found myself at a small meeting at church. Through the lesson, I felt God’s tug at my heart and His peace reminding me, I am His child. He knows me better than I know my children. He showed me not that I was great but that I was His! I am connected to Him.
That moment of realization was huge, and it continues to grow in my life. It started with the simple but meaningful fact that God cares for me like I desire to care for my children and meet their needs. However, He is better at it. His love is pure. It protects and builds up. He will not let me down. He will love me unconditionally. He cared that I felt lost. He knew things about me that I didn’t even know about myself. I was not forgotten. I was loved! He will nurture me and love me. He has a plan for me even when I feel lost.
Suddenly the weight of my memory from the museum trip changed. Knowing if I like minerals, jewels, dinosaur bones, or presidential history paled in comparison to knowing where I fit, who I am. My likes and my responsibilities are a part of who I am, but they are not what defines me. I am a child of God.
John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
- How do we receive the title “child of God”?
I hope that you will continue on this journey with me to explore identity. To receive updates please subscribe to Steps to Trusting. As a welcome for subscribing you will receive the a printable file that includes much of the encouragement that I found in God’s word. When I was searching to see who I was, I found healing and an identity of value and purpose in God’s promises. I hope that these truths will be a blessing to you too.