My Identity Crisis [Dream Again Day 18]

“After crossing the Waters I thought my Dream was just around the corner. Instead, I found a Wasteland…but the Wasteland in anything but a waste. It is an invaluable season of preparation. It is the place where God transforms you into the person who can do your dream.” Bruce Wilkinson, The Dream Giver

 
My  course was clear, I was walking toward my goals, full speed ahead. All of my mind was focused on finishing my degree, and all of my heart was focused on dreams of ministry — believing God was going to use me to reach the world for Christ.

Then all of a sudden I came to a sharp turn in the road, pregnant with my second baby, I dropped out of college and came home to be a housewife, a home maker. What I didn’t know was how home was going to make me.

I came home willingly. I was young — just barely 20, a wife and a mama. God brought me home with deeply planted dream-seeds in my heart — dreams of reaching the world for Him.

My days of mundane and monotony grew longer, and piles grew higher, and the work of keeping a home undid me. The work was never done. And it was never good enough. For me, who still derived my value from A’s on tests and certificates of achievements, I felt like a heavy-weight of failure. And there was no one to see the sacrifices I made or how diligently I worked.

There was no award for “most loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away.”  There was no paycheck with my name on it at the end of the week, compensating me for the 24 hour per day, 7 day work week.  There was no certificate earned for “most dishes washed in one day.” There was always more laundry, more dishes and another day of the same. I saw my time as being squandered away housekeeping, doing seemingly unremarkable, time-wasting tasks that held no value — I felt I had no value. I found myself more than once, piled in a heap on the floor crying out to God, “I feel like such a waste. There has got to be more than this.” 

It is a dream for so many working mamas to be a stay-at-home one, but for me, one who was using my achievements as a crutch to uphold me, still seeing myself for what I do rather than who I am in God, my life seemed to have been swallowed up by the ordinary. I lost all sense of purpose — good only for scrubbing toilets.

At its root, was not a desire for measured success, but hunger for acceptance. And acceptance and love was something I still believed was earned. If I perform well, produce more, compete and win, excel beyond the best, and climb higher, then maybe I will be somebody, just maybe I will be loved.

The year I became a stay-at-home-mama, was the year that began the process of being stripped of everything that I clung to, to find value in. Removed was what I could grasp to when the lies pummeled of my worthlessness; performance, good grades, teacher’s affirmations, a clear and certain plan working towards accomplishing my goal, a degree at the end, and paychecks.

It was a painful tearing away to nakedness, and the bearing of the poverty of my soul that just months before was decorated with honors. Without those honors, accomplishments, accolades I was naked and desperately needed to be robed in His righteousness — not my own.

And this year I call the year of my identity crisis. Yet, this year that I came home was the year that I heard Jesus speak clear to my heart for the very first time about my value. “Don’t let others define your worth.” Jesus began teaching me of my identity, my worth, my value in Him, and it had nothing to do with my performance. I had to learn I am good enough because He is, and I am loved by God for who I am, as His creation, His masterpiece, and not for what I do or don’t do.

A performance mentality is when our sense of well-being comes from how well we do. Our sense of well-being should come from knowing or rather being known by God. 

I was not good enough for God to chose me for His work, I believed. What I did not know as that young girl, still a lump of clay, I had been chosen — chosen by the Master Potter. And He chose motherhood for the wheel. It’s where the mess in me has been revealed and where most all the work of transformation has taken place. And He’s not ever forsaken me or given up, even when the work of transformation has gotten messy or His work to shape and mold me has taken too long.

God needed my surrender, and used motherhood to shape me. My dreams, my purpose, my identity had to be founded in Him. I could not build on my own foundation of ambition, pride and success by the world’s standards. It must be built on the foundation of Christ and His love for me.

“When I grasp the deep, deep love of God for me; when I embrace the truth that God accepts me, just as I am, through Jesus Christ; when my eyes are open and my heart is pierced by the truth, I can finally accept myself. That kind of self-acceptance is not available through the power of positive thinking. We cannot achieve it through reading volumes of self-help books. It comes from an act of faith in the God of grace who made me — who made you.” Mike Breaux, Identity Theft

 

Write It Out: Is God asking you to give something up, to go another way than the way you thought?

Is there something or someone, other than God, that you are still trying to define your worth by? Perhaps something you are using as a crutch to uphold you, when God wants you to find your firm-footing on His love and acceptance of you?

Are you still trying to “prove” yourself to someone, or to God?

Surrender. Find rest in His grace.

Have you found yourself in a wasteland, far from the place you thought you’d be? God wants to use that place to help shape you into His image. Will you give God permission to do His work — for as long as He wants, in the ways that He wants to change you deeply as He wants to prepare establish you in His definition of you?

“When you really know who you are; when you grasp that you are accepted; when you walk with the confidence that you are secure; when the realization that you are significant in the eyes of God begins to build intimacy with Him — all that frees you be to the best you have ever been.” Mike Breaux, Identity Theft

Say it Loud: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Psalm 139:13-17 NLT )

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Dream Again Series:


Continue Reading: 
Dream Again Day 19

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Read: Dream Again Day 8

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Read: Dream Again Day 15

Read: Dream Again Day 16

Read: Dream Again Day 17

  • http://bluecottonmemory.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/the-story-w bluecottonmemory

    My identity crisis came when my first son was born – half way through graduate school. I remember thinking that if I hadn’t if I hadn’t made my dream come true by then – then it was too late – I didn’t see that the real training, the heart training for that dream was just starting. Yes – this mothering has been the making of me – making me into more than I ever imagined. Blessings to you in your journey!

  • http://www.youaremygirls.com Jennifer

    Oh, Michele-Lyn, your words here speak my heart! I am thankful for my crisis of identity, although I certainly didn’t feel that way then! Mine wasn’t just one year, I’m afraid, but a gradual process of Him showing me the idols I clung to, hoping, desperately, to be loved. I love this: “I had to learn I am good enough because He is, and I am loved by God for who I am, as His creation, His masterpiece, and not for what I do or don’t do.” Thank you for this blessing tonight, sweet friend!

  • http://www.pohlkottepress.com tara pohlkotte

    oh.oh. does my heart get this. does my need for acceptance ache along with yours. these seasons that seem to stretch us until we don’t even feel comfortable in our own skin, so thankful to look back at them, and see all the casting off of the old, and the beautiful growth held within. Your dreams are coming true. I feel it. They may just keep growing and changing with you. xo

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Tara,

      Do you know how happy my heart gets when I see you here. I know I have so much to learn from you. About life. About love. About God. And motherhood, too. They don’t teach us these parts in church — how difficult and painful motherhood can be, how breathtaking and beautiful motherhood can be, and how it shapes us into beautiful vessels of honor.

      I drink in your words and feel new hope rising. You think so friend? Dreams? You don’t take me as one who would waste words. I will take these to heart. Thank you.

      With love, Michele-Lyn

  • http://www.findingheaventoday.com Jen Ferguson

    Motherhood remade me. For sure. As one who was used to achieving…and to have her achieving met with numbers and accolades and “good jobs,” motherhood started scratching at that need for constant approval. Scratching it away, I mean…

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Jen,

      It’s taken a very long time. My first born is 18 now, and I think I am just starting to get it. Just beginning to understand how God delights in us as mamas, and I want that to be enough.

  • http://erikadawson.com Erika Dawson

    “God needed my surrender, and used motherhood to shape me.”
    I can so relate to many of your words here. So much of the burden I carry comes from the acute awareness of my inadequacies as a wife and mom: deafening in my ears, paralyzing to my heart, crushing to my spirit. It is an area of warfare in my life, and I am still learning to do battle, still learning what grace really means, and still learning to see and accept me as the woman, wife, and mom, and God delights in.