What are you, anyways?
I just finished an email interview, and I got kinda stumped by this one question:
Then oddly enough I went over to Kathleen’s blog and it turns out she’s had a similar situation. Aren’t labels fun?
The concept of being labeled – identified – is on my mind a lot this past week. What causes us to identify with a certain identity more than others? Some we want – or choose – to identify with; others are put upon us like collars on a pet.
Identity is tough. The mantra of “Know Thyself” seems frustrating and paralyzing when you’re still trying to figure it out. I myself have struggled with identity. It was only a few years back that I would finally feel validated as a “real” graphic designer, and then years later a “real” blogger. But there’s a lot more to the identity too: I’m a Christian who loves & believes in Jesus, but I don’t want to be perceived as unloving or judgy. I’m a mother but I don’t like to be thought of as wearing mom jeans or frumpy; it took me a long time to settle into the identity of wife AND mother. I’m a wife but I’m not your ’50s Donna Reed and I’m abysmal at cleaning house. I’m a designer but I don’t think of myself as an artist. I’m a shopowner, but I don’t think of myself as particularly good at business. I love fashion but I’m not a size 2. I’m marching to the beat of my own drum – I’m an individual. And I’m learning to let myself be exactly who I am without worrying what anybody else thinks about it.
I also toss around the idea of what our family identity is. What do we look like as a unit? Sometimes when Jude and I have a talk about some negative behavior of his, I’ll remind him of this: “Shingletons are kind to everyone.” Or maybe “Shingletons don’t complain; we act.” These are the things that I want to build up in my family to remind us of who we are. There are too many other things out there that want to label us, especially in the volatile years of adolescence — I want Jude to remember the foundation of our family and what we choose to believe before anything else when others try to drag him down. And I realized that more than anything, I want him to be a total rebel. A rebel against everything that wants to make him what he’s NOT. Jesus was a rebel too – and that’s maybe what I love most about Him. He came to earth and did all these things that went against what all the churchy people(read: Pharisees) thought He was supposed to do. I’m still wrapping my brain around that one. And He didn’t do it in an ugly way, either — He didn’t have to make swooping Facebook announcements to accomplish that. He just said “Follow me.”
At church on Sunday, we were discussing gifts in our Sunday school class and how God has created each of us entirely different, with different identities, different talents. None of us are the same. We’re not all meant to do the same things. It brought to mind a conversation I had a few years back.
“I like all these things that you’re doing – blogging, that stuff. But I don’t really know what the spiritual significance of any of this is.”
That really took me back. It even made me stop to reassess what it was that I’m doing, like maybe I should go ahead and give away all my stuff so I could pursue ministering to the heathens (which was NOT what God was asking me to do!). But as time has gone on, I’ve stopped letting myself be labeled by the identity that was being put upon me — NOT GOOD ENOUGH — and realized that I was, in fact, Just Who I Was Designed To Be.
Friends, I hope that today you can encouraged to just who you were designed to be. The End.
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