There’s a cacophony of identity discussions blowing up my newsfeeds. People are passionate about peeing; this isn’t one of those blogs, but I have done some serious thinking this week about identity.
This was a rainy, cooler week in Nebraska, and for me, those types of days don’t usually lend themselves to productivity or a cheerful attitude. There were even a few days I had to drag myself out of bed and pretend to be a person. I sent a text to one of my dear friends: “Feeling like I’m made for more than this. Laundry and poopy diapers isn’t energizing me today . . . and I’m overeating carbs. I feel lousy, fat, and bloated.” Okay, there’s a lot of layers here; stick with me.
I balance several identities on any given day. In this season of raising small children, my identity as mom tends to fall front and center. I’m the momager, managing schedules, fees, playdates, laundry, meals, snacks, skinned knees, baths, books, play dough, and well, you know how it goes. I can’t imagine my world without these three little humans calling me mom, but many days the logistics of the role wears me out and leaves me desperate for a nap or a glass of wine.
Oh yeah, I’m also a wife. I know, I know, all the experts say wife trumps mom, but the reality is, when you are in this season of marriage, parenting becomes the pushy kid that cuts in line. Most days I’m left with a pointing finger and whiny voice complaining, “Hey, parenting cut!” My identity as wife has morphed over the years; maybe I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin or maybe I’ve become more comfortable with my husband—probably some of both. I am honest, I try to be supportive and provide feedback, and from time to time I attempt to be sexy—but again, we have small children.
In many ways, it’s my friend identity that provides purpose, laughter, and joy in the thick of daily life. Staying home with children can be isolating and very lonely unless you have a network of friends who walk alongside you and share the tears and laughter. I’m incredibly lucky to have a supportive group of women who share in the struggles and triumphs of identities as moms and wives. They’re my people; they get me. Being with them (and a ridiculous number of loud children running through the house) fills my often depleted cup. They enrich my life in countless ways, and I am so grateful for the insight and honesty we can share with one another.
Then there’s just me. Who am I? Shamefully, I admit that lately my “Jessica” identity has been racked with a focus on calories, squats, waist circumference, and the aging face staring back at me in the mirror. My husband keeps telling me I’m in my thirties and that it’s appropriate to look as such, but my heart longs for the youthful skin, hair, and shape of my prebabies early twenties. Rationally I know the vain nature of this internal battle, and yet every morning, there I stand in the mirror, disappointed again at what it would appear I can’t change.
Flash back to the text conversation with my friend. She responded “Satan is messing with your head. Not that you can’t do more, but he is telling you that you aren’t significant. You are brilliant! And you are valuable. Take on the world or be with your family. God doesn’t care what you do as long as you do it to bring Him glory.”
Colossians 3: 1–3 says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (NIV). My identity is in Christ; really, the tribulations of my other identities don’t matter. He was crucified, died, and was buried, on the third day rising to triumph over the grave and devil so that my identity will forevermore be in Him.
I’m no longer defined by my parenting, my pant size, my career, my age, my social status; rather, I’m defined by Christ who has set me apart as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (ESV).
Maybe you’re like me and stuck in an identity crisis, searching for meaning, purpose, or value. Let’s stop seeking what has already been won for us—a new identity that has more eternal meaning than any temporary, earthly role we might play. We are His, and our true identity is sealed by the blood of a risen Savior. Let’s take refuge in that today—in fact, every day.
Scripture: ESV® and NIV®.
Jessica Brashear lives in Seward, Nebraska and is a wife and mother of three. She enjoys entertaining, building relationships with Concordia Nebraska students and finding ways to encourage others. As primarily a stay-at-home mom, she loves a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and a good laugh with a friend. Although her days are mostly filled with PB&J, spilled milk, and breaking up sibling spats, she couldn’t imagine a more precious life. She hopes her readers relate to her real life, tell-it-like-it-is transparency and authenticity.