Identity

There are days when I go to church and wonder why I bothered.

And then there are days like last Sunday . . .

Let me set the stage. Mr. P and Boy Patriot were camping last weekend. When they camp, I rarely go to church. I am not a social animal on the best of days, and church is often more than I can take. So I really didn’t have any intention of going to church last week . . .

. . . except that I couldn’t get rid of the nagging thought that I should go.

I won’t call it a guilt thing. It was more of just an insistence that I needed to be there. We’ve been intermittent attenders lately, anyway, so it’s hard to say that I was feeling compelled out of habit. I just thought I should go.

I went to bed with the sense that I should go to church, but I set my alarm and figured I’d see how I felt in the morning.

I woke up early.

That never happens.

The nagging thought was still there.

I sighed. “Okay, Lord. I guess I should go to church. I hope there’s a good reason.”

The first song was a favorite hymn–something that set my attitude aright. I think God knows what we need when it comes to worship. And worship isn’t just the singing–it’s the listening and integrating, too. I needed that little reset in order to hear the words offered by our pastor.

And such words they were, too!

He spoke on work–our need for it, our calling to it, our warped view of it, and the rest.

I have long accepted the notion that God created us to work–that we are wired with a deep need to perform some task that brings glory to the Father. And in my head, there are different kinds of work. I’ve loosely categorized them as creative, constructive, restorative, and maintenance. There may be more, but those are my categories.

But although it seems obvious, I never really thought about God as a worker.

It makes sense though, doesn’t it? That God was the FIRST worker in history? He made things. He created. He built and molded and shaped. And when He had finished, He rested. How could He have rested had He not worked first?

So that was a revelation.

But the real revelation was this:

I have identity issues.

My crisis over the past several months/couple of years came on because of idolatry and disobedience, and I do believe that. But what I didn’t realize until Sunday was that my idolatry and disobedience were born of a warped sense of identity.

I forgot Who I belong to.

I am so used to saying “I’m a writer” that I forgot what a lie it is.

I’m not a writer.

I’m a daughter of the King, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, given new life and restored to right relationship with God the Father, bought back, purchased, restored, covered, and adopted as a child of the Most High God.

Who happens to write.

I think that my head has been moving in that direction for a while, because ever since I had my little “come to Jesus” with . . . well, Jesus . . . a couple of weeks ago, I have found myself much less bothered by the writing posts of writing acquaintances from my old life. Where they used to feel like a punch in the gut, I can now share them with my own followers on Facebook or Twitter. I don’t know if you can call it jealousy or irritation or pain or just the grief of saying goodbye to something that was so dear to me, but for the longest time, just even reading a post about someone else’s write almost drove me to tears.

And lately, those posts just don’t bother me.

Which, really, is rather ironic considering that I have had zero time to pursue any of my own fiction work in the last two weeks.

But I think, maybe, possibly, I’m starting to remember who I belong to. I’m starting to put my identity back in the Hands of the One Who created, constructed, restored, and maintains it.

And suddenly, going back to working on or sharing my fiction just doesn’t seem all that important.

This isn’t to say I’m shutting the door or saying I won’t work on it, and it’s not angst, I promise. It’s a recognition–a position of my heart–that says that even as important and fulfilling and wonderful as writing fiction was, it pales in comparison to the redemption and grace and mercy and love offered at the foot of the Cross.

I’m 44 years old. I accepted Christ when I was five. You would think I’d get this by now. But I’m still learning.

I’m still learning that He is my treasure and my strength and my source.

I’m still learning that my hope is built on nothing less than His Blood and Righteousness.

I’m still learning that nothing I do in this world–being a wife, mother, writer, troop leader, volunteer, or anything else–can ever get me to where I want to be, because the only place my soul longs to be is in the presence of Jesus.

So.

It’s spring break here, and the ducklings are home. And I’m working again, trying to maintain some semblance of discipline so that I can have focused time to work on rebuilding my freelancing business. Discipline means office hours, free time, and the things that I and the family need built into the day without begrudging any of it.

But it also means remembering–moment by moment if I must–Who I belong to.

Because for all my talk about balance and the work-at-home life and parenting and the rest, I never had the anchor in the right place. I anchored my best laid plans in the work itself, not the One who provided the work.

So maybe I am getting it, just a little bit.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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6 thoughts on “Identity

  1. Laurel C Kriegler

    Wow, this certainly is a useful post. I think this is something I need to get right in my head too. I identify with that reaction to posts written by others on, well, anything to do with writing. Oddly, I can probably pin point it to specific writers and not in general – some posts I don’t mind, but others bother me.

    Thank you for blogging about this discovery – I pray it will help me to find my feet, and help others too.

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      Laurel, I know what you mean–some specific ones bother me, others don’t.

      I think I’m starting to accept that perhaps my role in the world of publishing is to be a facilitator and encourager–to sit on the sidelines and cheer. A soccer mom for writers, LOL. 🙂

      But really, this is more about putting my anchor where it should be, which I think has a lot to do with my root issue of pride. It does feel like maybe I’m starting to recognize when its beastly tentacles start to creep into my world, though–and that I’m starting to understand how to put them to death (hint: it’s not by my own power).

  2. Pingback: Identity – by JM Padoc | Laurel's Writing Desk

  3. Kaylin

    Beautiful post! Loved the revelation regarding work. I correlated it back to a few years ago, shortly after I accepted Christ.. God turned my life around like I would never believe – He put me to ‘work’ right away and I’m still going. When you speak about us basically being programmed to work, our work is not for ourselves but for our father in heaven. Everywhere we go and every person we encounter, he is expecting us to glorify him in some way. Whether it be just a smile or an actual evangelistic encounter. It’s not letting our light die down. You know Matthew 5(13-16)? “You are the salt of the earth…”
    Anyhow, all this is to say that when God gives us a talent, it’s not really for us.. He’s going to eventually use it to glorify Him, once we understand this. Not to say we won’t do it freely for personal enjoyment, but I wanted to share that point with you. After reading this post, God may be looking to use this given writing talent to glorify him and reach out to other sisters in need of His word! 🙂

    Also as a woman, mother and wife, your ‘job’ is pretty full.
    Titus 2:3-5
    “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
    As a stay at home mom to 2 young boys and a wife to a husband running his own business, my plate is pretty full. I’ve accepted after a couple of attempts to work from home, that this is my job, I am working from home! 😉 I have just enough time in between to spend time with friends and sister in Christ. And the beautiful thing, he’s opened the door for me to enjoy my gifts of craftiness within the church! I create our invitations and help decorate for church gatherings.
    Thank you for sharing your revelation! It definitely spoke to me. Hoping this fire for jesus continues to burn throughout your week!
    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      Kaylin, thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words. My journey as a writer has been a tough one the last couple of years, largely due to my own pride, stubbornness, and lack of humility. But I’ve come to accept that all I have to do is be obedient to use the gift that God has given me. I do the work; He’s responsible for the outcome. Whatever He has planned for my work–freelance commercial writing, fiction writing, blogging, whatever–I will trust Him to do what He’s perfectly capable of doing.

      Regarding motherhood, yes, I agree with you that my plate is very full! We have four children, ages 9 to 14 (almost 15), and I’m also a volunteer for my daughters’ American Heritage Girls troop and my sons’ Trail Life troop. (Side note: A lot of us in AHG use those verses from Titus as sort of ministry verses since we’re mentoring young ladies to become women of integrity.) Oddly, my perspective on this work is different, but I think it’s because I have less confidence in my capabilities in the areas of motherhood and volunteering and more trust that God can bridge the gaps between my capabilities and what the kids and troops need. I’m better at trusting in those arenas, I think. I’m not sure why.

      It’s all a journey, isn’t it? 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog!

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