Identity, in one dictionary, is defined as "the condition of being oneself, and not another." This is an interesting definition to ponder. And I've been thinking about this aspect of life for several days. A few weeks ago, a customer saw me in my car with my kids, then in "normal" clothes, and he said, "I always just thought of you in your black uniform. But you have kids and real clothes!" He identified me with my job. It got me thinking a lot.
Life has been kind of strange the last few days(months, too). My identity has changed a lot in the last months. First of all, mom passing away changed my identity in some ways, because it was a life changing event. Mom was my best friend. She was a steady presence in my life.....all my life. Therefore, my identity changed a slight degree as I've been working to figure out what life means without mom. I said goodbye to my career at Starbucks, which also was a part of my identity for so long. Many people didn't even recognize me outside of the store, when in the store, I was always known. And as I experienced a few days off in between jobs, I've done a lot of introspective thought. What is my identity exactly? It's supposed to lie in Christ. And if I follow allowing my identity to be found in Him, then when these life changing events come along, I won't feel like my world turns as upside down, because I am grounded in my true identity...one that will never change.
I wear a lot of hats in life. I am a runner. I am a wife and a mom. I am an employee. I am a daughter, a sister, and an aunt. I volunteer heavily with the American Cancer Society. Soon I hope to also be a student again. There are a lot of hats I could wear as my identity. But all of those "hats" have the potential to change. Some of them already have. So, do I face an identity crisis each time I go through that change? Or because I'm grounded, do I feel confident through each change? Well....I'm working on this. It takes a lot of time to practice this really well. Mom was always confident in her identity. She was an amazing mom and wife and sister. She was a fun-loving, unforgetful NaNa. She was loved by every child she touched through Sunday School and childcare. She was a fighter against cancer. As those roles changed through her life, though, mom never lost confidence in her identity.She was very grounded. Her confidence never waivered. I want to be this way, too. I'm working to get there. To not let words shake me. Words such as "you aren't doing your job." or "You're stupid." or even sarcastic little jabs that don't mean a lot, but sometimes I take way too seriously. Because, really, if I'm grounded in my true identity, I can hear those things and evaluate myself through Christ's eyes, then decide what to do about them. If the words are true through His spectacles, then I can change it or work on it. If they aren't true, I can rise above them, because I know that it's not my identity. Identity is a tricky aspect of life, because it's so very easy to place it in a job, or a sport or a person. But, for me, I want to place my identity in the eternal value. And one day at a time, I'm working on that.
That being said, I am working hard toward my full marathon goal. I am very excited and nervous about this. I have set more of a training plan for myself now, and I will not back out of this obstacle. running allows me to be free. To allow my mind to wander and to be me. To think on my identity while I run. To remember mom. To contemplate the previous days and think about the days to come. To come up with and get excited for new ideas for Relay for Life. To burn off stress. TO BE ME! I love to run. It does not identify me, but it is a part of me.
I'm also still processing through my grief. Sometimes I write about it. Today's held some of my thoughts, though not all. Lately, a lot of life has focused on the new job and that whole life change that it's been a good distraction. The job change is a good life change, but I still miss my mom with every heartbeat. Going out to the farm is one of my favorite places to be. Not only is it very relaxing, but it is also a place I still can feel close to mom. Her touch is all over that house. About a year or maybe a year and a half before mom died, she and dad remodeled a lot of the house. Her touch is all over it. So are the memories. So is a large part of what I've always considered my identity-the parts of me that I developed growing up under mom and dad's influence. I love being out at the farm.
As I work through these newfound thoughts, I continue to remind myself to take things one day at a time. That is really important in remembering my true identity. And in just surviving sometimes. But also , one day at a time allows me to savor the moments more, and that is so important. So, as I endeavor into wearing a new "hat" tomorrow at my new job, I remind myself that I will take it one step, one hour, one day at a time. And remember where my true identity lies.