Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Identity

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[The view from my backyard last night]

This isn’t really like a lot of the other posts that I write here in this blog. I’m not writing about sewing, sharing multiple pics of my kids or reviewing/giving anything away here … I just feel like having a deep and meaningful ramble about something that I just can’t get out of my head.

As this blog grows, morphs and changes – I sometimes wonder if it’s having a bit of an identity crisis … is it a sewing/parenting blog that does a few reviews and giveaways? Or perhaps it best comes under the old catch-all ‘a lifestyle blog’ (whatever that means.) At any rate it’s a bit of a mix, a bit like me and that’s just the way I like it. One thing that doesn’t come into the mix as much as it probably should is my Christian faith – being the most important thing in my life, I hope that it shines through everything I do, (although this is perhaps a bit of a cop out); but it seems that I don’t talk about it explicitly that much here in this place. To be honest I think because a lot of times it’s just easier to post pictures and words take a bit more thought and effort.

For that reason this post is a bit different.

Like my blog, I have had times of feeling like I’m having a bit an identity crisis too. As a child at school there seem to be a few main ‘identities’ we are aligned with – we’re either the smart kid, the sporty kid or the popular kid. Of course there are the opposites of this too (the kids that consider themselves ‘dumb’, un-sporty etc and of course lots of other things like musical etc.) Sadly, in NZ as it’s been much publicised in the media recently we still also have a bit of a distinction between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Anyway you get the picture, the list could go on.

When we leave school our identities seem to be dominated by what we are studying/ where we are travelling/ our relationship status. Then of course after that it’s all about the career. and for some of us babies. It seems to be a pretty common theme for woman to find the career to babies transition a moment of identity crisis.

For me, while I know I definitely wasn’t one of the smartest kids in school, I worked pretty hard and did pretty well. I continued on to University and then definitely would have to say that I felt that a lot of my identity was wrapped up in what I did for a job. I didn’t mind letting go of this though, because despite never being that clucky; the joy I found in Motherhood took me by surprise and I felt pretty fulfilled. It was unexpected then, that I’d feel another pang of identity crisis though soon after moving cities a couple of years ago. I made new friends most of whom only knew me as ‘just a Mum.’ 

I sometimes wonder if this is part of the reason I’ve become so obsessed with sewing since I’ve become a Mum. ‘I’m crafty AND I’m a Mum.’

I read this article the other day, and while I had a bit of a different experience and in many ways a different perspective than her; the author Deborah Hill Cone makes some interesting points and shows that this loss of identity is not an uncommon feeling amongst new mothers. She says: “Before I had the baby, I'd been a successful journalist. I'd worn high heels, covered High Court trials, been in control of my life. Afterwards, I didn't know who I was. Worst of all, whatever being a mother involved, I felt I was not doing it nearly well enough.” 

So as a Mum, particularly a stay at home one we try to emphasise the value and identity of Motherhood. This seems to be truer still within Christian circles. Says Luma Simms in an article of the Desiring God Website;

“There is value in motherhood. I think many of us can intellectually assent to the fact that what we are doing has infinite consequence.” [And she goes on to say:] “…there are many books and blog posts out there telling women every day that being a stay-at-home mom is “a high calling” or “a valuable vocation.” …

But this "encouragement” falls short and can actually leave mothers even more discouraged and guilty in the end. These types of “exhortations” are based on a sandy premise. While holding up motherhood as a worthy vocation (which it is) it points mothers back to ourselves to get us to feel good about what we are doing. It builds on sand because it tells us to look at ourselves and find worth, honor and value in motherhood. Even saying that motherhood is a high calling because God says so can be unfulfilling.

I know because I used to be like a mouse on a treadmill thinking the next book may just do the trick in releasing me from discouragement, and the guilt and the joyless service of motherhood.

Instead Luma says we should not look within ourselves, but to Christ for our identity. This is something I think I have to remind myself everyday. But when I do I find comfort despite my own failings and inadequacies, because as Luma says: “We look to Christ because He is infinitely worthy, infinitely valuable, infinitely lovely. A Christian mother is in Christ, and so when God the Father sees me, He sees me through and in him. Follow the logic here. My worth and value is found in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV /

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

And just because I’ve had this song rolling around in my head too… (I think hope and identity are interchangeable here, don’t you think?)

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Thanks for listening. x

6 comments:

jacksta said...

great stuff Jenn

Leonie said...

Love it Jenny - I think you'll find many of us feel the same. What a great perspective - in and through Him. Have a happy week x

Elysia Young said...

Awesome Jenny! I've been having a bit of an 'identity' crisis recently as well (not a 'new mummy' one though :P ) so it was really encouraging to see this and know that I'm not the only one. xx

Miriam said...

good for you - we need to stand aside from what we do (however great) as a point of identity and find our identity in who we are in Him xxx

Sima J said...

Great post - a great reminder for me to remember where I place my identity :-) thanks!

Nin said...

Interesting and poignant stuff Jen, and brave of you to share it. I don't have a ready and easy answer, but if I lived in the same town I would turn up with a banana loaf :)

I feel a big part of my journey right now is to be 'the salt and the light' [read Matthew 5:13] in my family members lives. This involves a level of surrender. I am not the 'shining star' in our family, not the 'mover and the shaker' - I am the supporter, the influencer, the comforter at this time - I can either resist tht our take joy in it. I chose joy.

Its important to remember that these identity shifts are just seasons in our lives, but under it all you are still you!