Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Re I.D. Me (a deep and sappy blog post about how good God is)

Four years and some months ago, when i started blogging, i was doing it at a different address and with no thought of being a farmer anywhere in my scope, or my peripheral vision, for that matter.  My blog was called "Re I.D. Me," and it was born out of a hint of a clue that after nearly 30 years of intermittently "walking with God," i still had no idea what it really meant when church friends and mentors told me "you have to find your identity in Christ."  I knew how to say it, and i knew that i wanted it, but i didn't really know how i was missing it.

So the title of my blog was a prayer.  "God, please give me a new identity.  I don't know who i am.  Please help me know what it means to be a child of God, and what it means to have my identity in Christ."

The posts i wrote on that blog have now been incorporated into this one.  Some of them are vague and pointless, but they're what i said at the time, and they're here for posterity, if nothing else.  =)  The Re I.D. Me blog still exists; i just don't write on it anymore.  But the heading is still the cry of my heart, but today, from a new perspective.

I started writing as part of the process of recognizing that my true identity is in Christ alone.I realize that to truly be a Christian, i must no longer continue to identify with whatever badge is hanging from my identity cannot be found in the person who authorizes my pay check.who i am is ambassador for Heaven, child of God, and everything i do and all that i am must stem from that identity and none other. and to God i submit my life that He might shape it to conform to His desires.

Jump ahead:

Last week sometime, my gun slingin', good lovin', muscle bound, brainiac, super hero and i had a long heart-to-heart.  The kind of heart to heart that you have maybe once every five years.  The life altering kind of heart to heart, wherein you make decisions that are literally going to alter your proverbial path in life.  To make a very long conversation a lot shorter, and to possibly get to the point before this post becomes a novel, in order to affect all of the goals that i write about in the right hand margin of this blog, i volunteered to re-enter the work force, for an indefinite but temporary period of time.  If you can figure that out.  =)

O.k., i know that probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but to me, it was death.  Better lemme 'splain.

Back to the identity thing.

By exiting the traditional work force and becoming a stay at home wanna be farmer, i thought i escaped the trap i had been living in while i worked.  To be fair, the trap was my doing, not anyone else's, but i digress.  As much as i didn't want to be, i was defining myself by the opinions, or perceived opinions of others.  By the perceived values of my employers, by the opinions of my co-workers, by the impressions of people i interacted with because of my job, by whomever happened to be nearby.  And by leaving that world, i had no one but God and my husband and my chickens.  These were the only opinions i had to interact with.  And i slowly began to see myself as an individual and to be validated by God and to see His gifts and start to learn how to use them.  So something in my mind thought that returning to work would reverse all that.  That i would give up me.  That i would give up all the things that i love.  It was death.

Then God began to minister to my heart.  And He began to help me to see things differently.  That i don't have to be defined by all of those people whom i chose to be influenced by in the past.  I could keep my identity in Christ, even in the workplace.  Novel thought.

I started making rules for myself.  Identifying my self, and God's values, out loud.  Telling myself who i am.

Yesterday, i went for an interview, with my old boss.  And it was the first time that i can remember ever, sitting down with a prospective employer - or anyone of authority - and just being open and honest and not fashioning my answers after what i think this person wants to hear.  Just being myself.  At ease.  Not performing.  Completely validated by God, and thus not seeking the validation of any human being.

It was a miracle, the evidence of a transformation in me that i hadn't realized had been taking place.

Last night, i lay in bed, marveling at the work of God in my life.  Realizing that He answered that prayer, "God, please re i.d. me."  And the words of a song we sing in church became real to me.

The miracle of Christ in me 
is the mystery that sets me free. 
I’m nothing like I used to be. 
So open up your eyes; you’ll see.

Since the concept of having your "identity in Christ" might not be any clearer to you than it was to me a week ago, i thought i would attempt to explain it by sharing some of the things that are gone out of my life because of the work God has done.

I already told you about one, a little bit.

Interviews and authority figures.  As far back as i can remember, i have always gone into a tunnel visioned fog when speaking with those who were, or might be, evaluating me. When i tried to explain this to my husband, he related to what i was saying because he could remember feeling it once or twice when standing in front of a group of people, expected to speak, but unprepared.  That's exactly it.  I was performing.  And i was performing because i was counting on that person to validate me, and i didn't want them to see any of my flaws.  Consequently, i'm sure i was wholly unimpressive, but that's another story.  I remember freezing in front of authority figures, such as judges, completely unable to be myself, or carry on with normal conversation.  I was afraid they might invalidate me if i said something wrong.

Telling people what you think they want to hear.  This one is huge.  Looking back, i realize that this one blanketed nearly every facet of my life.  I am, by nature, an observer of people, and i have spent a great deal of my life, and wasted conversation, guarding my words to conform to what i believed was acceptable to my current audience.  Co-workers, church friends, random strangers, anyone.  This, first of all, is a way of lying to the entire world by not being honest about who you are and being the same person wherever you are.  And it is motivated by the desire to be liked.  By people.  Any people.  This has kept me from sharing Christ on numerous occasions and has simply caused me to keep myself hidden in a cloak of deceit, not just deceiving others, but also myself.

Identity by Occupation.  When i wrote the Re I.D. Me blog, i was a clerk for an elected official by day, and a waitress at Denny's by night.  No matter where you work, i think there is the idea that as an employee, you represent something specific.  A person, a company, an ideal, something.  This is the very biggest reason why i left the work force in the first place.  I knew that, as a Christian, i should represent Christ, but i couldn't figure out how to represent Christ while representing such-n-such elected official.  No matter what my blog said, i was continuing to find identity in my jobs.  I wanted to be validated by my success in my jobs.  I couldn't represent Christ because i didn't find my validation in Him, the only place where validation really can be found.

The Pain of Disapproval.  I can remember a few different times that i had a co-worker, a supervisor, or a boss, who disapproved of me.  First of all, this always shocked me, since i worked so hard to perform for my audience.  But it was also something i couldn't tolerate.  The unkind glance of a co-worker could send me to tears.  Now, working with those who disapprove of me, is an idea that doesn't really bother me.  Obviously, it's much more fun to work with people who think you're the best person in the world, but if they don't, it's o.k.  Because my value is not based on anyone's opinion but God's.  And i know it in my heart.  And it is planted there.

* * * * *

If you're wondering about that interview, i was offered a position on the spot.  It's the position i wanted, for more money than i expected, and all of my complications were accommodated for.  I was welcomed with open arms.  And yesterday, after discussing the whole matter thoroughly with my husband, i accepted the position.

Here are some of the rules, my rules.  I'm still a wanna-be-farmer.  And like many wanna-be-farmers who have gone before me, i am taking day job in order to facilitate the advancement of the farm.  I will still raise chickens and Lord willing, bees.  I am also not giving up on my Etsy store.  Crocheting is a skill i want to continue to use, maybe on breaks and lunches.  I don't have to give up everything i enjoy in order to go to work.  Because i still am who i am.  And that is that.  As i mentioned in previous posts, we are scaling way back.  We have sold the rabbits to a wonderful family who is able to give them much nicer accommodations than they have had here.  The same family got a couple of the chickens.  This week, i expect to sell/give away quite a few more chickens.  And in the end, i expect to have about 14 chickens, 2 roosters and 12 hens, which will seem like nothing in comparison to the enormous flock we have right now.  But they will be much easier to keep up with and clean up after and feed and whatnot.  They will probably also be happier with their less densely populated home.  I will continue to hatch baby chickens for others because i enjoy it and because i can and because it's just a great experience all around.  The farm is alive, but the farmers will have to farm in the evenings for a while.

I guess i will finish my novella now.  And if you endured that whole long story, i hope you were blessed by it.


  1. Beth, I am resisting the urge to be cute and give cyber hugs or high fives, or something else much less than what I mean.

    This post is just flat out awesome. Hearing of your journey is an encouragement and a validation to those who have a similar sense, but don't know how to define it, let alone express

    I am just thrilled to see the Father's work in you.

  2. 'i hope you were blessed by it' ... I was. Thank you xx

  3. Beth, you are such an inspiration to me. I am so blessed by your words with each post. I love you dearly and thank you for continuing to a)hear the Lord speak to you & b)write what you're learning and experiencing in the Lord.

    P.S. You are going to be very close to me again, and are welcome over for lunch anytime!!! :)

  4. Wow.
    ...Having trouble getting past wow.
    You are such an encouragement to me. I struggle with having my identity in Christ be my entire identity. You have such strength. I loved your comment, " value is not based on anyone's opinion but God's. And i know it in my heart. And it is planted there."

    I'm about to do some heart gardening - to plant there the truth of who I am in Christ... cause you're so right, in Him is the only place where validation really can be found.

    Mmm. Wow.
    Thank you friend! I really needed your words today!

  5. I'll echo the previous comments and say WOW and WELL SAID and all that stuff. I may very well link this entry to a future one of my own. My own identity crisis occured when the Lord yanked me out (and I do mean yanked) of a job that I loved and know without a shadow of a doubt I was/am called to do. It has taken some time for me to see that my entire identity was wrapped up in that and God was getting lost in the shadows.

    Any-hoo, that's another story for another day. Thank you, though, for sharing your heart and sparking something within my own.

  6. Kris, i happily accept your cyber hugs and virtual high fives in the spirit in which they are intended. =D

    Thank you, all you ladies, for your kind comments. And i praise God that He can use me to affect others. He is so so so so very good. <3

    Patsy, i might take you up on that!

  7. Congrats on your job!!! I totally know where you're coming from. I wanna-be-an-editor, and I have to do it in the evenings too....however, I am not nearly as disciplined as you and have little to show my efforts!!! Anyhow, praying for grace for you in this transition and that your time and money will multiply beyond what you can imagine. :-)


  8. It's very neat to read some of your story. Thanks for sharing. it's neat to see how God continues to grow us. It's neat to see the progress we make. Looking back is so helpful. I hope your adventures in the workplace go well.

  9. oh, sister, i feel your pain. what woman alive hasn't struggled with her identity? i have walked a road similar to yours and the Lord has shown me who i am in Him. i'm still a work in progress. blessings to you, my friend, blessings to you.


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