Having no background or history in a new place has kind of made me feel like I have to find my identity all over again. Or worse, be "identified" as something I'm not, maybe because of a bad first impression. Before the move, I wouldn't have given much thought to what it was that actually "defined" me, but after the move, in a place where I can no longer be defined by what someone already knows of me, I've found myself feeling less secure in situations that I would have normally felt very confident in. When you start a new job, someone has already seen your resume, they know what you've done before and what you're capable of. When you start a new life in a new place, there's nothing that goes before you to prepare the way and let people know whether you're a normal, contributing member of society or a fugitive running from the law...ok, that's a slightly exaggerated extreme, but you get my point! The things that defined me before, for all intents and purposes, virtually vanished when I left behind the place where I had a past. To some, that might have been a relief, but quite frankly, I enjoyed the identity I had before the move and felt mighty comfy in it thank you very much! :-)
I think this whole "identity crisis" might explain my mini breakdown a few weeks back...
Sam had a field trip coming up in which he had to dress up in Colonial attire. Matt was going along on the field trip and was also expected to dress up. (be patient, I promise to include a picture at the end ;-)) The day of the field trip dawns and Matt realizes he doesn't quite have all he needs for a costume. Due to a lack of communication on both our parts, I had come up short in meeting his expectations surrounding the securing of appropriate Colonial attire for the men in my family. :-) My "good friend", the over-achieving woman in Proverbs 31, springs to mind..."The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." (Prov. 31:11-12) Yeah, well, easy for her! She hasn't just moved and had to start all over, having her mind cluttered with so many details that what once came so easily, now requires many lists and reminders! :-) It's ok, you can unashamedly laugh at me now, I won't be offended...I, thankfully, can at least let one corner of my mouth lift when I think back to my tantrum-like response to Matt's unmet expectations. (NO picture to follow ;-)) What normally would have (hopefully) slid right off my back, instead sent me into such a tizzy that it was my poor children who scrambled around to help their dad find what he could to be "Colonialized".
Reflecting back on it, I think it was my loss of identity in other areas that made it so hard for me to just brush it off and move on. With the bits of me that I did lose in the move, at least I had (or so I thought) maintained the parts of my identity that I treasure most, that of being a wife to Matt and a mom to Hannah and Sam. I normally take great satisfaction in the fact that I'm able to anticipate the needs of my family and usually meet them without even having to be asked. When I felt as if I had failed in that, it rattled me because I had forgotten (maybe not so much forgotten as neglected to remember) that there is an even bigger part of my identity that can never be shaken...
I am a child of God.
In the unsettled-ness and lack of surety in this life, there is always that. Our identity will always shift and change when it is other people who are looking at us...and how could we not let insecurity creep in if it is by others that we define ourselves? My identity will only be secure when I let my significance and value lie in whose I am, not who I am.
"See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God" (1 John 3:1)
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1)
"The Lord your God has chosen you...to be His people, His treasured possession" (Deuteronomy 7:6)
I am slowly, but surely finding again the bits and pieces of the "lesser" things that used to define me as I risk letting those I meet see the real me. While it is always a risk to put your true self out there for all the world to see and define, I have also found that there is always a reward. :-)
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future." :-) (Proverbs 31:25)
(Now, I have always been one to enjoy the comforts of the times in which we live, however, if I had seen this man in knickers back in the day, I certainly would still go weak in the knees as I do today.) ;-)