by Sue Donaldson
If we can depend on one thing, it’s that things change. That’s good news if you don’t like your sofa, your job, or your status. I love change when I’m the one in charge of the change. But if life forces an unwanted change—that’s a different story.
What keeps us from facing questions about who we are in the normal ebb and flow of life? After all, our roles in life change all the time. I was a student when I was young. I’m a student again, currently back in school. I just enrolled in an online writing class for the next nine months. I was single until I was 35. I’ve been married for 30 years. I was a teacher, a counselor, and once worked at Pottery Barn (I needed drapes at a discount!) I’ve learned that these changing roles were never meant to define who I really was. They were only temporary labels that accessorized the real me.
We can become lulled into embracing a short-lived identity where we unknowingly bank our self-worth on something that can change at a moment’s notice. College morphs into career. Singleness into marriage, and perhaps back again into suddenly single. Parenting moves all too rapidly from babies to teens to paying college tuition and weddings and then suddenly, it seems, the house is quiet and there’s less laundry on the couch.
In other words, role change is inevitable. I shouldn’t be surprised by this at this point of my life, but I still do sometimes. It is then I must go back to the basics: my unchanging identity comes from God alone.
This is the real me: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12 NIV) I am God’s child.
This is the real me: “You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.” (I Peter 2:9 NIV) I belong to God, and am called to serve him.
There are so many more passages I could list here, but the point I want to make is that Scripture tells us who we really are – not just for a season in our lives, but for all eternity.
Yesterday, I heard some friends had been invited to a conference. I was mildly interested in their trip. Then I had this thought: “Wonder why I wasn’t included? Am I redundant now at age 65? On my way to becoming useless?” I wondered if my new title was “Out To Pasture”.
I was tempted simultaneously to feel sorry for myself and to add a couple of gallons of Rocky Road Ice Cream to my grocery list? (I settled on one.) As I prayed through the challenge. I returned to the truth: Nothing about who I was had changed because I’d been overlooked, or perhaps even been labeled by younger friends as irrelevant because of my age. My roles may change, but my true identity never does.
Sue Donaldson and her husband, Mark, live in San Luis Obispo, California. They have raised 3 semi-adult daughters who keep them at the bank and on their knees. Sue blogs at www.welcomeheart.com and has been speaking for women’s retreats and conferences for the over 20 years with long pauses for babies, diapers and soccer pasta parties – her speaking topics can be found here. Follow Sue on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/