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/
Photo by Marian Chinciusan on Unsplash
This tests me: ” 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.”
I’m glad God sets our true identity in concrete. The difficult part is to believe we are who HE says we are. Thanks for these insights you’ve shared here today, Sue!
In concrete – that’s good, Lisa – sometimes I feel like it’s more of a marshland til God sets me right again. Thanks.
“I love change when I’m the one in charge of the change.” I had not thought of that being the major factor in whether or not I liked a certain change – but it is! Thank you for the reminder of this truth, that no matter what the changes in life, my identity in Christ is secure and unchanging.
You’re so welcome. Yes, being in control makes us think we know what’s best – but of course, we aren’t and we don’t! Thanks, Barbara.
You’ve hit on a lot of things that ring true with me too, Sue. I told someone this morning that I’m pretty sure our organization completely overlooks us these days because we’re retiring next year. And of course, change is good when I’m initiating it! What I really needed was your reminder of the part that never changes: I am God’s and He is mine. Thank you!
Love that old hymn, I am His and He is mine. Advantage that we have: we know that old hymn!(;
I get you, friend! I wonder about my ‘out-to-pasture’ quotient a little too often. Thank you for the reminder that I am valuable to God all the time and equally the same.
You are! (Perhaps more, if God so measures – with time, we should have more to offer, yes? yes. well, most days!)
And our identity in Christ is secure because of Him. Thanks for this reminder, Sue. Blessings to you.
Thanks, Boma – and to you.
I’m reading this, Sue, in a season of feeling very “less than” and “behind” and, therefore, very grumpy about technology. I don’t want to fall into an, “I’ve lived 50 years without knowing this so why bother now?” mentality. That’s an example of putting myself out to pasture, which is always a mistake!
How did you get inside my mind just now, Michele?!? Back to work today on Unit 6 Social Media – bah, humbug. (:
Sue, this was good to read. I’m kind of where you are, though we have adult children living with us still, one in a wheelchair. I didn’t realize you and I were the same age! No wonder I see similarities between our lives. 🙂 Good thoughts to remember – Our identities are in Christ and who He says we are, not in what we do or say or what others think of us or say about us. Blessings to you!
The theme of friendship and change has been something God has been putting before me for some time. I lead the ladies fellowship at my church and we’re going through some thing, let me tell ya.
And it’s interesting to me, this thing about feeling redundant and excluded. Yikes. It stings and I do everything to avoid it.
But I guess God’s not letting me.
Will explore that on my website next week (thanks to picking up Lisa-Jo’s Never Unfriended)
Such a pleasure reading from you. Encouraged about how my future in God may be.
Also, left you a comment on your website 🙂
Lovely meeting you as well, Koki. Looking forward to learning more from you.
It’s so true, if we can depend on one thing, it’s that that things change. But I’m so thankful that God never does and my identity in Him never will either. Thank you for sharing this verse form 1 Peter 2:9 today. It was a real blessing!
Always good to know I belong even if I’m not feeling it. Thanks, Connie!
I guess God was watching from a distance, I might should have had more control over changes but it was like I was stuck and people came and went, and I was on hold. I need to embrace His changes in His time. And you do not look 65, forever young, right? Next time, try Moose Tracks. Visiting from Tune in Thursday.
I will try moose tracks! Thx Rebecca!
We are definitely His children & that is a precious truth we all need to remember! And in God we are always relevant no matter what age or stage of life we are at…
Thank you Sue,
I like that: God is always relevant. Thanks, Jenn
I’m not big on change, but it is part of life. I need to learn to embrace it, because there will always be some good to find!
I like that: God is always relevant. Thanks, Jenn
Embracing is a big girl response. I don’t always want to be a big girl. In process, sarah. Thankful for God’s long arm of love.
Oh yes! At my age, I can relate many stories of unplanned change in my life……just this morning, I actually had time to wade through the last of II Chronicles…..something I’m able to do now that I’m not always on the go, keeping up with speaking, .etc…….AND I actually have time to pray in earnest ;'(even for the Moore kids!)☺️……So when I remember the “good ole days”, I remember also the wonder of God’s present caring for me and my times……..Got dryer problems……I joked about the days we hung laundry to dry, scrubbed on a wash board, heated water that we carried……fanned in hot weather, telephoned people on our local telephone line…..I laughed about how time had stolen all those wonders……and here I am texting you!!!…..Oh for the good ole days!! 👎 Change really IS greatly appreciated here……and by the way, Moose Tracks really is delicious 😋!
Love you, mama Mabel!
Haha. Love this: They were only temporary labels that accessorized the real me. Loved your take.
Coming to you via the Thankful and Grateful linkup.
I enjoyed this, Sue! Thanks for the great read today. 🙂