Chronic pain

Identity crisis

When I transitioned from working full time as a PT to staying at home with my son, I found myself struggling to accept my new role.  While I’ve always wanted to stay home with my kids and I enjoyed it, I struggled with not feeling productive enough.  After working in an industry for 10 years that was governed on the principle of productivity, I found myself striving to feel productive while at home.  For 10 years, my identity was being a PT and a wife.  I found myself now a mom, a wife and a PT on the side.  It took me a while to figure out what that meant and what that looked like.

Like many stay at home moms, I struggled to feel like what I was doing was enough.  I know everyone tells you that what you do is this amazing thing but when you are knee deep in laundry, dishes, groceries, diapers, and discipline – it’s hard to see it as being amazing.  So many moms end up pouring themselves into something else beside the kids.  For me, it was working out.  That became my therapy, my me time, my sanity.  Whether it be running while pushing my jogging stroller or just going to the gym – it was the thing that fueled me week to week.

I also kept working a few hours a month at the place where I had been working full time prior to the birth of my son.  At the time, I don’t think I realized how good I had it, but looking back, I realize what a blessing those few hours were. I was blessed with a great group of coworkers that I now desperately miss.

When we moved to Indiana, I was able to continue my pursuit of physical fitness but I struggled to find a PT job where I could work just a few hours a month.  In the midst of my job search, I sprained my wrist and due to an old injury, that sprain required various splints and eventually casting for a total of 3 months putting my job search on hold and altering my ability to exercise like I did.

Looking back I realize those three months were God’s way of preparing me for what was to come.  About 3 months after I healed from my wrist injury, I got shingles putting both my job search and my ability to exercise on a permanent hold.

I am realizing that all along, my identity has been in what I do: a student, PT, wife, mother, runner, etc…  Since I have been sick, I’ve found myself grasping for a new identity.  When I first got sick, I shared Gracestoration with some women from my church and that started to become a part of my identity.  After teaching it two semesters, I felt God encouraging me to take a break.  It was during that break that my pain came back with a vengeance and again I found myself searching for a new identity.

I know in my head that I am a daughter of Christ, but why does that feel like it is not enough?

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been using society’s ruler to measure my success instead of using the cross.

Christ sacrificed His life on the cross so that we can be a new creation and become His children.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has gone, the new has come!

Ephesians 1:4-8
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his                           sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

As Christ’s sons and daughters we now have a new identity.  This new identity comes only through Christ’s sacrifice – all that is required of us is to receive it.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.

Being an adoptive parent, I know that my husband and I did not adopt our children based on their merit or what we thought they could achieve for us.  We adopted them so that they could be our son and daughter – so that they could be our family.  Even though they are not made from our genes, we love them as if they were.

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My husband and I with our son minutes after he was born.
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Getting ready to leave the hospital with our daughter
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Our family celebrating our daughter’s first birthday

Because of Christ’s amazing sacrifice, I am now considered a daughter of Christ.  THAT is my identity.

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you too are a son or daughter of Christ.

Ephesians 3:16-19
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

That is my prayer for you and for myself – that we start to grasp God’s amazing love and be filled with all of the fullness of God.  It is only here that we can start to see our identity in light of the Cross.

Maybe you find yourself in an identity crisis as well.  Maybe God has moved you to a new pasture and you are struggling to find your purpose.  If so, know this:

You were hand picked by the Creator of the Universe to become His son or daughter to enter into His Royal family.  Your purpose here: to receive his gift of adoption and reflect His glory in all that you do.

May His love give us the ability to find rest in our identity and radiate His glory.

 

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