Recommended Reading - Matthew 4
Have you ever heard someone described as having an identity crisis? Maybe it’s the middle-aged man who suddenly dyes his hair, buys that fast sports car he’s always wanted, and becomes obsessed with making more money. Or maybe it’s the stay at home mom who undergoes plastic surgery for cosmetic enhancements, starts dressing differently, and begins to seek out attention in an unhealthy way.
When people start acting out of character, making moves that break the box of predictability and comfort, people begin talking. When someone tries to radically rewrite the details of their life that defines them, it’s viewed as odd, unnatural, and concerning. That’s because when we try to modify our identity, in the natural, to fit a more attractive mold, far from who we were created to be, it almost always comes with a side of pride, superficial motives, and envy.
However, there’s another kind of identity change we can encounter in life. This identity change doesn’t come with a crisis, but instead, an upgrade.
When my husband and I started our family, I was an elementary school teacher. Still fairly fresh out of college, I saw myself beginning a life-long career of teaching. It’s what my heart, at the time, longed to do, and it was how I defined myself. I was a teacher. Therefore, I taught.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant with our first child that the Lord began to stir my heart for the home. I’ll never forget the moment of complete confirmation of my new role. Standing in the principal’s office, carrying the weight of a seven-months-pregnant belly, I heard the words, “I’m sorry, but because of all the budget cuts, we won’t be able to re-hire you next year.”
But I was a teacher. So I was supposed to teach. What would I do now?
Fast forward 9 years to today, and I look back at the girl with the identity confined by a limited, earthly, perspective and I laugh to myself. I was teaching, because that’s who I was, an elementary school teacher. But what I didn’t see was the unexpected shift of events as Jesus redefined my purpose and took me down a road of following Him, learning from Him,, and receiving a major upgrade.
Where I saw a kindergarten teacher, the Lord saw a mother capable of teaching, equipping, and encouraging other moms to strengthen their walk with the Lord and find purpose in the home. Where I saw my students as my purpose, the Lord saw my purpose in raising up the arrows in our home to know Him, serve Him, and love Him.
It wasn’t an identity crisis. It was an identity upgrade.
While recently reading the words of Matthew 4:18, my heart was stirred by what the Lord was speaking through such a simple sentence that would often be overlooked in such a well-known passage. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.”
Think about that for a second. They were casting a net, because they were fishers.
It’s what they knew. It’s who they’d always been. It was their identity.
I can’t help but think of the shock these men must have been in, and the joy Jesus had, as in this simple, yet monumental moment, standing on the edge of the Sea of Gailee, these men experienced the greatest upgrade their identities would ever receive. Where they saw fishing as their purpose, the Lord saw something greater. They would no longer toil to catch fish, but they would triumph in capturing the hearts of people for the cause of eternity.
What upgrade does the Lord have for your identity today, mama? What label have you boxed yourself in with, utilizing a frame of earthly measures, that continually reminds you of who you will always be and what your simple purpose in life is? Do you ever tell yourself that you’re “just a mom”?
I believe God has an identity upgrade for us all. I believe he is always calling us to go deeper in Him and to continually be transformed as we seek Him and discover our kingdom purpose in life. Where we have told ourselves that our job as a mother is draining and without honor, God wants us to step into the identity of the woman of strength and dignity. The one who holds the future of the next generation in her hands, as she selflessly serves, educates, and trains them up in the way they should go.
Today, take a moment and give the Lord permission to come in and rewrite your identity as He sees it. What has He created you for that’s beyond what you can see in the natural. What is He preparing you for that will strengthen your faith, shift your mindset, and renew your love for Him in an even greater capacity?
You are too valuable to keep your eyes fixed on the boat and the fish. If you do, you will miss the call of the Father, standing on the shore, saying “Follow me. I have more for you.”