WHERE DO I FIND MY SELF?
Remember trying to “find your self” after leaving high school or college? All those uncertain days, months, and years left you feeling like you did not know who you were, who you were supposed to be, or where you were going. Did I really need to find a new self?
After you were married, or perhaps after you had children – (one or several), did you feel like you needed to find yourself again? Sometimes, we forgot that we are people separate from the wives and mothers. Those roles can be so all- consuming, we can forget to take care of ourselves, keep in touch with friends, or do the creative things we did as individuals. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to juggle it all. Yet, eventually, what we are juggling falls apart.
FIND THAT NEW SOMETHING
After our children have grown and left home, we are again left feeling lost, empty or searching for ‘a new something’ we were supposed to be.
Often, the next big thing that changes the dynamics of a woman’s life – is caring for aging parents. It is easily one of most demanding roles in a daughter’s life, and can without doubt dissect our personalities into a kind of multi-tasking we never thought possible.
I was pondering this after hearing a radio personality talking about “rediscovering oneself”. The program offered solutions at a local community center where women could learn new skills, brush up on old ones, re-vitalize their emotional, spiritual or physical health, or connect with other women. Those things are all good things and should not be dismissed.
Then I assessed my life as I listened to that radio show. Where was it going? How had I changed? Change happened with each and every role I have accepted in my life. I realized, suddenly, that the roles hadn’t changed me at all. What had happened instead was – like the diamond to which bible teachers compare us- another facet of my personality was coming into light.
While I was a bride and a new wife- I behaved like a bride or a new wife. I may not have been the perfect mate, but I accomplished what I could to the best of my abilities- sometimes skillfully, sometimes with only love to motivate me.
As a new mother, as a mother of growing youngsters, then as a mother of teens and young adults – I behaved as I needed to fit the role and to get the job done. In each role – different as they are, I performed some tasks better than others, some with skill and some with love and out of necessity. For periods of time, I was able to use the creative talents I had been given and loved. At other times, I was merely on auto-pilot. As a grandmother, my role soon changed again. Where was my “self”?
Then later as the care-giver and home-manager for my mother and my husband, my roles have changed markedly. For a while, I felt lost and struggled fiercely to hang onto what I considered to my self. I was losing more and more of the things I considered to be my creative skills and abilities, the connection I had with friends, and as a volunteer or mentor.
Then God showed me that another facet of my personality was coming to light. Another edge that had been in the shadows or in the dark had been turned to receive attention from God, and enabled by God. At first, I did not recognize the tasks I accomplished to be gifts. But they are just as surely gifts as any talent is, and just as surely given and received of God.In the right time the abilities were given to me to accomplish another role in my life.
FIND A NEW NORMAL
Cancer changed my roles again. My primary task was to rest. I needed to refresh and renew. I am moving more slowly, deliberately, and thoughtfully. This became my new normal for several years to come. These things are important and I often overlook them. How could these ‘jobs’ be considered a talent or gift? More importantly- how could they be a part of who I am?
How could these tasks be something that could serve God? But I found that they are.
By renewing my body and my mind – I’m allowing God to inhabit my thoughts more often and more strongly. This is service to God as surely as worship and praise are service to Him.
FIND YOUR SELF IN GOD
I don’t need to go looking for my self. God already knows me, equips me, encourages me, and leads me. His grace has also allowed some light to shine on the facets of myself that keep me creative, and connected to nurturing friends. He is able to do that! What a mighty God, what a gracious God!
I don’t have to “find my self” again! Instead, I can re-discover what God can do for me and with me, as I go through life growing and changing. It might be a diamond – bright and shining – for God’s kingdom!
April Boyer © 2010-2017 All Rights Reserved